Black Plastic Garbage Bags

June 21, 2017

 

 



The title of this post seems pretty simple. There's nothing very complex about black plastic garbage bags. They are used to deliver our trash to the curb, or our yard waste to the compost center, or even a donation to Goodwill; either way it is for containing things that we are ready to get rid of. Why do I care about black plastic garbage bags? The truth is I really don't or at least I didn't until I started to support a local organization whose focus is to stop using black plastic garbage bags.

This group isn't doing what you might be thinking. It isn't a chance to save us from wasted plastics, or an opportunity to reuse, reduce or recycle. What they are working toward is nurturing human dignity. They are taking black plastic garbage bags and replacing them with love.

This past Thursday I had the privilege to attend a talent show. I didn't know what to expect when I arrived but I did know that all of the performers were children sharing a common bond. When we drove up to the location we were greeted by many people. All of the adults were volunteers and all of the children were campers. This was my first official introduction to Royal Family Kids camp. The children at camp are in the foster care system. All of the children arrive from an unbelievable array of personal circumstances. It shouldn't be a surprise that our foster care system is overloaded with children whose needs are almost unmanageable. If you haven't been a part of the system then you wouldn't understand about black plastic garbage bags.

Children in the foster care system move a lot. They live in world of uncertainty and often everything they own travels with them in a black plastic garbage bag. Now take a moment to really think about my first paragraph. Let that reality sink in to your soul. How would you feel if the world relocated you without notice and loaded your only possessions into black plastic garbage bags? There's not much love in this. There isn't much respect for the little humans being shuffled for so many reasons. Foster children matter and are part of our future and that's what Royal Family Kids is all about.

SO what's going on at camp? It's a magical week of love and kindness and an opportunity for the children of the system to feel like they are special. Every day of camp they share and learn and play. They are surrounded by safe adults trying to give them memories that just might be that solitary glimmer of hope. Some of us might be able to remember a childhood moment when someone took the time to make us feel special. It might have been at a school play, or at a spelling bee, a sporting event or even at a band concert. Special moments that help define character and build self esteem are the goals of Royal Family Kids camp.

When we sat down in the room where the talent show was set up we watched something  special. I saw little girls and boys free to express how they were feeling. There was a lot of antsy movement but every child got their moment in the spotlight. Some performances were exactly what you might expect, but a few of them were expressions of honest and very raw emotions. The moment that rattled me the most was when a little girl stood on the stage and sang these words:

            There was a time when I was alone
            Nowhere to go and no place to call home
            My only friend was the man in the moon
            And even sometimes he would go away, too
            Then one night, as I closed my eyes
            I saw a shadow flying high
            He came to me with the sweetest smile
            Told me he wanted to talk for awhile
            He said, "Peter Pan, that's what they call me
            I promise that you'll never be lonely, " and ever since that day
            
            I am a lost boy from Neverland
            Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
            And when we're bored we play in the woods
            Always on the run from Captain Hook
            "Run, run, lost boy, " they say to me
            Away from all of reality
            Neverland is home to lost boys like me
            And lost boys like me are free
            Neverland is home to lost boys like me
            And lost boys like me are free...
                            Ruth B - Lost Boy


There wasn't a dry eye among the adults in that room. This young girl changed me. As she sang those words you could see in her eyes that she felt them. You could see, as the room fell silent for a very brief time, many of the children in the room mouthing the lyrics. That child on the stage had her moment of feeling less like a lost boy and more like she mattered to every human in that room; and to a child that feels like the world.

This was their last night at camp. It was their last night of feeling like they were royalty in a world that has discarded many of them into a broken system. Every camper celebrates a birthday while they are there. Each one gets gifts and goodies to take with them when they go. Inside those bundled collections of presents every camper receives a canvas bag. When you look around the room filled with presents, there aren't any black plastic garbage bags in sight. It made me feel hopeful for each one of those young human beings. It would be incredible if it had the same affect on each of the children camping for the week.

If you aren't familiar with local organizations that help our foster children, please check out what's happening. You might have a skill that fills a volunteer need. You might have an abundance of something that could change who foster children become. We don't have to travel around the world to help the lost boys, they are literally right down the street or living next door.

I am grateful to Royal Family Kids for inviting us to be a part of that evening. I tip my hat to every volunteer who gave of themselves to bring love and kindness. I like to believe that the week together at camp will stay with the children always and bring the hope that sees them through. Wouldn't it be great if no child had to ever look down at their possessions and see them as garbage? Wouldn't it be even greater if no child ever felt like they belonged inside that black plastic garbage bag?

        He said, "Peter Pan, that's what they call me
            I promise that you'll never be lonely, "
                and ever since that day
                    I am a lost boy from Neverland

                                                  Original song


Love, Light and Laughter

 

 

 

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