August 12, 2019

Purpose of Play

When you take a trip with The Boaz Project one thing you will notice is that while spending time with the children we tend to play. . . A LOT.

For some, like myself, this is one of the best parts of the trip. For others, playing may not be all fun and games. Regardless of which category you fall into, you should know that there is always a purpose behind our play.

You see, there is a type of therapy called “laughter therapy.” Studies have shown that laughter reduces stress and relieves pain. Whether it is a child who has come from trauma or not, learning can be hard, and developing brains can easily be overwhelmed. This is especially true of children from trauma. But laughter therapy encourages their brains to release endorphins, which helps them feel better and enhances the developmental processes.

We incorporate laughter therapy into our trips by using two types of play with the children we visit: structured and free play.

In our VBs curriculum we intentionally split up sections by using games or crafts that reiterate the lessons that we are teaching, this is structured play. Structured play teaches a lesson, promotes different styles of learning, all while allowing our kids to relax and have fun.

For example, on this last trip to India the lesson we were teaching was over the topic of peer pressure. The children seemed to understand the topic, but when we played our game everything was put into perspective. You see, the game required someone to be blindfolded, a square made of tape on the ground, and good/bad influences (a.k.a. the children who weren’t blindfolded) to be divided. The good influences were trying to guide the blindfolded friend into the square with touching while the bad influences were trying to keep them out. And they could only use their voices.

After a few rounds, the lesson really clicked. The children verbalized that the voices of their peers were loud and it was hard to know who to trust. They also realized that sometimes the voices they were trusting were the bad influences.

While these games are simple, they teach valuable life lessons. Sure, they children would have been able to grasp the lesson, but it is when they could really “practice” it in a safe environment and discuss it after that they are able to better comprehend why we are teaching these lessons.

We also do free play. This is where we let the children lead the play. We will take games, balls, and toys and let the children run free.

Usually, before the tools for play are even all out, there are children picking which game they’re going to play and running up to you, asking you to play with them. This is typically the highlight of my day. I love being able to play soccer with boys or catch with the girls. This free play allows the children to truly relax, and you quickly see their personalities come through.

So when you’re on your next trip, take note of the laughter that’s happening. Know that this is crucial. Come prepared to connect with the children and help their brains develop and relax through lots of games and play. And don’t be surprised if you notice your stress levels decrease as well.

“Doing small things with great love,”
Taylor Pennycuff
Staff Writer
The Boaz Project, Inc.

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Because God knew that abandoned children would need help to survive, He tells us to actively meet the needs of orphans in James 1:27.

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Level 1

Learn about the mission and vision of The Boaz Project through activities such as watching an Encounter webinar, exploring our website, and following us on social media. You will also have the opportunity to meet and interact with your Orphan Advocate Training Coach, who will help you as you go through the levels.


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Gain more insight into the realities of the orphan crisis through reading "The Orphan’s Abba" and visiting The Boaz Project YouTube page. You will also meet The Boaz Project staff.


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Grow in your understanding of the orphan crisis, meet some houseparents by reading their stories, and create your own "Pick 2" with options like watching a movie and completing a creative project utilizing your unique skill set.


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Utilize all of the knowledge you have gained throughout training to develop methods based on your personal experience to share the mission and vision of The Boaz Project with others. Read a portion of our first level Houseparent Trauma Training and use your unique skills to impact orphans with a special project. Completing Level 5 gives you the option to apply to become an OAT Coach and/or a Regional Coordinator for The Boaz Project.

FAQ

Do I have to live near Greenwood, Indiana to complete the training?

No! This certification is intentionally created to allow opportunities for anyone in any location to fully participate.




How much of a time commitment is it?

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Can I do this training with my spouse? Or a friend?

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How much will it cost?

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Is there an age requirement to become a Certified Orphan Advocate Trainee?

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If I complete the five-level Orphan Advocate Training Certification, can I put it on my resume or LinkedIn profile?

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Will I be able to get a signed letter to verify my volunteer hours?

We are sorry that we cannot verify volunteer hours that are done outside of the office or an event due to the fact that these hours are not supervised. However, we can write about the quality of work that was done, your commitment level, and the training courses achieved. We can also say that your self-reported, unsupervised hours fit into the typical number of hours that are usual for that course.




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