CityKidz – A Place to Belong
Last Season we began something new at the Playhouse. A Safe Zone. It’s still in pilot project mode, but as we tweak and improve, it is providing a safe place for kids to go when our CityKidz are feeling troubled. We have all kinds of kids that come to us each Saturday. Some have anxiety, some are missing their father or mother, some are dealing with bullies at school and the list goes on. It is our intention to make the Safe Zone a place for kids to go for support and not punishment. A place to just be who they are feeling at that moment.
The benefit of it was immediately evident when a young boy was so sad and in distress that he couldn’t properly participate in the fun and games happening out front. He went back to the Safe Zone, supervised by a trained volunteer, and wept uncontrollably. He was missing his dad who he hadn’t seen since he was just a toddler. One of the other kids that were already there was moved with compassion for this boy and reached out to hug and comfort him saying, “It’s okay, I miss my Dad too, he left me a long time ago too.” Brothers in arms — comforting one another in an understood pain that neither of them should be feeling at their age. After letting go of their concerns and now filled with a fresh peace, both boys returned to the audience and participated fully in the program and had great fun — burdens lifted.
CityKidz Ottawa is a lot of things to people. It’s an outreach, a training ground, a fun place, a place to get rid of your worries, a place to learn about God. For these boys — this day — it was a safe place to be. A place to know that you belong no matter what you’re feeling. A place to learn and practice compassion.