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Bridgeport, CT, 06605
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Simply Smiles provides bright futures for children, families, and communities. The organization partners with populations in need to create physical and emotional environments where suffering is alleviated and from which local leaders can emerge.

Simply Smiles blog

Follow our blog and read insights from Simply Smiles staff, volunteers and other individuals whose lives are affected by our work!

Naugatuck on the Reservation 2013: Blog #2

Timothy Nurnberger

Hey! Ciara here-- It’s been such a busy week I’m not even sure where to start! I guess I can start with the kids. They are all so awesome! They’re the sweetest things and I’m so lucky that I got the chance to meet them. They were all so excited for us to be here and they love to ask us questions. They are all infatuated with our cameras too; it’s hilarious. Every time we have them out, they ask to use it and take like 50 pictures. It makes the kids so happy to be involved with the work we do as well. Knowing the hardships they face at home, it makes me feel so great when I can get a kid to forget about all that, even for just a minute,and smile. Next the activities: everyday we wake up at 7 and pack up our sleeping bags and mats. Then, one team makes breakfast and one team cleans up. Then we all go outside and work on building roofs or digging trenches or putting up fences. Some of the little boys come early and like to help us with the jobs that we do. We have a few water breaks throughout the day and we hang out with the kids that came early. Then camp starts at 3:30. It’s crazy, but so much fun. Olivia and I will typically start camp by playing basketball with the boys. Then we might play hide and seek or tag. Last we would settle down by coloring or drawing or making jewelry with the little girls. The other volunteers and I might get 5 bracelets each per day from these girls and they love to see us wearing them. It’s so great. All the kids leave at 6:30-ish and we eat dinner, clean up and settle down. Our team sits in a circle and we talk about the ups and downs of our day, then we go to bed.

Now, in our free time, we do some really cool things. For example, yesterday, we went down to the Missouri River and we went swimming! It was so cool! In both meanings. I was one of he last ones in, but it’s because I had to mentally prepare myself for the freezing water. It was like standing in a bucket of ice cubes. It took about 5 seconds for my ankles to be bright red and freezing. I backed in and out of the water for a minute then I just dove in head first. I stood in there for literally 3 seconds before my whole body was 10 times colder than it had ever been. We washed our hair and left. It was so awesome! I hope the good times continue throughout the week and I can’t wait for the rest of the week to be just as great as it has been.

Hi everyone! Emily here-- So far this week has been amazing and challenging at the same time. We have started working on a bunch of projects around the community center. We have dug trenches, worked on putting up a fence around the new garden and finished putting up the roof on the pole barn. The first day of summer camp was great the kids enjoyed coloring and playing with clay. They also love jumping all over you like a jungle gym which is great because they are warming up to us so quickly. Yesterday we went to the river to go swimming for the first time, for us swimming was basically running in as fast as we could and then running back out to try to get warm again. I have never been in water that cold before! If you stay in that water for more then two seconds your whole body will go numb. But I have to say that swimming in the Missouri River is something I can check off my bucket list. There was also the coolest sunset I have ever seen when we were down at the river. It just reminded me that life is a beautiful gift that we can’t waste.


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