starfish

[photo via myseastory}

I've mentioned the kid's camp that I volunteer at but felt the need to share a little more after I found this photo of a starfish which reminded me of the sterling silver starfish we give out to each new volunteer upon completion of their first year and a gold on upon completion of their fifth. The camp is set up to serve, as perfectly as possible, a selection of the population of foster children in Los Angeles between the ages of 7 and 11, many of whom have been abused in ways that we never want to hear and that no one should ever have to experience. Our goal is not to heal them or change the experiences that they have had but rather to give them a week of pure childhood fun and love. There are currently over 60,000 children in California alone who need our help. The task can sometimes seem daunting and since we can only around 40 to camp every year, we can sometimes feel a little helpless. Like we won't be able to make the difference that giving our love can make.

This poem was written by C.A. Milbrant and provides the encouragement we so often need.

While walking on the beach one day,
I saw starfish by the score. 
And everywhere I looked it seemed,
I saw a thousand more. 
Then what to my surprise appeared?
A boy of nine or ten; 
and as the starfish washed ashore,
he threw them back again. 
I smiled at such a futile task to save this population,
"One fish won't make a difference son. You can't change this situation."
He stooped and picked up one more fish, then looking right at me, 
"I can make a difference for this one, sir," and returned it to the sea. 
So I went and gathered all my firends, my brothers and my cousins.
We joined in with that little boy and saved starfish by the dozens. 
There are still many to be rescued, many "starfish" on life's shore.
Let's make a difference like that lad, by saving just one more.

Not all of our children can be "saved" from the life that has been dealt to them. However, they can be saved by being given the hope that love can soothe the pain. 

This poem doesn't just speak to the week that we, volunteers, are able to play the role of love-givers to these little kids, but it also speaks to the love, joy, and peace that we can bestow on each other during every moment of life, if we so choose. 

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