Kelly Bienhoff writes about the Summer Games

Margaret Mead once famously said, “Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” It was not until visiting East Jerusalem and volunteering with the Madaa community center that this took on new meaning for me. My experience working with the kids here in Silwan has been infinitely rewarding and ultimately eye-opening. Volunteering here reinforces the maxim that every little bit counts. Whether the activity is constructing kites out of wooden sticks or running relay races in the car lot, the children are so very happy to participate and grateful to be included. I feel that what I do as a volunteer with the center really does affect positive change within the community. I love arriving to work to find the kids already waiting at the center for us to begin the day’s activities, eager to create a new art project or play games outside.

The Summer Games activities fill the center with laughter, creating a nurturing environment where the kids spend their day. This year’s Summer Games have already exposed the children to many new cultural experiences they wouldn’t otherwise encounter, such as a traveling circus troupe and a samba drum ensemble. My volunteer experience thus far has been meaningful because I feel I am an integral part of the Madaa center’s larger vision – to bolster a growing sense of community and to help create an avenue for the children of Silwan to do what kids do best – laugh, smile and play. Prelude’s team, and the Madaa volunteers, such as Danny and Fabienne, are undoubtedly the thoughtful and committed citizens of whom Margaret Mead speaks. It is a privilege to volunteer with them and do my part to help enact meaningful change here in Silwan.

— Kelly Bienhoff