Friday, April 11, 2014

Getting out into the community - Resources, resources, resources

Getting out into the community and meeting the people who are resources to our area is very inspirational. We have been to Focus: Hope where we took a tour of the facility and then met to see how we might partner with them in some efforts.  We see some real possibilities there such as having Deseret Industries provide them with business clothing so that their graduates have proper clothing for job interviews, using their facility as a place to train some of our members who are ready to move into the work field, and also by having church groups come down to do volunteer work.

The next meeting we went to involved the Family Service Alliance and funded by United Way. Shaun Taft has the job of continuing to bring together resources and give them a chance to see what they each do and how they might collaborate.  They have the vision of a regional network that would break down the barriers that prevent services from being shared. This was the first of several meetings and was a chance to hear what others are doing and network with them.  

Our next adventure was to southwest Detroit to the Madonna University S.W.E.E.P. program.  There was a short talk about resources available in that area but the majority of the evening was a presentation about the S.W.E.E.P. program.  S.W.E.E.P. strives to fulfill the educational needs of women by providing an opportunity to earn certificates and college degrees in areas including Child Development, Health Care Management, Interdisciplinary Studies, Computer Technology, Addiction Studies, and Community Leadership. An important feature of the program is the high level of services designed to help students succeed: academic advising, small course size, on-site tutoring and Writing Lab, group study, computer lab with Internet access, mentoring, and assistance with the financial aid process.  It apparently is now open to men because there were young men in audience checking it out.  We were very impressed by the Madonna University staff who presented.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Moving Forward

On March 30, our whole team did presentations in the wards.  We each went to 2 different wards.  Lynn and I attended the full worship schedule at Sterling Heights and then came back to our own building and did the presentation for the Farmington Hills Ward.  This was a good introduction to the Personal Storehouse Project.  However, we expected to get emails afterwards from members sharing resources with us and those were minimal.  That means we still have work to do.

Looking forward, we have Bishop Herrin from Salt Lake City coming May 9-11 to do training sessions for our priesthood leaders and then for our mentors.  That will help solidify the purpose of the program and the actual functioning of the program in our wards and branches.

We hope to use that weekend to ask our bishops to read a letter to the congregations clarifying what we are hoping the ward members will share with the project.  Then on that same day we will send an email out to all the members of the stake asking them to "commit" something to the project if they possible can.  We are hoping that process with stimulate some real communication with the members and we will begin to compile a list of real commitments.

Then looking forward some more, on June 14th we have Lloyd Pendleton coming out also from SLC to train the whole group - leaders and mentors - in Bridges Out of Poverty.  The more we understand, the more effective we will be as mentors and helpers in this endeavor.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Getting Ready to Present to our Church Units

Sunday evening, March 23, our group gathered in the high council room of the stake center to prepare ourselves for the big event on March 30 when we teach our wards and branches about the Personal Storehouse Project.  Each couple was assigned to two different wards so that between the six pairs we could handle all twelve units.  The presentation will be given to a joint meeting of the Relief Society and the Priesthood.

Elder Geiger created a power point for us and also included in the notes section, suggestions that would help us do our presentations.  He then went through the whole power point and did it exactly as he envisioned it. We asked questions and made suggestions and by the end had a finished product that explains the program quite well.  We also have a video about a branch in the Philippines where a young branch president was faced with the lack of food for his members and brought his leaders together to solve the problem.  It models very clearly the four steps of first desire and willingness to work to solve a problem, followed by getting the knowledge they needed, and then with some resources given to them to get started, they were able to solve the problem.

Everyone left that evening with a copy of the video and also the power point.  We are all excited to get out there and teach our stake members about this exciting new program.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Getting Set Apart

Last evening Lynn and I went to the Stake center to be set apart by President Parsons.  It was a very nice experience.  We all have a sense that something very special is happening.  Our blessings were very beautiful and inspired us to know we can do this big responsibility.  Here is our official letter.  We are now officially Elder and Sister Harbertson of the Detroit LDS Personal Storehouse Project!


Monday, March 17, 2014

Our First Missionary Training in Detroit Metro Area

Sunday, March 16, 2014.  

