Vol. VIII No. 15 - Tuesday
April 14 - April 20, 2009

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by Saichon Paewsoongnern

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Prem students save Saturday mornings for ‘Starfish’

Prem students save Saturday mornings for ‘Starfish’

Smiles all around!

Adapted from a story by Kiran, Grade 12 at Prem
Tinsulanonda International School
A display of smiles, joyful chants and the pitter-patter of little feet were merely some of the details of the scene as a group of students from the Prem Tinsulanonda International School (PTIS) clambered down from the vans and into the Starfish Home for Children in Mae Rim, Chiang Mai.
This home, once a luxury resort located on the outskirts of the city, has undergone a complete transformation, now serving as a home for children who need a place to stay as their families are unable to shelter them. The home becomes, every two weeks, a place of intercultural interaction between the children and those who wish to give them a ‘breath of fresh air’.
Once a fortnight, a group of about eight to fifteen students from PTIS gathers in the school’s cafeteria and then travels to the home. Of all the Saturday mornings the PTIS students have spent at the Starfish Home for Children, there is one morning which still resonates. During their last session, the students had decided to bake cookies and other goods for the children. Having pre-made the mixes beforehand, they arrived armed with cookie dough, syrup and food colouring.
From the moment the children saw they were going to be cooking, a sudden wave of joy flowed across their faces. The PTIS students showed them how to flatten the dough and how to cut it into the shapes needed. It was funny to see how some children preferred flattening the mix while some others wanted to colour the un-cooked dough. All the children found fun in whichever part of the cooking process they were involved in. Needless to say, most of them had food colouring all over their fingers by the time the food came out of the oven – perhaps a fact that heightened everyone’s fun even more! In the end, the activity was not only beneficial for the children but for the PTIS students as well.
Seeing the smiles on the faces of children who have the odds against them is an inspiration. Some PTIS students used to think that waking up on a Saturday morning was a painful task, but after participating in this activity, and giving something back to the community, they now look forward to going to Starfish. Now, as the activity has come to its close, they miss those Saturday mornings. As one student said, “Although I probably will not see the children again, since I am graduating in less than two months, one thing I know for sure is that I will forever carry within me the memories of their smiles and laughter, and the memory that even I could make a difference in these children’s lives.”

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