“Light House Shelter” This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 20, 2010
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As I got out of the car, stepping down onto the hard concrete ground. I stood watching the front of the Light House Shelter, to my surprise; it looked like an ordinary house. Upon my entering through the look a like of a cinnamon cookie dough home. I was greeted by the headmaster of the shelter. Thump! A little girl came running to hug my leg. A warm feeling came rushing inside me to pick her up and hug her. The experience in the Light House Shelter brought a whole new person out of me, which lingered inside that outer flesh, a nurturing side, teacher, and remorseful.

The children in the Light House Shelter are orphaned Native Americans, ages eight months old to 15 years old. When I first decided to go and help the orphan, I thought they would be rebellious, hateful, and angry. In contrary, those kids and teens were kind and had so much love. How could a parent toss such wonderful children into a home? How can the parents not change their ways for their children? I knew asking these questions would have no use, but boil my blood. I decided to do my best while I was here.

A sudden laughter thundered, and bounced around the room, like a playful child’s ball. The room filled with warm kindness, which brushed against my heart.

Settling in the house, I could hear the beating of my heart trying to escape from the prison of my chest, like the lightening during a harsh storm. My nerves were overwhelming me. I needed to breathe. I made an excuse to sit down and draw. Suddenly a little angel- faced girl sat next to me. She asked me to draw a girl. Soon all the little children stood around me while I drew for them, the way a cartoon artist does for the audience. My nerves begin to fade, and the sadness inside me melted away, a smile replaced it instead. Soon the innocent children became bored and wanted to play outside. I helped put the shoes on and socks on for the small ones. Opening the glass door, without even knowing, a new adventure was unraveling before my eyes. We played hide and seek .Then I swung the little girls on the swings, pretending we were birds flying above the Milky Way sky. Four hours passed as dust does through the air. I was crushed to know that I had to leave, I wished it was not so. Not for me but to bring joy for them.

When I went home I researched facts on the orphans. I learned orphans and abandoned children are in desperate need of care. Over 140 million under the age of 18 in developing nations have lost one or both of their parents. Some parents are unable to care for their children or are pressured by government regulations to abandon their offspring.

With no one to provide shelter or care, orphaned children are often left to wander the streets and scavenge for food. The lucky ones will be admitted to local orphanages, modest buildings often suffering from understaffing and disrepair. Many of these orphaned and abandoned children become undernourished and will not receive an education. They will grow up without ever feeling loved.

Babies sent to orphanages at a young age are in danger of acquiring developmental problems. In order to develop normally, young children need regular interaction with their people. Most learn how to talk and walk by playing with their parents. However, orphanages often lack the resources to give children a normal childhood. Orphaned babies may lie alone in a crib without being spoken to or played with for days. Toddlers may be strapped into chairs and left alone for hours. Without interaction during this critical period, many orphans learn to walk, talk, or interact with other people. Most of these neglected orphans will never be adopted; instead, they are destined to live their adult lives alone in mental asylums.

Older abandoned children that are not admitted to orphanages’ live desperate lives on the streets. Abandoned children beg or steal food and find shelter wherever they can. Police often view street orphans as a menace to the community rather than minors that need their protection. Children need to be loved and not be punished, for they are innocent. Parents are responsible for the upcoming of their young adults. The experience in the Light House Shelter gave me a gift and lesson. The gift of caring and love for other human beings. Lesson in knowledge of the lives of orphans. That is what Light House Shelter is for.

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