Cambodia | The Future of Khmer Children

Honestly, I have never been a “kid person.” Babies scare the heck out of me and I never thought I had the patience to deal with toddlers. However, our trip to the local school (run by The Future of Khmer Children Organization) sparked something inside me. We went to the school to see the kids, give them stickers, take their temperatures, hear their complaints, hand out vitamins, and paint their faces. Basically, it was a PEDS day and, surprisingly, I loved every second of it.

Well, not every second. . .the first fifteen minutes I had no idea what to do. I stood far away from the action and took photos of the kids interacting with each other. Then, a small girl came and stood before me. I snapped her portrait and turned the camera around to show her the picture. She looked at it for about 3 seconds in silence. She then burst into a smile, giggled and touched her face and then the camera. She looked back up at me and smiled so I took another photo and showed her again. She laughed and laughed and laughed ! Suddenly, I had a friend, and everything was better.

From there the day flew by ! I held a baby, had a little dance party, listened to the kids sing American songs, played with balloons, and took probably around 350 photos (in just a few hours). I was obsessed with following the kids around, and apparently so were all the other members of IMR.

wpkids-13some of the children put their hand prints on the wall as decoration ! it looked so beautiful and welcomingwpkids-15wpkids-14wpkids-23this little man was the bomb ! he was 9 years old and such a fun spirited kid.wpkids-31wpkids-19eric was having an absolute blast ! he was so in love with the kids !!!!wpkids-20we were handing out stickers, hair bands, hacky sacks and glow bracelets to the children.wpkids-5wpkids-6there was also a face painting station !!! the kids were super excited about that. wpkids-22wpkids-7one of the girls was sporting these shoes, they needed to make an appearance on the blog haha !wpkids-29wpkids-26daniel was holding babies all day. it was pretty dang adorable.wpkids-21this little girl was absolutely gorgeous.wpkids-25this is the happiest i have ever seen any human being. seriously, pure joy, right here. wpkids-27wpkids-28wpkids-30This little girl changed everything for me. She became my second shadow and loved to have her picture taken !wpkids-11wpkids-3wpkids-9once we handed out balloons, the kids went crazy ! they loved the balloons so much. wpkids-24wpkids-17wpkids-45wpkids-10wpkids-8wpkids-4wpkids-32wpkids-35wpkids-34wpkids-33wpkids-16wpkids-54wpkids-12wpkids-53this little sweetheart was just the cutest thing in the world !!!wpkids-1

The work we’ve been doing with IMR is truly amazing. However, there was something incredibly special about our day spent at the school. Hopefully we touched the lives of those children and they will remember us in years to come.



  1. by Denise on January 9, 2014  4:35 am Reply

    Sam, this is precious! Puts tears in my eyes, it's such a beautiful journey and experience you and your dad had! Your talent and passion for what you do amaze me and inspire me! I love this!! I am glad you are back safe and sound!!

    • by Samantha Leonetti on January 9, 2014  5:30 am Reply

      AW !!! Thank you so much Denise !!!! I hope to see you soon !

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