So this Saturday morning, we gathered at 8, and several neighbors and friends joined us. We had a busy morning planned since the annual Back-to-School party was scheduled to begin at 1 PM.
Urban League Parade comes down Girard Street!
But there was more! The Urban League sponsored a community parade which came down Girard Street where I am living. It was a great little community parade - with lots of young people from drum groups, dance companies, politicians leafleting the neighborhood as their supporters marched in their support.
A couple of car clubs drove their cool cars, filled with family members and friends, past our house.
But that was just in the morning. There was more to come!
The Back-to-School Party
Many years ago a family from the suburbs visited North Minneapolis. A young girl in the family took it all in. Later she told her parents, "I already have everything I want. From now on, I want to give parties for kids who don't have everything they need instead of having more parties for myself." She meant it, and her parents cooperated. That was 17 years ago. She's grown up now and living her adult life. Her mother continues the tradition. She gives four parties a year for the children of North Minneapolis in our neighborhood, and they are done through Visitation Monastery. In the fall, it's the Back-to-School Party.
Saturday afternoon, about 75 invited children and their parents arrived at the Monastery for the annual party. Some of the parents were children themselves who came to this party when they were small. It's not just a give-away. It's a PARTY! There are GAMES! Lots of games! Jump-rope and miniature golf, bean bag and ring-toss! Something about little ducks floating in a bowl of water - and ping-pong balls being thrown into tiny gold-fish bowls. Dice, bowling, and more! In 17 years it has never rained for this party. This year it did. So at the last minute, the games - most of them - had to be moved into Girard House. That was interesting! A team of teenagers who ran the games had a training session in the morning.
And then the invited guests started arriving at neighbor Bob's garage to register, and then pick out a back-pack from the dozens of brightly colored ones available. Then, on to Girard House where they packed into the downstairs and the basement below to play games to "win" the supplies to fill them up (in these games everybody wins!). Notebook paper, binders, pee-chees, ball-point pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, crayons, marker, calculators, protractors - there were enough school supplies here to stock a Costco's!
And the teen leaders encouraged them to keep trying to land those purple beanbags into the purple cereal bowls, or take one more try at landing all three ping-pong balls into their little gold-fish bowls. Little boys swung unfamiliar miniature golf clubs at little plastic golf-balls.
After all the games were played and all the prizes won, the whole group was called over to Neighbor Bob's for treats and door prizes - and a prayer together.
And THEN it was time for the teen helpers to get their reward! Backpacks, school supplies - and gift cards for Target for school shopping!
And then they were all gone, and there was a bit of cleaning up to do. Our wonderful donor and her adult helpers took off and the rest of us went to Evening Prayer at Fremont House! And then dinner. And then downstairs to watch a movie in the TV room in the basement. Something about saving whales. I was tired. Had trouble keeping awake. Life here is always interesting, stimulating - exhausting!
p.s. there were enough school supplies left over - and enough school back-packs - for us to pack up 35 more of them which we handed out today to those who had not registered in time for the party yesterday. I spent Monday handing them out and checking them off the list. It was a great way to spend the day!
For more information on the Back-to-School Party, click here.