Issue 29 • December 2019

Art & Lit

A Holiday Gift with a Twist

Tanya Das, Exeter

The best way to celebrate the holidays is to return home. Residential school gives one a different perspective of "Home," as living away for most of the year helps to cultivate an appreciation for the family. Yet, not many of us stop to think of those children who have never had a place to call "Home." I have never really understood how "privileged" and bestowed with good fortune I am. This holiday season, what better way to express gratitude than to spread holiday cheer, joy and hope with those children without a family. Children who are looking for interaction with the world at large, and attention. When you think of sharing, what better thing to share than personal presence and time? That's why I'm returning to my family's ancestral home in Odisha, India, and spending time at Adruta Children's Home. This is a group home where home, hope & conducive ambiance is provided to the hapless children to grow to their full potential and become a part of the mainstream society. Well, this is time for a refreshing look at the potential that Odisha has within the minds of its children.

I'm visiting India with my big sister. We both love learning, reading, and art. We hope to spend quality time, sharing with the children a lot of what we have the opportunity to learn here in the USA. We will do some science experiments with the children and play some trivia games. Exposure to STEM subjects significantly shapes how young children view and interact with the world, and I want to share the opportunities which I am so grateful to have in the US with all youth across the globe. 

Children have the most malleable mindsets, and since we are the future, our generation must be the ones to make a change. Over the holidays, my sister and I seek to empower youth with skills and give them power over their world and what impacts them. This is a very critical so that children can achieve creative scientific thinking. Their creativity is pure and untainted; they will be able to think outside the box. We hope to empower them with technical know-how and the basic STEM skills that they can use to innovate. We have learned that most of these children at the home have strong ambitions. "Doctor, teacher, pilot." We feel that by spending time with them, we will be able to expose them to various career fields in the sciences and art, other than just the conventional ones.

We feel this learning opportunity is not only a gift to the children we'll get to teach in India but also a gift to my sister and me. The best gift is the feeling you get when you share what you love with others. Once these students have had more exposure to learning about different sciences, and they will have the ability and motivation to contribute their innovations to society in the future. Right now, all their potential is untapped if they never receive STEM education opportunities. By giving them this opportunity, society as a whole will benefit from their future innovations. The best gift is that of education and the chance to use it. The best return is the smiles on their faces as they discover something new and the sparkle in their eyes lit by ideas burning to become a reality.

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