LISTENING TO THE NEEDS AND IDEAS OF CHILDREN
Unicode has been very enlightened when reaching out to many communities and their children. When the children speak about their problems, issues and needs, Unicode listens intently. Some programs link elderly people who volunteer their time to share their lives with the children or spend time reading stories and books created in, or about their own communities as well as world cultures. If the children have any needs at all they most often are humble requests, it might be a volleyball or kickball, basketball, football, soccer or baseball, hula hoops, shoes, coats, athletic gear of all kinds, computer
needs, as well as materials needed for school or school programs.
Unicode likes to connect communities with each other to promote cultural understanding as well as enrichment and has brought Hopi tribal members to St. Louis, Missouri, home of Unicode Children’s Foundation, to share the Hopi culture and volunteer their time freely to aid in the needs of the Foundation and the local communities. Here a Hopi sculpture artist shares his culture and culture work with children from the Fashion Camp run locally by Florence Dewan at St. Louis Community College. The area kids were really excited to get the chance to meet and talk about the Hopi culture and learn from their interaction with this talented artist.
One example of listening to the needs of kids was the request of a Hopi girl to learn and play the guitar. Unicode was thankfully able to provide a size-appropriate guitar that even had dragon flys in its design, a sacred Hopi symbol that represents the hope of water, the same day we learned of her desire from an aunt of hers. We were able to donate out of the stock of supplies Unicode had brought with them from St. Louis to the mesas, and arrange for lessons thru various members of the community.
Sometimes the kids need to burn off excess energy and request activities that will help them exercise. Unicode volunteers have supplied many things such as balls and sport related gear, here, Michelle, who in addition to volunteering had formed her own non-profit previously known as St. Louis Hoops, brought out many hula hoops to the mesas and donated them to the children there. Kids were able to learn a new skill while exercising and having a lot of fun.
Hopi Tewa children in the village of Tewa requested a soccer ball and Unicode was able to supply one, as well as needed clothing to members of the community in need. Unicode hopes to continue aiding communities by aiding existing youth programs, or in the case of some villages, helping to create new programs, such as field trips to cultural activities off the mesas and Sacred Sites on the land associated with tribal history and migration patterns.