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February 5th, 2014

Soup and Song

photo 6Over the last couple years the FamilyHome team has worked to build a community of people connected to the FamilyHome Program.  We have begun hosting events throughout the year to bring people together, develop relationships and provide a sense of commonality around what it is like to share your lives and homes with one another.  Our most recent event was a Soup and Song gathering.  FamilyHome Providers, individuals, children, siblings, neighbours, support workers and friends were invited to a potluck supper of homemade soups, breads and desserts.  Everyone chipped in to provide a wide spread of tasty soups and foods to share with one another.  Soup mugs were provided to allow people to mingle and sample a variety of soups.  It was interesting to witness how a simple compliment on a soup or question about ingredients fostered many new conversations throughout the evening.

A new element to this second annual soup night was bringing our gifts of music and song.   The bulk of the music was led by a few Extend-A-Family staff members who have an infectious enthusiasm that encouraged everyone to sing, shout or dance along to the music being played.  One FamilyHome Provider brought bags of percussion instruments for everyone to share and also led a couple sing along songs.  Americo, one of the individuals in FamilyHome, gave an impromptu welcome to everyone, followed by a prayer.  We paused at this unscripted and unplanned aspect of the evening but went with it.  This was the first gathering he had attended and he was standing up singing at the top of his lungs adding his charisma to the evening.  Joe, another individual, sang The Lion Sleeps Tonight along with his mom, Heidi, on piano.  After singing his solo, they welcomed everyone to sing along to the all familiar “we um-um-buway!!”

There was an atmosphere at this gathering that we had not yet felt at other gatherings.  In some ways, it felt like something you would watch in a good movie as people ate, laughed, sang, danced, and visited.  A 20 month old little girl befriended many new people as she ran around hiding from her parents and shaking instruments while the music played all around her.  One family member commented on the way out saying “Thank you for tonight, and thank you for helping to make my heart happy when I needed it.  We should do this again.”  The young man she lives with chimed in saying, “ya we should do this again, maybe every Tuesday and Wednesday or something.”  Sometimes all it takes is a cup of soup and a good song to welcome people into a growing community.

Terral McBay

FamilyHome/Community Participation Support and Planning Coordinator