Saturday, 11 October 2014

a lesson of life learnt (unknowingly).....

Anaika and Zoya
A few days ago, when I went to drop off my 2-1/2 year old at her pre-school, I came across a poster. It was the announcement of 'ARTopia'- the biggest charity art fair that her pre-school organises every year. From my past experience (my elder one was at the same pre-school couple of years ago), this is probably one of their most well-organised/structured events. So on my way back home, I quickly dropped an e-mail to the Principal. I just had an idea!

My elder one (Zoya) and her BFF (Anaika) along with a few friends have in the past organised 2-3 garage sales (don't think they realise, but they have done a pretty good job at it!) in our condo. Held almost every six months, they would sell all their old toys, books, clothes and top it up with cake and lemonade at nothing more than $2/- each!!! They are even ready to part with some of the stuff at 0.50 cents. More importantly than raising money for charity, I think they got 'used' to the habit of giving away their stuff. And mind you, they have never realised this, but every event of theirs managed to raise a decent amount of money (that can be proudly donated).

So to come back to my idea, I thought why not get these girls into action again. The cause was noble and Zoya had a connection with that school. The school was highly excited to have one of their alumni participate. I got the girls excited and we thought we were all sorted.

So all the back-end was done. We had some dear friends give us some of their old books and toys. The girls were all set to roll! That's what we thought!

Their 'little charity stall
We landed at the school venue, set-up our stall and waited for people to flow in. The girls were all pepped up (though a bit shy)! Just then, we noticed another set of parents and kids near us (bake-stall volunteers) standing at the entrance to give-away coupons for the bake stall (mind you valued at $10). As parents and kids walked in, these volunteers were able to push their coupons on the visitors. Very few turned towards our stall (and all our books were priced at $1 and @ 2/- only). 


I could see the disappointment setting in. I kept encouraging the girls (literally felt like a life coach for a while)! In my mind, I didn't want to push the girls or the parents. I wanted the people to walk up to us and buy willingly! So I never asked the girls to get aggressive (not that they would have listened to me!). What I didn't realise was, these girls were actually observing the bake-stall volunteers and had got thinking!

A few minutes later I saw the two girls telling the bake-stall head, "We bought your bake stall coupons, maybe you should buy a book from us." And that worked! He sent his kids to our stall to buy the books and then I suddenly saw teachers and parents buying from us.

So what had these girls done? They had actually started walking up to people and informing them about their stall. They managed to convey the message of 'charity' and that they were donating their old books away. Without me pushing or teaching, they had learnt something new, moved out of their comfort zone (a strange environment), and were able to 'beautifully' (mind you not aggressively) communicate. They managed to raise a decent amount, the principal applauded both the girls for their 'enterprising attitude' and told me (separately) " this is such a lovely idea and wants to incorporate it in every charity-driven event organised by the school".

After yesterday's event and seeing the girls, I felt unknowingly they had learnt a few lessons of life (maybe something they wouldn't have learnt in their classroom). 

I was obviously a very happy soul yesterday and treated the girls to their favorite McDonalds dinner on our way back home!