We need to get something off our chests.
It’s been over a month since our parking lot at 601 Burlington was overwhelmed with unfamiliar vehicles and our youth studio swarmed with smiling strangers. Out of caution, we’ve had to keep quiet on that day’s happenings. While we’ve been bursting to share, we couldn’t risk it. These strangers helped us pull off our biggest CityKidz Saturday surprise.
The surprise was delivered at our final CityKidz session of the season and our chests can finally be unburdened.
The theme was Pirate Day and the Playhouse Theatre was decked out in full swashbuckling glory. The cast came clad in bicornes and epaulettes and a Beanie Baby stood in for a parrot on one actor’s shoulder. CityKidz stage veterans Dereck and Angie hammed it up on stage like a regular Lucy and Ethel, inciting the audience of eager children to belt out hearty pirate ARRRR’s and affirmatory Aye Aye, captain’s.
The vaudevillian duo also contemplated the buccaneer’s greatest love: treasure. Angie pointed to an assortment of knick-knacks on a table and asked the crowd if these things are treasure.
NOOO! they replied.
This launched Angie into a brief but sincere monologue on the meaning of treasure. She dropped the campy pirate inflections as she explained that treasure is something of value and that the best treasures aren’t buried in chests.
She had the kids repeat after her: “I am God’s treasure.”
I am God’s treasure, they recited.
“Now point to someone near you and tell them: ‘you are God’s treasure,’ ” Angie continued. The audience dutifully obeyed and the theatre filled with a chorus of positive affirmations.
As the session came to a close, the rest of the cast rejoined Angie onstage to deliver one final message of love and support, but also news of a special surprise.
A surprise for which we can finally showcase our gratitude to those who made it possible: the amazing team at Keller Williams Complete Realty.
It was a cold and rainy day when Keller Williams’ Hamilton team came to brighten our doorway. The real estate franchise had chosen CityKidz for its annual day of service. RED Day, which stands for Renew, Energize and Donate, is one of the ways in which the business gives back to its community. Each year, franchises choose a local charity in which to spend a day volunteering their time and energy.
And boy did they have energy! They started the day giving the interior of each of our 17 busses a thorough scrubbing. Next, they assembled in groups around dozens of folding tables assembled in our youth studio. Each table was equipped with tubes of brown parcel paper, scissors, tape, an assortment of markers and reams of stickers shaped like gold coins and printed with the words WE TREASURE YOU.
There was no starting gun but the Keller Williams crew set to work with the intensity and coordination of a seasoned relay team. Groups organized assembly lines along each wrapping station. They enveloped Barbies and Lego kits in brown paper at a pace that would have easily kept Lucy and Ethel their chocolate factory jobs.
A message of love and support was written on the wrapped gifts and they were then sent to be sorted. In the sorting room half a dozen volunteers bustled to sort gifts into bags according to age and gender.
In two hours flat the Keller Williams team wrapped over a thousand gifts! The North Pole Elves couldn’t have done better.
Which brings us back to our last Saturday. As the kids were finishing their pizza and slurping the last drops from their juice boxes, Angie shared some exciting news:
As it turned out, the pirates who had been menacing the entire performance had gotten a little too greedy in their pursuit of riches. Their fleet of big red ships was practically sinking from the weight of all the treasure they had collected. In order to avoid a date with Davy Jones, the pirates had decided to offload some of their treasure with the kids as they disembarked for home.
Admittedly, the metaphor was somewhat lost on many of the younger children. But word spread quickly from older siblings that they were getting presents and their faces lit up.
Thanks to the kindness and hard work of the Keller Williams staff, we were able to show our kids how much we treasure them. We couldn’t have done it without the Keller Williams team and so we just want to thank them, and tell them that they too are treasured.