We met at the Geiger's home to train the five missionary couples who have accepted the call to work in the Detroit Personal Storehouse Project.  So funny that we were sitting just a week ago learning all of this ourselves and now all of sudden here we were teaching the principles to others. We all just accept the fact that we will be learning everything together.  None of us are experts but we will follow the advice of Martin Luther King, Jr. who said "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

First Training agenda included:

History and Overview of the Project
Understanding what a "Personal Storehouse" is
Understanding what the "Lord's Storehouse" is
Self-reliance defined
Mentoring - principles and practice
Spiritual Truths underlying the welfare program

We were happy to have Pres. Junca of the Detroit River Branch join us.  Even though missionaries have not be called to his branch yet, they will be joining us on this new venture. I meant to get a photo of the whole group but that will have to wait until next Sunday night when we meet again.  That evening we will be trained to do a presentation at our wards and branches the following Sunday, March 30.  Elder Geiger will do that training.

We are all so excited/nervous to be a part of this project.  We recognize that there has been much trust placed upon us as we begin.  Every step will be watched as we try to adapt the Salt Lake Model to our circumstances here in Detroit.  

There was a quote on one slide that I felt was really important.  This may be a new project that we are trying here in our area but the people with whom we work are not "projects". They are our brothers and sisters who are beloved of the Lord.  

"As we are entrusted with the sacred right to participate in others’ lives, we must seek constantly the guidance of our loving Father that we may guide them through their experiences in a way to achieve the ultimate growth." 


 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sunday March 16 - Training Day 1 for newly called Personal Storehouse Project Missionaries

This Sunday, March 16, we will train the five couples who have accepted calls to the Personal Storehouse Project.  This first training will be based off of the Inner City Training that we attended last week.  The Saturday Day training all applies to our project with just minor changes.  Most of the Sunday training last week was very specific to Salt Lake City and therefore we cannot use those materials.

The five couples will each be assigned to one of the five wards and branches that have been designated as units with high welfare needs.  Later we will have a training that will include the priesthood leaders so that they know how to utilize their new missionaries.  But for right now, we will get these couples trained and they can begin attending their new ward or branch and get to know the people there.  And they can be studying the materials they will be given at the training.

It is very exciting to just jump in and do the best we can but move forward this quickly.  This is the Lord's work and He will bless us as we struggle to get started in the service of His children.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Salt Lake City Training March

We just completed 4 days of training in Salt Lake City.  Because we are modeling the Personal Storehouse Project here in the Detroit Metro area after the Inner City Project that has been in place for twenty years in Salt Lake City, we were able to spend these four days with the people who are administering their program. We took the same 2 day training that their missionaries take.

Day 1 - Friday March 7.  Today we met with a stake president and a bishop whose areas are impacted by the Inner City Project.  They have been using these missionaries for quite some time and have been blessed by their efforts.  What we learned from these two is that the missionaries become the arms and hands of the bishop in administering the welfare program in the wards.  In many areas of the church, the welfare needs of the members far exceeds the time that the bishop has to work with them.  So church service missionaries are assigned to those wards and they work directly with the bishop.  They do nothing without the bishop's advice and consent.

  1. He gives them the names of those with whom they will work.
  2. They report back to him weekly on their progress.
  3. They make recommendations to him about what they feel would help an individual or family.
  4. The bishop listens to their recommendations and then makes the final decisions about what course of action will be taken.
  5. They function as "mentors" and are not to try to fix people but to love and support them in their efforts to make changes in their lives. 
  6. So in fact, these are welfare missionaries helping to administer the welfare program of the church.
Friday afternoon was spent learning to navigate the web page that has been set up for us.  It will be used to "house" the training materials for the project, the reports of the individual missionaries, the complete list of all the resources that will be available in the storehouse of specialists.  

