#TalkJustice Playgroups! Are you in the Holland Area?
Come out this Tuesday, November 17 from 7:00-8:30 at the Herrick District Library Auditorium for the Give Back to Veterans Playgroup. We will be reading a story, making cards through A Million Thanks, creating a poppy craft and seeing the things soldiers carried. We are partnering with the Holland Area Big Read.
In the midst of tragedy residents of Paris practiced #PorteOuverte offering an open door to those stranded or in need of safe shelter. A beautiful act of light where darkness tried to prevail. And a needful prayer from Ann Voskamp.
National Family Literacy Month
November is National Family Literacy Month. Log in some time at We Give Books and help provide books for kids that need access.
Encourage your creative kids to use their gifts. Watch the video of E-tracers ballet slippers that trace dancers movement.
This past Thursday, The Office of Social Justice had a launch party for the Immigrants are a Blessing not a Burden Campaign at the Holland Museum. Your family can join in too. Visit the website to Sign, Share and Wear! My family shared below, as you can see immigrants are very dear to us. Open up conversation with your kids. Immigrants are all around us deepening our lives and contributing to our communities.
Holiday Kindness Camp
What?! How is it mid-October already? The leave are beginning to change colors here, which is beautiful and also a little bit of a bittersweet feeling to me, because I know winter is lurking. If you look at a calendar you know holiday preparations and fun will be filling our weeks soon. Join the sequel to Kindness Summer Camp, Holiday Kindness Camp. We’ll be giving out great ideas to incorporate kindness for five weeks in November and December.
Fall #TalkJustice Playgroups
If you are local, don’t forget our upcoming fall #TalkJustice playgroups, a veterans playgroup in partnership with Herrick District Library and Hope College’s Big Read, and a playgroup benefitting Kids Food Basket in partnership with Grace Episcopal Church. Join the Facebook Event Page to get updates!
Get ready for #GivingTuesday, this year on December 1, 2015. Talk about what organization or family you might like to support. Make plans ahead of time to be able to make it a reality on Dec. 1.
Watch the movie trailerHe Named Me Malala, the story of Malala Yousafzai shot by the Taliban for attending school, and later winning the Nobel Peace Prize for her activism. If you have read the book, you will also see reflected in the movie the strength of Malala’s Father. He broke conventional beliefs to make education for Malala and other girls a priority. As adults we make a difference when we talk about justice with young people.
Consider trick or treating for UNICEF! Or maybe matching the number of treats your kids collect to a family donation. $15 provides safe drinking water for a year to a child. $30 provides Measles protection to 100 kids. Just $5 provides five meals to a hungry child. I’m going to have Ant Man and Scarlet Witch this year!
October is Fair Trade Month
Check out the Buy Fair Trade Fair website. See if you can substitute a product you use in your life with a fair trade equivalent.
The busiest times for food banks is around the holidays. Before you take a hands-on shopping trip to donate, try calling first and asking about high need items. When we did a justice playgroup for our local food pantry this summer, they really needed personal hygiene items. We were able to gather and meet their greatest need at that time. Here is a list of high-quality items that can benefit most food pantries.
The USDA defines food insecurity as meaning “consistent access to adequate foodis limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.” Food insecurity occurs in every county in the United States. Hunger touches the lives of 15.8 million children.
40% of food is thrown out in the US every year, or about $165 billion worth. All of this uneaten food could feed 25 million Americans. (National Resource Defense Council)
3 out of 4 teachers see hungry children in their classrooms. (No Kid Hungry)
We should not have these statistics in our country.
Find an organization in your area that addresses childhood hunger and get involved. No Kid Hungry and Feeding America are great national organizations in the United States.
This past Friday, Jodi Baron and I were able to visit a local organization that addresses food insecurity for kids. It is local to the West Michigan area, and we will be doing a service play group focused on them in December!
In Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Holland Kids’ Food Basket serves 7,000 kids at 38 schools. They send home sack suppers with kids that opt-in, providing nutritious meals for students after the school day is done.
