Water squirters, hoses, slip-n-slides, community pools. Freedom.
Growing up, summer was the time school books were thrown aside as my neighborhood went out in force to wreck liquid mayhem. Clothes were drenched, lawns unintentionally watered, friendships/alliances were solidified on the Janna St. battlefield. Though memories of the other aspects of my childhood have faded over time, the ones I’ve had of summer are vibrant.
That’s why I was so excited for Union Rescue Mission’s annual Splash Zone event. Other than the fact that it takes place on our roof.
You could tangibly feel the anticipation build up in the kids. Their eyes quickly darted back and forth as our staff was laying down the ground rules for the event. I don’t think anyone was really listening; everyone’s focus was on the huge water slides and the nearing fun to be had. I know I wasn’t hearing a thing.
The kids got more and more excited; each declaring his or her near-future aquatic heroics as they were handed their water squirters. The sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Perfect LA weather.
And then the beautiful pandemonium began.
No one was safe. Dodging the streams of water was futile, and many of the adults jumped right in. For much of the day it felt like it was raining; a downpour of joy.
Children who know far too well the pains of homelessness were soaked completely through; with water, laughter, and a whole lot of love.
We would like to thank Calvary Chapel of Pacific Palisades for sponsoring this event. Even more, they came out to volunteer and spend time interacting and playing with the kids. Without their help we wouldn’t be able to give these children the summer many of us were lucky enough to experience.