Hi everyone! Happy spring!
Charlotte and Laney, here, reporting from Central Park in New York, New York, where we have just attended a picnic, sponsored by the New York branch of the non-profit Connect-A-Kid, for adoptee mentors and mentees! It was such a great day to hang out together, play ball, and eat Italian subs in the shade.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Connect-A-Kid (CAK), CAK, founded by Korean Adoptee Brian Conyer, is a non-profit organization that provides post-adoption services to adopted children and their families in the form of a mentorship program. In their words, “the group-mentoring approach will help ensure a safe and interactive experience for each child. Children will benefit not only from the mentors, but also from their peers in their group. We believe each group offers a diverse and culturally rich dynamic that will help adopted child to view adoption as nothing else but normal.”
China’s Children International first got in contact with Connect-a-kid about a year ago, and we were intrigued. Here at CCI, we truly believe in what CAK is trying to do - building a strong and healthy adoptee community for years to come through fun, safe, and engaging programs for the younger adoptees of our generation. But we wanted to see how the programs run in person, and try to get a feel for what the program is all about, so that’s why we travelled all the way to New York City to attend an event as special visitors.
The specific event we attended was run by the New York branch at the famous Central Park and brought together local adult adoptees with a group of youth adoptees to play, hang out, and bond with one another, through playful activities and a nearby puppet show run by a park entertainer. The event itself was not centered around adoption related discussion but rather it was a fun playdate for young adoptees to interact with adult adoptees. However, both the parents and the mentors understand and appreciate all of the benefit that can eventually emerge from a program like Connect-a-kid. Speaking from an adult adoptee perspective, we both wish a program such as this had been available when we were children.
After having attended this amazing event, seeing first hand the impact and sheer joy the adult and youth adoptees gain, we are even more excited to officially announce CCI’s partnership with Connect-A-Kid. That’s right - we plan to work on developing a CCI / CAK mentorship program specifically for the Chinese Adoptee community based on Connect-A-Kid’s model! Stay tuned for CCI’s Connect-A-Kid pilot program to launching in a select city in California this fall. More information to come!
Final shout out and a great big thank you goes to Brian Conyer, Meg Vandervort, Chris, and Paul from Connect-A-Kid. We are so grateful for the chance to learn and model ourselves after such a wonderful organization!
Check Connect-a-kid out here: http://www.connectakid.org