In Ottawa County over 8,000 children live in poverty. At Holland Public Schools 400 families are homeless, and 70% quality for free and reduced lunch. In Holland, 600 kids at Holland Heights K-7 and Woodside Elementary are being given sack suppers through Kids’ Food Basket. Six schools remain on the waiting list to be served by Kids’ Food Basket.
How can you help?
Sign up to volunteer here. Volunteers are needed for sandwich making, delivering sack suppers, and repacking snacks into mixes like cheerios, raisins, and goldfish. They allow families (kids five and up) to volunteer together. It would be a great way for youth groups to serve together. Groups can also decorate sack lunch bags!
To add schools and help them off the waiting list, three years of funds must be raised. Click here to host a fundraiser or a wish list drive.
Share this organization! You can follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Also, tell others about this way to serve, to ensure that children in our community do not go to bed hungry.
We collectively wish this was not such a problem. Bullying occurs with young kids in schools, teenagers, and we know it can happen even in adulthood. Here are some resources I never knew about. We can do our part as advocates against bullying. Especially in conveying that message to younger generations whether you are a parent, educator, youth leader, or family member.
Student’s Speak! Students can submit poems, artwork, stories, and video about how bullying has effected them through the National Bullying Prevention Center. I only scrolled through one page and it was powerful.
Green Giant Partners with Pacer to Raise a Giant. Go to this website to read letters parents have written to there kids about how proud they were when they stood up those who were bullying, you can also write your own letter.
15 Books for you to read with your family about equal education opportunities. The film Girl Risingshines a spotlight on the present-day challenges to equal education opportunities. These challenges have been and continue to be an obstacle for young people around the world.
Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afgahnistan. [Jeanette Winter]. Nasreen attends a secret school for girls in Afghanistan. (6-9)
With the Might of Angels. [Andrea Davis Pickney]. From the Dear America series, a diary about the Civil Rights Movement. (8 and up)
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Maker’s Strike of 1909. [Michelle Markel]. Clara worked in a sewing factory as a child and still fought for her right to an education. [Preschool and up].
Miss Dorothy and her BookMobile. [Gloria Housten]. Dorothy brings books to children in rural North Carolina. [4 and up]
The Hard-Times Jar. [Ethel Footman Smothers]. Emma and her family are migratory workers, she works to purchase her own store bought volume of a book. [Kindergarten and up].
Waiting for the Biblioburro. [Monica Brown]. A traveling library through rural Columbia. [Kindergarten and up].
Walking to School. [Eve Bunting]. A story from Northern Ireland. [Kindergarten and up].
I Have a Right to be a Child. [Alain Serres]. What it means to be a child with rights. [Preschool and up].
Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys. [Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard]. Equal access for education between girls and boys. [Kindergarten and up].
Red Bird Sings. [Q.L. Pearce]. Zitkala-Sa’s struggle in white boarding school and her love of music. [Ages 8 and up].
Waiting fr the Owl’s Call. [Gloria Whelan]. The story of Zulviya and child labor in Afghanistan. [Ages 6 and up].
That Book Woman. [Heather Henson]. Pack horse librarians in the Appalachian Mountains. [Kindergarten and up].
A Bus of Our Own. [Freddi Williams Evans]. Mable Jean wants to know why the black students don’t have a bus of their own. [Ages 6-10].
Alia’s Mission. [Mark Alan Stamaty]. Saving the book of Iraq, in graphic novel form. [Kindergarten and up].
The Year of Miss Agnes. [Kirkpatrick Hill]. A teacher is committed in rural Alaska. [Ages 8 and up].
Have you read any of these books? Which ones spark your interest for family reading?
That means its time to break out the slip-and-slides and do a happy dance. (I know the beauty of summer wears off when the sibling fighting begins.) But, for a moment let’s join together and embrace the beauty of the approaching moment.
Reading can be a big part of summer break.
