8 ounces dried peach halves
5 cups of water
¼ cup of sugar
Whole cinnamon stick
Lemon or orange peel
1 cup pearled barley or wheat berries cooked

Combine dried peaches and water and soak overnight in refrigerator to rehydrate.
In a large heavy pot, pour sugar and cook over medium heat, moving pan frequently but not stirring until the sugar melts and takes on a light amber hue. Off heat, careful to avoid any steam or sputtering, add one cup of the soaking water from the peaches. Stir over medium heat until the caramel has dissolved. Add the remaining soaking water, peaches, cinnamon stick and lemon (or orange) peel. Return to a simmer and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature then chill until cold.
Add 2-3 tablespoons of cooked barley or wheat berries to the bottom of a tall glass. Add 2-3 peach halves and top off with juice. Stir in additional sugar or honey to taste. Serve with a spoon to break up the peaches and scoop out the grains.

*recipe found online*

These pictures can’t even describe how amazing this experience was. We had a voluntary day built into our program.

At first, I was hesitant about what the volunteering would entail and thought it would just be going to an after school programs with kids or something. I was very wrong, we spent the day at an orphanage-like facility with 15 amazing little boys who had been abandoned or taken away from their parents at different ages, 4-13 years old.

The facility is made in a way that allows for the kids to stay inside at all times, they sleep there, eat there, go to school there, everything there. Many of the kids have gone through traumatizing experiences whether it be sexual abuse, physical abuse, etc. and the facility houses them and supports them until they turn 18. Unfortunately, once they’re 18 they must fend on their own and find a place to live but the employees in the facility always encourage an education and hope the children move forward in the right direction after leaving the center.

I spent most of my day on that see-saw and playing air hockey with some of the kids. They loved having new people to play with and were even excited to have dinner with us. We all sat together to eat dinner together as a family and it was cute to see how playful the children were even with their food.

This experience made me value my own family so much more and really allowed me to think of how privileged I am to be a part of such a loving family. I loved being able to give the children a day of happiness and give them the attention they constantly desire. I wish there was more I could do for children in these situations but I know every little bit counts and serving the community is always an opportunity I will take advantage of.

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