A key part of the Practice of Wisdom is to “promote healing and wholeness” in a broken world. On February 16th, OKWU partnered with Faces with Names to do just that, by giving the parents of 83 local kids a night out. The children, most of whom are in foster care and range in age from 0-16, were dropped off in the Mueller Sports Center for two hours of fun with 35 college students.faces with names students in gym

Faces with Names gave each of the parents some candy, a rose, and a restaurant gift card in the spirit of Valentine’s Day. OKWU’s Mueller Sports Center was hopping with energy, and a lot of fun was had by all.

Kameron Mendes, a junior Secondary English Education major, says she “really enjoyed working with the babies and toddlers” as they colored pictures and took naps in the upper classrooms of MSC. “It was just so pure and sweet.”

Alison Theis, a freshman Music Business major, had a great time playing with the elementary aged kids, sharing that “Giving them the chance to play was awesome.” The elementary kids certainly had a lot of energy and gave the older students a run for their money with games like Shark and Minnows, tag, and basketball.

Junior Secondary Math Education major Colby Martinez attests, “Working with the middle and high school students was just the purest experience.” The older kids played dodge-ball for the two hour event, and the college students working with them enjoyed some lighthearted times. “Getting to know the kids and helping them forget their troubles for a little while really was a powerful thing,” says Martinez, “and I would do it again in a heartbeat… provided I took a nap first. Those kids had So. Much. Energy!”

Doing this outreach event opened OKWU students’ eyes to some heartbreaking realities of foster care. In the training before the event, Eric Mills, CEO of Faces with Names, said that 70% of those in prison today and 65% of the homeless population had been in the foster care system at some point. The training and time with the children was a powerful and fun experience to bless Bartlesville families and put the Practice of Wisdom into action.

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