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    Letting kids play while their parents get started on their citizenship

    Day 320

    Leave the Hard Stuff to the Grown Ups

    International Institute of Minnesota (IIM) helps hundreds of individuals and families every week that are in need of citizenship applications support, English-learning classes, skills trainings, and more.

    But mothers and fathers tend to be limited in the time they can spend there or the type of support they can receive – they need to take care of their children. So when we gathered volunteers to support individuals with their citizenship applications, we wanted to make sure that those parents could give their full attention to the process.

    The quick solution? Setting up a kids’ play room!

    We brought toys, coloring books, and games to entertain the kids while their parents worked on the long and detailed process.

    Corleen, who has worked at IIM for over 20 years, explained how valuable this was for the session today. “We don’t usually have this,” she said. “It allows parents to focus on the important things while the kids have their own space.”

    We had a group of volunteers making sure the kids were entertained and had a fun experience. We even had volunteers offer to hold and comfort babies, sitting next to the mothers while they worked on their application so they could be near their young child, but still able to focus on the task at hand.

    Faith, a 6 year old who was there with her mother, loved getting to know the volunteers working in the playroom. She had a ton of fun building her own castle and learning to spell everyone’s names.

    Mary Jo, a retired elementary school teacher of 35 years, volunteer for hours, making the kids feel welcome while teaching and playing with them. We thanked her for being so wonderful. “Oh, well everyone is so cute and unique,” she said. “I had a great time with them.”

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    Changemakers 365

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