Play with Purpose, by Mindy Webster, Back2Back Mexico Staff

This summer, the Back2Back Child Development Team rolled out a new program for groups from the US to participate in at our Monterrey, Mexico site.  We spent the year studying child development in institutions like children’s homes, looking at what the Bible says our response to the poor and orphan should be, and how we can make a deeper and lasting impact in the lives of the kids we serve.  We did a lot of staff training and read a lot of books.  Now, we are finally ready for some action steps!

The first thing we’re doing is to request that groups no longer bring candy and dollar store presents (like silly bands or little trinkets) to hand out to the kids.  Most people do this because they want to connect with a kid and make a difference in their lives but don’t always know how or don’t know Spanish.  So, instead of candy and gifts we’re doing Play With Purpose!  These are planned out activities and games that bring the group members and children together and develop a variety of skills.  Some are just physical because our kids need regular exercise.  Some are to work on social skills, some are educational, and some are Bible lessons.  After four weeks we’ve seen  great success!  Yesterday, a group took nail polish and all the goodies to do a big spa day for the girls in a children’s home.  They got the royal treatment soaking their feet in warm soapy water, foot and hand massages, and pretty nail polish.  Those girls felt like princesses, which is exactly who God says they are: beautiful and valuable princesses of His kingdom.

Group members read with children at a children's home library, thanks to the generosity of ministry supporters.

Working on puzzles teaches spacial awareness and problem solving skills.

Alonna plays jump rope with children at Manantial de Amor. Physical exercise is a huge piece of child development that kids in children's homes are often missing.