Day 2 - Saturday March 8.  Missionary Training.  
  • Scriptural and Christ Centered Doctrinal Principles
  • The Inner-City Mind Set and Bishop's Perspective
  • Mentoring
  • Self Reliance Plan
  • Role of the Missionary
Day 3 - Sunday March 9.  Missionary Training.
  • The Storehouse of Specialists
  • Inner-City Project Web Site
  • Missionary Involvement with Employment Issues
  • Missionary Involvement with Housing Issues
  • Missionary Involvement with Single Parent Issues
  • Missionary Involvement with Children, Youth & Young Adult Issues
  • Refugee Resources
  • Hispanics Resources
  • Principals and Guidelines, the Essence of the Gospel
Day 4 - Monday morning March 10.  We met with two men who have been part of the welfare program and Deseret Industries to make some decisions about which people will come this spring to Detroit to do the initial training of our bishops and other priesthood leaders and also to training all leaders on Bridges Out of Poverty.  This book/program has been accepted by the church because it's principals agree with the welfare program of the church.

Feelings about the training:

1.  We were humbled as we met with people who work with the poor of Salt Lake and love serving there.  We realize that you have to set aside all biases and be completely able to love unconditionally in order to serve in these capacities.  King Benjamin's words will be our guide.
2.  Everyone who trained "radiated" with enthusiasm for the project.
3.  Everyone who talked to us said we will learn patience.
4.  I think we are going to be changed more than anyone we try to help.  We are pretty ignorant on the issues discussed in the training. and quite impressed at the expertise of those who trained us.
5.  We are thrilled to be able to be a part of the Personal Storehouse Project.

 Elder and Sister Jones training us on how to use the web site.


President and Sister Moffitt of the Inner City Mission who were our hosts for the training.




The Geigers and the Moffitts at the Moffitt home where we also stayed during the training.

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

    First Meeting with LDS Employment Resource Center

    March 4, 2014

    Today the Geigers and Lynn and I met with the ERC staff in Farmington Hills.  They have a lot of experience to share with us.  Over the years they have tried many different ways to reach out to those who are not of the professional work force for which the basic job search skills are geared.  They will be mentors to us in many areas as we begin this new adventure.

    One nice thing that has happened here in our area is that as a part of the ERC, David Zane is employed there as an employee of Deseret industries.  His job is to work with the bishops when there are people identified who are employable but need job training.  David is in a position to help those people by setting up training programs with companies who are willing to give them a work experience.  Their salaries are paid for by the church.  The program is a first step toward getting a real job and often this work experience is tied to going back to school at the same time so they have an income while they are taking necessary training.  He will be a valuable resource to us.

    Another nice thing is that the missionary couple who work at the Employment Center are also assigned to the Detroit River Branch and so they understand completely what the challenges are.

    We talked about the need to teach doctrine in a way that relates to these welfare principles.  That will be another challenge for us.

    We also realized as we talked that our stake and ward employment specialists will be very useful in this project also.

    Each time we get together and talk we get more ideas.  We fly to Salt Lake City on Thursday for our training.  We are really anxious to learn from those who have been working a similar program there.  We have a lot to learn.


    Sunday, March 2, 2014

    Church Service Missionaries Called to the Detroit LDS Personal Storehouse Project

    A calling in the Detroit LDS Personal Storehouse Project is a part-time Church Service Mission to care for the poor and needy in an assigned ward or branch. In this capacity, Church Service Missionaries:

    1.   Assist with temporal welfare
    2.   Help individuals and families develop self-reliance
    3.   Encourage spiritual progression

    Church Service missionaries, usually called as couples, devote their time and energy to their assigned ward or branch. They assist in alleviating the welfare load of the bishop or branch president by helping individuals overcome personal challenges, improve their lives and get back on their feet financially so they can focus on their spiritual progression. Service missionaries may be asked to counsel and mentor families on budgeting, finding better employment, provide instruction on basic life skills, arrange dental, medical or legal services, provide transportation, or other acts of service as required in meeting the temporal needs of those they serve. As such, they receive missionary badges, and associate with the other Church Service Missionaries serving as part of the project.

    Couples attend the units they are assigned to and participate in the activities there as much as possible.
    However, unlike Stake Service Missionaries, they do not receive callings or home or visiting teaching assignments in that unit (depending on availability, they may keep home or visiting teaching assignments in their home units). Their responsibility is to serve families assigned.to them by the Bishop, who are seeking help in achieving temporal and spiritual self-reliance. In this, they work directly with the Bishop, the families, and other unit leaders.