Summer reading = Make a Difference
1. Read Creating Room to Read:
Add Creating Room to Read: A Story of Hope in the Battle for Global Literacy to your reading list.
John Wood left a lucrative career at Microsoft to found the non-profit Room-to-Read, one of the partners of Girl Rising. The heart of this book is the stories of the students who are changed when given the chance of literacy.
Head to your local library and add some of these books to your summer reading list. Kids relate to other kids! We are giving them a great gift when we open their eyes to the greater world and how they can be involved. I can’t wait to keep adding to this list!
Reach and Out and Read is a non-profit that incorporates books into well-child exams and partners with medical providers. At your child’s next well-child exam share this non-profit with your health care provider. Sometimes families just need a little extra encouragement to make literacy an important part of their home.
Kids Can Press has some of amazing books for kids about global issues. I’m working on some fun story times with this series, generously donated by Kids Can Press to About Proximity! On the website you can watch videos that correspond to the stories.
What is your favorite book series from when you were young or for your own kids?
5. Plant: Take time to plant something new this spring a tree, bush, strawberry plant, seeds, a small flower.
6. Garden Donations: If you garden and have excess consider donating some of your crops. Sometimes churches allow members to offer their excess to other members. When you visit the farmer’s market this summer, consider dropping a gift off to someone who might need a little extra.
7. Family Time is Important: Get outdoors together as a family: take a bike ride, a hike, a nature scavenger hunt, play in the beach sand, visit a new playground. Whatever you choose, do it together!
8. Did you know you could recycle this stuff? Spring clean with purpose.
Paint. Habitat for Humanity Restores take latex paint to remix and resell. Find a location near you.
Crayons. They can be recycled into new crayons. Learn more here.
Reading with your kids is an easy way to place your whole family in the proximity of renewal.
As parents, it’s important to teach our kids the perspective of those who have immigrated to a new home. Immigration reform is a huge topic right now. My husband is teaching an Office of Social Justice curriculum entitled The Church Between Borders all over the United States right now. Children’s books are an excellent way for us to teach our children.
The Name Jar by: Yangsook Choi (In a new school, Unhei struggles to use her Korean name.)
Harvesting Hope By: Cesar Chavez (The story of Cesar Chavez who sought to improve the lives of migrant farm workers.)
Henry and the Kite Dragon by: Bruce Edward Hale (A story based on true events, two rival groups of children from Chinatown and Little Italy learn what they share.)
Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan By: Coretta Scott King (Based on true events, orphaned boys from the war in Sudan, walk to a refugee camp in another country.)
The Whispering Cloth by: Pegi Dietz Shea (life in a refugee camp in Thailand, a little girl tells her story through traditional pa’nadau)
I Hate English! by: Ellen Levine (the struggles of learning a new language in a new country.)
One Green Apple by: Eve Bunting (the story of a young Muslim immigrant)
The Lotus Seed by: Tatsuro Kiuchi (a young girl immigrates from Vietnam.)
How Many Days to America By: Eve Bunting (a family is forced to flee their Caribbean home and board a boat to America.)
The Color of Home By: Mary Hoffman (Hassan feels homesick after fleeing Somalia, to a refugee camp, to a new home in England.)
Hannah is my Name By: Belle Yang (a young girl immigrates from Taiwan to San Francisco.)
Waiting for Papa By: Rene Colato Lainez (Beto and his Mama have left El Salvador and with the help of an immigration lawyer they wait for Papa.)
Leaving Vietnam By: Sarah S. Kilborne (Tuan and his father flee Vietnam and immigrate to America.)
My Name is Jorge: On Both Sides of the River (poems in English and Spanish) By: Jane Medina (Jorge tries to assimilate to his new home in American and hold his Mexican heritage close.)
Super Cilantro Girl By: Juan Felipe Herrera (Esmeralda Sinfronteras is a super-hero who goes great lengths to rescue her Mom. The story highlights concerns children may have about national borders and immigrant status.)