The next morning, I went to the hobby shop and picked up several different kinds of models. I also picked up some glue and paint. Then I went to a toy store and picked up a deluxe bingo game. I got some extra cards and markers. Hurrying back to Sanctuary, I saw one of the kids leaving the cook shack as I parked my car. “Carl, can I see you for a minute.”
He came running over, “Carl, could you please tell the kids that we are going to play bingo after lunch today.” His smile was enough to assure me that everyone is going to have fun this afternoon. I took the models to my office until I had a chance to talk to the lads.
At lunch, Tony looked at me as if he knew I had something up my sleeve. “Tony, I’m going to need you this afternoon after lunch and you also Aaron.” They both gave me funny looks knowing that I had something that’d make them work.
After lunch and everything was put away. “I want each of you to take a seat. Tony and Aaron will pass out cards and markers to you. For you who aren’t familiar with this game, it’s called Bingo. The way we play, I’ll call out a number. If you have the number, you mark your card, when you have completed the line, you yell Bingo, and then we start the game all over. Any questions? No, then let’s start. Tony, if you and Aaron hand out one of these cards and a marker to each kid, we can get started.” I had a cage for the numbered balls. Then I turned the crank, which spun the balls around. “Is everyone ready?” I got a very enthusiastic yea.
I started the game. As a ball got caught in the wheel, I would read off the letter and number. I noticed the older kids helping the younger kids. One of the kids yelled Bingo. Tony checked the numbers, and they were correct. I had some poker chips and gave the winner a poker chip. I explained on the day that allowances were given; a chip would be worth 50 cents. We played the game for 3 hours. I knew I’d have to restock the vending machines, but I didn’t care. The kids had fun.
“Brad that was a great idea. Why didn’t we do that sooner?”
“Because I forgot the purpose of Sanctuary, I was so intent on saving lives I concentrated on the outside and ignored the inside. Not anymore, I’ll still be concerned about kids on the street, but I’ll also keep my focus. That’s why I asked you to sit with the kids during mealtime. I thought they enjoyed the game today.”
“They did. Now we’ll have to do this every Sunday afternoon. Maybe there are other games which will include the whole group.”
“How about you and Aaron think up group games? Maybe simple card games, like fish. We could have a contest winners from one table would play winners from another table until we got down to one winner.”
“Will give it some thought, but I think we should be careful of the games we get. We have games in the amenities area that involved small groups. The nice thing about Bingo is that everyone can play at one time.”
“Yes, you’re right, but I don’t know any games except Bingo that’s a group game. Maybe you could search to see if there are other group games. But for now, we have Bingo, and that will be good for a long time.”
“Tony, I’m going to enroll Adam in culinary school. I think there is one that is associated with the Culinary School of America. Could you inquire about the tuition and see if we can get a brochure for Adam.”
“Sure, what are your plans for replacing Adam?”
“I’ve asked Mario to look for a replacement or replacements. Mario thinks the load is getting large enough to have several kids working in the shack. I told him to get what he needs and to clear it with Mrs. Jenkins. I’ll give him a week and then check with him.”
Monday morning, the buzz about the Bingo game was still alive. I felt good about spending the time with them; it has been a while since I spent time with them. I got my coffee and sat at one of the tables, which had girls and boys. They asked me if we were going to play Bingo every Sunday. I assured them that it would be an ongoing event. Then the talk went toward the model building. I told them that I had bought some models and we can look at them after school. “Ladies, I have a question for you. Do any of you think you might like to learn how to sew or knit? You could make your clothes or blankets. What do you think?”
I felt the response was a little lukewarm, but I’d let it foment for a while. I wanted to talk with Mrs. Chester this afternoon about the aptitude profiles and the kids’ evaluation toward a GED. To that list, I also wanted to get a feel for how many kids wanted to learn how to paint, cook, or make clothes. I thought if they had some additional activities outside of book learning, they could learn a skill and perhaps be able to make a living out of it.
I left a message for Mrs. Chester that I’d like to see her after classes. I called Abe about putting a second floor in the dining hall. He said he had the plans already drawn and felt it would take a week to get the floor to a state that wouldn’t interfere with the dining hall. I went to see Tony to relate to him about my conversation with Abe. “Tony, I want to take the kids on vacation. I want to rent an island where the weather is warm and fish and swim in the ocean. Can we do this?”
“Is this so they can work in the dining hall?”
“Partly, but we have promised the kids a fishing trip, so I think this’ll be a lot better. We could hire some lifeguards and security as well.”
“Are you planning on flying there or sailing?”
“That’ll depend somewhat on the island. If we could fly in, I would prefer that. We’d also need staff and enough housing or at least tents.”
Mrs. Chester came to my office after class with a list of the kids. I explained about wanting to know who was close to being able to pass the GED. She said she thought there were three that might be ready. I asked her to get the book with sample questions and test them. If they fail any part, then we would know what to emphasize in class. I also asked her if she felt any 16-year-old kids were mature enough to move into the quads. I explained that I didn’t want to run out of cocoons, and although I hadn’t reached that point yet, I didn’t want to be too close, so I needed some back-up positions. I told her about going ahead with the building on the next lot and adding another cocoon floor. I asked her about aptitude tests that could give us some idea of what the various students are capable of and perhaps point us in the right direction as far as trades.
“Finally, Mrs. Chester, I was wondering about offering special classes like art, music, woodworking, and home economics. I’d be willing to bring in specialized teachers under your guidance to lead these classes.”
“Where would you have these classes? The school doesn’t have any more rooms.”
“I could provide space for them in the new building. Right now, I’m interested in your feedback, and do you think that might be something the kids would like.”
“Off the top of my head, I think that would be good for the kids. We might find some hidden talents.”
“Great, I’ll call Abe and have him adjust the plans to provide a woodworking shop, a home economics room, an art room, and a music room. I’m getting a little excited about this. Sometimes I feel that the kids get bored, this’ll offer a noncritical challenge for them and at the same time give them something to look forward to each day.”
Wrapping up my meeting with Mrs. Chester, I headed toward the dining room. With my coffee, I called Abe. “Abe, in the new building, I’ll need a wood working shop, a music room, an art room, and a room for home economics. I want to provide some extracurricular activities, so the kids aren’t bored, and at the same time, we may discover some hidden talent.”
Abe thought the idea was a good one and said he’d do some research and build the design into the new building. I told him about taking a one-week vacation to work on the dining hall second story floor.
That evening at dinner, the boys asked about the models and did I get some. I told them I had them in my office, and after dinner tonight, I would bring them to the dining hall, and we’ll make a list of which ones they would like to have. I had to caution them to take their time eating. Several of the girls also showed an interest, so I told them they were also invited to select a model.
After dinner, I went to my office and got the models I bought. Before leaving the office, I marked each model with a black non-erasable pen. I had Beth take some paper to record the names and model number. When I entered the dining hall, I had everyone sit down while I explained the procedure. Beth sat at one table, and I placed the models on the second table. The kids would look at a model, check out the box and go to Beth to tell her the model number. For the number of kids, it was quite orderly. It took about an hour for each of the kids who were interested in modeling to pick one.
The rest of the week was routine; Tony got the culinary school information, which I passed on to Adam. He also arranged for driving lessons for Adam and Jeff, taking them to the driver’s license office, and picking up a learner’s book for each of them.
I was anxious to get the holiday out of the way as I wanted to get the extra floor on the dining hall finished. I thought it would be good for the kids.