Easing Hard Times with Playtime
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Easing Hard Times with Playtime

Cape Town associates help troubled children remember what it's like to be carefree

Cape Town Community ServiceIn November of 2009, the associates of Grand Circle's Cape Town, South Africa office gathered for a rewarding opportunity to bring joy to local children who have been forced to grow up too fast. At a children's indoor fun park, the team hosted 46 troubled youths for a day of fun, food, and Christmas presents. "These children all deserved a little sparkle in their lives," says Roger Clulow, Grand Circle's Regional General Manager in Africa. "Most of them have been victims of crime, ranging from domestic violence and armed robbery to molestation and even rape. Others may have committed crimes themselves, but generally out of necessity."

To organize the event, the Cape Town team partnered Cape Town Community Service
with the Victim Support group of their local police station. "The Victim Support group is managed by a group of volunteers who are available 24/7 to support any child who is brought in by the police as a victim of crime," says Roger. The support group volunteers graciously transported the children to the fun park, where Roger and his fellow associates were waiting to entertain their young guests.

To begin the day, the children were given free rein of the fun park—a child's paradise replete with jungle gyms, climbing equipment, slides, and toys. "We thought that they would tire out after about an hour," says Roger, "but they didn't! After two hours we had to call a timeout for lunch." Refueled by a nutritious meal, the children enjoyed still more play time in the afternoon. Later, they eaCape Town Community Servicech received a gift bag containing various little goodies. "The joy in their faces was priceless," says Roger, "especially considering that many of these kids come from disadvantaged backgrounds where life is hard, love is scarce, and a daily meal is a luxury."

Overall, the event was an incredibly emotional experience for the Cape Town team, who went home with mixed feelings at the end of the day. "We felt sadness at how incredibly cruel it is that such innocent young lives can be traumatized by the actions of adults," says Roger, "but also gratitude that we were able to put some brightness and warmth in the lives of these children, even if only for a few hours."