    Church Service Missionaries typically serve between 8-32 hours per week, depending on their situation and other responsibilities. The Detroit Personal Storehouse Project is modeled on the Inner City Project in Salt Lake City (see lds.icp.org for more information). Couples there typically serve about 16 hours per week, including Sunday Church meetings and travel time. Couples will be part of the Detroit LDS Personal Storehouse Project organization, and will meet regularly together for training, support and help in finding resources needed to support the families they are serving.

    There are many questions that we cannot yet answer, as the Project is just being started. The concerns that needy members face here have both similarities and differences to the Inner City project in Salt Lake. Couples who accept the call to serve, however, will have a chance to make eternal differences in the lives of the families they serve.

    New Assignment: The Personal Storehouse Project

    A couple of weeks ago Lynn and I were asked to serve as part-time service missionaries to act as associate directors in a program to address the needs of those affected by poverty in our area - specifically in Detroit itself. We are being flown out to Salt Lake March 6-11 for a training along with Greg and Denise Geiger under whom we will work.  It will be called the Personal Storehouse Project.   We each need a "personal storehouse of resources" in order to be self reliant.  For many of us, we are born having been given those resources.  For many others, they just don't exist.  Our job is to find those resources and make them available to the families in the program.

    Our specific responsibility will be to identify resources in the community that are available to help individuals who are struggling to survive. Where such resources do not already exist, we will help create them. The goal is to lift the poor and the needy out of whatever situation they are in and help them to become self-reliant.  That could mean finding them medical services, literacy programs, employment, child care, food, etc.  We will be liasons between the church and the social programs that already exist in the city and build bridges there - requesting whatever services they may offer and in return offering the services that the church offers.

    We've been asked to read a book entitled Bridges Out of Poverty by Ruby K Payne which is a guide book for professionals and communities who are trying to address such issues.

    We are excited about the opportunity.  We are sure we will learn much about both those who struggle and those who are willing to give them assistance.  We look forward to having a focus that will allow us to work together as a couple.  It is very easy as retirees to just get busy doing our own things.

    So life changes quickly.  We are happy to be able to help those whose lives who have been less fortunate than ours.  To whom much is given, much is expected. . .  I suspect that we will find that we will gain more than we give.

    Serve in Your Community

    Serve in Your Community

    In the October 2011 general conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “Too often we notice the needs around us, hoping that someone from far away will magically appear to meet those needs. … When we do this, we deprive our neighbor of the service we could render, and we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to serve.”
    Individuals, families, wards, and stakes can help organizations or individuals in their community. You should approach service in your community without any thought of any particular benefit except to make your community better. If you don’t know where to begin, investigate opportunities that will allow you to identify a need that exists. Then tailor your service to meet that need.
    Look around your community. What needs or challenges do you see or hear about? Newspapers and schools may also offer information about needs that can be filled. Ask friends in other churches about the service projects in which they are involved. In most metropolitan areas of the United States, you can dial 211 for ideas on how you can serve in your own community. If you identify a need in your community but cannot find an established program that addresses this need, take the initiative to find a solution.
    Volunteer on a regular basis, if possible. Serving consistently, rather than only during holidays when many others serve, is beneficial. It also allows you to develop personal relationships with those you serve. If serving regularly is not possible, be willing to contribute whatever you can. Even a little bit will help. Don’t try to make your involvement in community service a missionary opportunity. Your service alone will say much about you and your faith.
    Here are some ways you can serve in your local community:
    • Volunteer with a local community organization. Good organizations have the following characteristics:
      • Beneficiaries are allowed to solve their own problems through participation and work.
      • Leadership in the organization is honest and competent.
      • Their programs promote self-reliance.
    • Support worthy community activities that help the poor meet basic needs or learn skills.
    • Help new members of your community learn English (or the local language if outside the United States).
    • Assist with literacy programs.
    • Volunteer at a local homeless shelter, refugee organization, low-income health clinic, or school.
    • Support after-school activities for youth.
    • Support local food drives by food banks and pantries.

