Cinderella sang it.
She believed it with her whole heart.
At Kids Five and Over, we believe it too.
Imagine this: A 10-year-old girl dreams of being a gymnast. She uses the small space in front of her bedroom mirror to practice handstands and backbends, and she choreographs short routines for the make-believe audience that surrounds her. She throws her hands proudly in the air when her routine ends and acknowledges the judges who critique her every move. She steps off the imaginary mat and waits nervously for her score.
And then it happens...10! A perfect score! 10! The crowd roars! 10! She wins GOLD!
***Imagine this: A 10-year-old girl dreams of being a gymnast. There's barely enough money in the house for food, never mind gymnastic lessons. The clothing allowance needs to be spent on shoes, not leotards. Gymnastic lessons are out of the question. She never even asks. Dream crushed.
***Same story. Same girl. One is dreaming in the way all 10-year-olds should dream. The other is struck with the heavy reality of life.
We met that girl this week - the girl who dreams and the girl whose dreams were crushed. We met her at a gymnastic studio. She was nominated for support from Kids Five and Over and because we have Board members living near the Studio, we were able to see firsthand what it looks like when a little girl wears her first leotard and step onto the mat for a lesson.
It was pure joy.
What a thrill to witness what Kids Five and Over is doing for children like the one mentioned above. For less than $175, we were able to give her gymnastic lessons all summer long - every day if she wants - and three sparkly leotards of her very own.
And then came the chain reaction - From there we saw a kind-hearted Mom step in to make sure that little girl had a pretty bag for her clothes and a handful of hair ties for her hair. Watching the kindness continue beyond the support of Kids Five and Over was rewarding on a whole different level.
Our 10-year-old felt like Cinderella that day. Her tired gym shorts turned into a red leotard with sequin hearts and peace signs. The plastic grocery bag that carried her clothes turned into a pink and white striped gym bag. The rubber band that held her ponytail turned into fancy black hair tie.
And at midnight, it all still belonged to her.
Our mission is so important. We can't stress that enough. There are children who need opportunities to explore the wonderful possibilities that life has to offer; Children who deserve to dream big and have their dreams come true. It's not about hair ties and leotards, it's about having a dream and knowing deep in your heart that someone, somehow will help you reach it.
Write to us at KidsFiveAndOver@gmail.com if you know a child with a dream, and let us know how we can help.
Visit our website at KidsFiveAndOver.org if you want to help sponsor a child.
Happily ever after doesn't always have to start with Once upon a time.
Happily ever after starts with all of us.