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On the 3rd October 2018 we had a group of 16 students visiting us from the Lakeside school in Bellevue. Their group leader Meera, (who is of Indian origin) wonderfully facilitated their week-long trip to the Broetje Orchards, the Vista Hermosa Foundation, The Jubilee Leadership Academy etc., before they finally visited the Center for Sharing. The group’s main purpose of visit was to expand the knowledge base through interacting and learning from those who have stories of their own that are life changing and can help them build their capacity to listen and have empathy for others.

The students started their session at 9:30 am. They were welcomed and greeted after which Glenn got a feedback of what they had learned on their tour thus far. It was very satisfying to see the kids talk about what they had learnt and how it has impacted their lives positively. Glenn then spoke to them briefly about servant leadership and how the Center for Sharing prepares servant leaders so that they can help others become healthier, wiser and serve the vulnerable. Glenn also showed the students a video emphasizing love and compassion and being neighborly.

Nevresa briefly spoke to the students and told them about her story of survival. She also told them a couple of the Tierra Vida community stories that reflect the community’s commitment towards loving and caring for each other, and helping one another when in need.

I had a wonderful session with the kids. After an icebreaker I spoke to them about the Collegium Café and why it is a cafe with a difference. I also told them about the evening program and how it acts as a third place for the people of this community. I displayed a few games that we use in the evening program and the kids were excited to get a break and play these games which included Caroms and Chess. The kids were then given five stories that were relevant to how flourishing communities can be formed. They were divided into groups and asked to share 3 specific leanings from the story.

Finally the kids proceeded to the Rec center where they had another session. They played some basketball. Walter also exhibited his circus skills and much to the delight of the kids they were given a chance to try some of the circus tricks. The kids were also given some activities that required them to use communication and team work.

I really felt good about the lakeside kids and their visit to us. Their participation was excellent. They were eager to learn and were full of energy. It was heartening to hear from Meera that they chose to come again to the Broetje Orchards and revisit the PAC communities for their student’s exposure as there is so much uniqueness to this place including, agriculture, how we create positive change through business and the immigrant population etc. She said that the students were very moved from the learning about the Tierra Vida community. She stated that the students have been enriched after their visit to the Broetje Orchards and the Tierra Vida community.

The Center for Sharing felt privileged to have hosted the lake side students. Our continued goal is to enrich and spread love and compassion through the work that we do. The experience of hosting the lakeside students was regenerating our goal for building servant leaders that can create a healthier, wiser world that encourages love, compassion and to serve others.