    From https://www.lds.org/topics/humanitarian-service/help?lang=eng

    Thursday, May 16, 2013

    "Look for the helpers"

    I was reading an article this morning in the Deseret News about how to help children deal with difficult things in life.  It suggests that the best way to help young children is to protect them.  They need to be children and play and explore the world and chase fireflies and butterflies, etc.  But sometimes they hear things from others or on the TV and then you need to help them understand. 

    The article then quoted Mr. Rogers who said "Look for the helpers."

    Isn't that really a great idea?  No matter what happens in life, look for those who are helping.  Then instead of being overwhelmed by disaster or war or whatever happens, we can be inspired by those who help.  Those stories always surface in every situation.

    In fact, this blog is dedicated to the helpers - those who serve.  Thanks to all those wonderful people who see a need and try to make a difference.  You inspire the rest of us to try to do better!

    Monday, May 6, 2013

    Father Gregory Boyle - A Life Worth Knowing


    Read this article this morning on Meridian Magazine   Father Gregory Boyle – A Life Worth Knowing  By Rynna Ollivier   http://www.ldsmag.com/article/1/12635

    It is about Father Gregory Boyle – an American Jesuit priest – Founder and Executive Director of Homeboy Industries. Homeboy Industries was born in 1988 and is now the largest gang intervention, rehab and re-entry program in the United States. 

    Speaking of this man's work Ollivier writes, "All of this is very impressive, but what really reached in and grabbed my soul – and everyone else in the room – was the spirit and humility of this good man. He fed us with inspiring thoughts like

    “ We need to stand in awe of how troubled people carry their burdens, and not in judgment of what they are carrying.”

    “God’s desire is to reach deep into our souls and dismantle the pain, hate and anger …and return each of us to our better selves.”

    “We shouldn’t be praying for God to change things but that we will change things.”

    And one of my favorites – his philosophy behind all that he does – “It is impossible for human beings to demonize those we truly know.”

    “Homeboy” is not without problems. Father Boyle has buried 187 gang youth over the last 25 years, and is scheduled for another funeral this week.

    But even as he emotionally spoke of the pain in such loss, he told of two gang members that began their job at Homeboy Bakery as dangerous rivals; and one of the boys being nearly beaten to death by another rival gang after leaving the Bakery one day.

    When Father Boyle informed this dying young man’s “once enemy” co-worker of what had happened, the boy, with great emotion in his voice, asked, “Is there anything I can do. Can I give him my blood?”   Proof of what Father Greg so fervently believes –“It is impossible for human beings to demonize those we truly know.”

    Endnote – Father Gregory Boyle is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book, “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.”


      





































































    Friday, April 26, 2013

    Medical Missions Foundation -

    From my daughter Laura who lives near Kansas City:

    Medical Missions Foundation (MMF) sends teams of volunteer doctors, nurses and support staff to developing countries across the world. Since 1996, MMF has completed 63 missions in 12 countries, directly impacting more than 42,500 children and their families through surgeries and clinics.

    In addition to direct medical care provided by MMF doctors and nurses, educational components in the form of hand washing, nutrition, dental hygiene and burn prevention are also incorporated as frequently as possible with the module offered based on the need of the country. Uganda and Romania have had a high need for burn prevention awareness and since MMF has provided education, instances of “new” burns have decreased in Romania. Further, medical missions teams have clinically trained and equipped hundreds of medical professionals and hospitals to perform procedures previously unavailable in these countries. For instance, a Kansas City surgeon conducted the first knee replacement surgery in Bohol, Philippines on our mission in September, 2011.

    MMF leverages individual and corporate donations as well as relationships with medical suppliers to maximize services and support available for the children and families served internationally. Though it’s difficult to value the services, medications and equipment given, it’s estimated that missions range from $600,000 to $900,000 in value provided. Participants volunteer their time and most pay their own travel expenses.

     http://mmfworld.org/get_involved/volunteer-opportunities/



    Medical Missions Foundation
    8363 Melrose Dr.

