Saturday December 30th
It’s a regular rambunctious Saturday morning at Koomseh, but today is special. It’s the eve of New Year’s Eve, and we’re going to celebrate! Zhaoying, the Growing Together Coordinator, has a few very special surprises for the group today, including our very special guest – Storyteller, Naomi Steinberg! As breakfast gets cleaned away, we make introductions and the families tell us about their holidays. One mother, *Jane, shows me the dresses she is browsing on her phone; “This two-hour break is my only time for finding a dress for New Year’s!” she laughs. Jane heads out on her mission, and our group heads out to the playground to enjoy a few minutes of fresh air.
We come back inside to a tasty treat – sprinkles, icing, and gingerbread people! At first they were all called gingerbread men, but after talking about how these cookies could be any gender of gingerbread person they wanted, many chose to make gingerbread girls, and one made a gingerbread genderfluid person. Once everyone is satisfied with their creation, we put them aside to dry (some limbs mysteriously missing...)
After filling ourselves with fruit, yogurt, cheese and crackers, it’s time for stories with Naomi! As we get settled downstairs, there is a knock on the door – it’s *Mike’s mom and baby brother *Cam, whose face is streaming with big tears. “Cam just really missed Mike!” she explains. Cam runs over to the group and into the arms of Mike and the other kids. Their timing is perfect to join us for the main event!
Naomi sets the tone by burning sage, setting out greenery and a candle, which the group lights together. Naomi leads the group on a journey, from making a delicious stone soup in a snowy village square, to searching high and low for a ‘house with no doors and a star inside’, and somewhere along the way we end up in a crocodile’s belly!
To cap off the day, we have one last surprise: gifts! We have brought giftwrapped packages containing a book and set of markers for all the kids. The titles included one of our most favourite books published this year: “You Hold Me Up”, by Monique Gray Smith.
We had a wonderful year of learning and growing together, and look forward to more in 2018!
We have a lot to be thankful for!
Thank you to Naomi Steinberg for volunteering her time and talent and making our party so special!
Thank you to Zhaoying for all her hard work and dedication as Program Coordinator!
Thank you to Sahra, Jami, Laura, Alyssa, and the rest of the Atira Women’s Resource Centre team for making this partnership possible, and your continued support in growing the program!
More about Naomi Steinberg:
"The stories I tell come from all over the world; traditional stories, folktales, fairytales - old stories with new words, new stories with old wisdeom. Stories made to breathe again. With over 15 years experience and a repertoire of close to 100 stories I can cater to any context."