    Lenexa, KS 66214

    913-338-0343 

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013

    OSSO



    My daughter told me about this organization this morning.  She had good friends who worked there to get the organization started several years ago.  We intend to sign up for their "Forget Me Not" program and help create Memory Books for the children so each will have a record of their childhood.  Wonderful ways to serve are available to us now because of the internet!

    Orphanage Support Services Organization (OSSO) is a nonprofit charitable organization that provides volunteer opportunities to serve in orphanages in Ecuador in over 10 orphanages for the purpose of providing them with various types of support.

    Mission Statement

    The mission of Orphanage Support Services Organization (OSSO) is to do everything possible to help children living in orphanages and similar institutions to reach their full potential.


    Core Beliefs

    1. Every child is a child of God and, as such, is just as important as any other person.
    2. No institution can replace a loving family, although they sometimes must try.
    3. Every child needs food, shelter, education and secure loving relationships. If a child's family or community cannot or will not provide for those needs, it becomes the responsibility of good people everywhere to try and provide them.
    4. Every child deserves to receive and give love and in fact must do so to develop normally.


     Based in Rexburg, ID, here is their contact information:

    Please e-mail us at:
    info[at]orphanagesupport.org

    Please call us at:
     (208) 359-1767  (if phoning from an international location, please use the proper country code)

    Please mail us at:
    OSSO
    P.O. Box 345
    Rexburg, ID 83440
    USA

    http://orphanagesupport.org/index.html

    Saturday, March 23, 2013

    Akshaya Trust - One man's journey to aleve hunger

     If you think you can't do anything to tackle the overwhelming problems of society, watch this beautiful and inspiring story of what one man did in his home town.

    http://www.byutv.org/watch/84071194-9bae-40f4-b296-75d53a6534dc/turning-point-akshaya-trust

    A Place at the Table

     If you are concerned about hunger in the United States you will want to watch this film.  You will be motivated to action.

    http://www.magpictures.com/aplaceatthetable/

    50 million people in the U.S.-one in four children-don’t know where their next meal is coming from, despite our having the means to provide nutritious, affordable food for all Americans. Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush examine this issue through the lens of three people who are struggling with food insecurity: Barbie, a single Philadelphia mother who grew up in poverty and is trying to provide a better life for her two kids; Rosie, a Colorado fifth-grader who often has to depend on friends and neighbors to feed her and has trouble concentrating in school; and Tremonica, a Mississippi second-grader whose asthma and health issues are exacerbated by the largely empty calories her hardworking mother can afford.

    Their stories are interwoven with insights from experts including sociologist Janet Poppendieck, author Raj Patel and nutrition policy leader Marion Nestle; ordinary citizens like Pastor Bob Wilson and teachers Leslie Nichols and Odessa Cherry; and activists such as Witness to Hunger’s Mariana Chilton, Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio and Oscar®-winning actor Jeff Bridges.

    Ultimately, A Place at the Table shows us how hunger poses serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation, and that it could be solved once and for all, if the American public decides-as they have in the past-that making healthy food available and affordable is in the best interest of us all.





    Sunday, September 9, 2012

    Irene Zola - Turning Point

    I love people who are devoting time and energy to make a difference in the world.  But I especially love those who show us how simple it is to make such a difference and remind us that we can do likewise.

    Irene Zola helps run a team of volunteers who provide vital support to Manhattan’s elderly population who want to remain in their own homes.  Her story will inspire you to want to go out right now - today - and help that person you have known about for a long time and yet have convinced yourself that either you don't have the time or that you really can't make a difference.  

    Not only can you - but like Irene you'll find others who want to jump in and help.

    The Bread Lady - Turning Point

    Do you ever wonder what happens to all of the unwanted food food that would otherwise be thrown away by grocers and sorts it on her porch for homeless and needy families?

    Shauna Devenport not only wondered but was aghast to find out that we throw food away while others go hungry.  She decided to do something about it - something so simple and so wonderful that you will ask yourself why you don't also seek solutions to the questions you find yourself asking. 

    http://byutv.org/watch/520faed5-873c-4299-88ed-21c01c339418/turning-point-the-bread-lady


    Adopt A Native Elder - Turning Point

    Just think of how difficult it is for aging women to give up their homes.  Home is a place filled with
    all the memories that a woman treasures.  You remember the children, the holidays, the birthday parties, the family around the dinner table.  All those treasured times are tied to this place called home.

    Now imagine a Native American woman for whom her home means all of that but also is tied to a way of life that is slowly disappearing.  Linda Myers  discovered within herself a deep love for these elderly Native Americans upon whom the modern world imposes so many barricades that would prevent them from maintaining the lives they love.

    Watch this episode and find yourself being amazed at the love and compassion she has for the elderly Native Americans who are trying to live traditional lifestyles on reservations today.

    International Princess Project

    Not on LDS organization - but who cares?  Women helping women is always awesome.

    Check out their website:  http://www.intlprincess.org/

    International Princess Project advocates for women enslaved in prostitution, helping them restore their lives and empowering them to live free.

    If you like Indian fabrics, consider purchasing some summer pajamas (punjammies) from their online store.  Nice way to support their efforts.  http://www.punjammies.com/

    The Story of PUNJAMMIES™

    Each Punjammie™ is created in an after-care facility for women who have been rescued, released or escaped from a life of forced prostitution. Their lives have been marked by a message - you are a commodity - to be used for other's gain.

    Whether sold by her own family, trafficked from another country or driven by desperation, she was a slave to this life. Each story is as unique as each girl.

    When one manages to escaped from this life of horror, she has few options where to turn. Aside from the emotional and psychological trauma, women formerly working as prostitutes cannot easily enter schools, return to family systems or secure jobs to support themselves in India. A high quality after-care center is one of the best options a woman has at rebuilding her life.

    Holistic aftercare involves quality medical care, emotional safety, education and the tools to create a new way of life for herself.

    Empowering each woman with an opportunity to learn a marketable skill and become a part of a viable business is the purpose of Punjammies™. In providing for her basic need to support herself, she sees that she has value far beyond what the lies have told her. She begins to see her rightful place of value - a princess.

    Every Punjammie™ purchase creates
    A fair trade wage
    Financial support for holistic care
    Capacity building for more women to enter the after-care center

    Every Punjammies™ tells the story of a girl who was once voiceless. You can be a part of re-building lives shattered by modern day slavery.

    Wear Punjammies™. Wear hope

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

    Want to Make a Difference? Get Involved

    From Zion's Bank President and CEO A. Scott Anderson comes the following:

    Good communities are made of good people willing to get involved.

    At Zions Bank, our Guiding Principles encourage us to "maintain strong ties to the communities we serve," and to be "actively engaged in important community issues and to help provide creative solutions to community needs."

    Anderson's editorial in the Zion's Bank magazine "Community" goes on to encourage involvement in public discourse.  He is encouraging political involvement since this is an election year.  This is a wonderful way we can all serve.  Here are his suggestions:

    • Vote in both the Primary and General Elections.
    • Be involved in a candidate campaign.
    • Become an ambassador for your party.  
    • Know who your elected officials are and hold them accountable.  
    • Spend a day at the state capitol during the Legislative session.
    • Attend city or county council meetings when issues you care about are being discussed.
    Quoting President John K. Kennedy he shares, "One person can made a difference and every person should try."

    Whether it is politics or humanitarian service, each one of can strengthen our community and make a difference.  Nice article by Mr. Anderson.    You can read his full article  - page 80 of the March/April 2012 issue online at

    https://www.zionsbank.com/in-our-community/flipbook/2012/flipbook-MarApr/Zions0312/index.html

    Serve Together as a Family

    One of the best ways to bond as a family is to volunteer together, says Jenny Friedman, author of Doing Good Together: 101 Easy, Meaningful Service Projects for Families, Schools and Communities.

    While monetary donations always are needed, Friedman says serving others not only benefits the community but also can enrich family life and spark deep discussions. “Parents and kids talk about things they wouldn’t have talked about without the experience,” she says. “It’s an opportunity to discuss values and what’s important in life.”

    Here are some goodwill activities that families can do together:
    • Make artwork or greeting cards and deliver them to a local nursing home or a children’s or veterans hospital.
       
    • Organize a cereal drive for homeless shelters or drives for toys or baby items for women’s shelters.
       
    • Make fleece blankets for Project Linus, an organization that distributes them to children’s hospitals.
       
    • Walk dogs at an animal shelter or serve as a foster family for animals awaiting adoption.
       
    • Hold a fundraiser such as a backyard carnival or a lemonade stand, and give the money to a charitable organization.
       
    • Visit a nursing home or an assisted living center and have lunch with or read a book to a senior.
       
    • Volunteer to clean up a local park, trail, stream or roadside.
       
    • Organize a community garden and give the harvest to homeless shelters.
       
    • Deliver food through a program such as Meals on Wheels; recipients often enjoy it when a child comes along.

    A learning experience
    Whatever you do, make sure you reflect with your child afterward. “Don’t consider this a task to be checked off your to-do list,” Friedman says. “Talk about who benefited, how you made a difference, why it mattered, and why part of life is giving back.”

    She suggests that parents talk about being a giver and a receiver. “We all have something we can offer,” she says. “And we all need help sometimes. It’s good for kids to see and be part of both sides.”

    Volunteering also can help dispel stereotypes. “Kids get a chance to spend time with people they might not interact with on a regular basis—people of a different age, ethnicity or income level,” Friedman says. “Through their experience, they often learn that deep down these people aren’t that different than they are. It’s a way to teach kids compassion, kindness and empathy for others.”

    Volunteering as a family can have benefits for generations to come. “Kids who volunteer are more likely to become adults who volunteer,” Friedman says. “They learn that true happiness doesn’t come from that next thing they are going to buy. It comes from doing things that matter—and that’s a powerful lesson for us all.”

    http://www.americanprofile.com/articles/volunteer-opportunities-for-families/

    Saturday, March 24, 2012

    Hettie Cope teaching piano at Detroit's Cristo Rey High School

    Hettie found this wonderful opportunity to help Detroit kids by teaching piano lessons at Detroit Cristo Rey High School.  Read the full story at this link:  http://detroitcristorey.org/blog/2012/03/16/music-air

    Saturday, March 10, 2012

    Cards for Ronald McDonald House of Greater Cincinnati

    From Carrie Phelps:  This is something I have done with the Activity Day girls and was a great service project for anyone who likes to do cards or scrapbooking:

    They have lots of volunteer opportunities like scrapbook buddies, care packages, quilts and making "ouch buddies", but we made cards because it was cheap. I just packaged them up and sent them off. The shipping wasn't too bad.

    http://www.rmhcincinnati.org/volunteer-other.aspx


    Greeting Cards

    Happy birthday! I miss you. Get well soon. Thank you.

    Who doesn't love receiving – or sending – greeting cards? It means someone has been thinking about you. For the families living at Ronald McDonald House, being able to keep in touch with friends and family back home is important. Sentiments expressed on a homemade card seem to make the message even more special.

    Donations of greeting cards are always appreciated. Not only do our families use them, but our staff and volunteers send out a lot of thank you cards to our very generous donors. Your help in supplying unique, handmade cards is always appreciated.

    We're not picky. We love cards of any medium, design or colors. Cards can be simple or as elaborate as your talents will allow. The only thing we do ask is that you do include an envelope for each card.

    Our favorite cards are blank inside so that they can be used for any occasion. We also have a great need for thank you designs, birthday and holiday cards, and of course, get well cards.

    A donation of stamps would also be greatly appreciated.

    Cards can be dropped off at our House any day between 9 AM and 9 PM. There is no need to call ahead unless you'd like to have a tour. In that case, just let us know when you'd like to come in, and we'll be sure to arrange it. Don't forget to fill out a donation form or have community service forms signed while you are here.

    Thank you again for helping us truly provide a "home away from home" for our guest families.

    Sincerely,

    Lisa Davis
    Meals and Activities Coordinator
    513-636-2760
    ldavis@RMHouse.org