#TalkJustice

#TalkJustice Kids Helping Kids

KFB Playgroup1

I love #talkjustice playgroups. I love the proximity, the kids, the families, the organizations and everyone working as a community! Want to partner on a playgroup? Contact us at aboutproximity@gmail.com

Our next playgroup is Monday evening, December 14, 6:30-7:30. The wise and talented Rev. Jodi Baron and Grace Episcopal Church will be hosting.

We will be reading the book Maddie’s Fridge. A wonderful story about childhood hunger.

Maddie's Fridge

We will also play and serve together supporting West Michigan’s Kids’ Food Basket.

At Kids’ Food Basket sack suppers are delivered to students throughout the school year to bridge the gap so school lunch is not the last meal of the day. In the summer sack suppers are delivered through local park programs. They serve nearly 7,000 kids in the West Michigan area.

Kids’ Food Basket is unique in its Kids Helping Kids initiative that allows children to serve at their on-site locations, something that is not always possible in nonprofits.

49,560 children living in Kent, Muskegon, and Ottawa counties are food insecure. There are many schools on the waiting list to be served by Kids’ Food Basket. When most of us have more than enough, these statistics are heartbreaking. We need not travel far to know hunger.

I hope many families will come out this busy holiday season to serve together! Join our Facebook Event Page to ask questions and get updates.

 

What does hunger look like where you live? What organizations meet the needs of food insecurity well? How could your family contribute? 

 

 

When We Give

I hope you had a lovely holiday weekend! I know I am so thankful for all of you.

When we give, the advent season takes on an even more beautiful form.

givingtuesday

Amidst holiday shopping, remember Giving Tuesday is tomorrow!

Many non-profits will match donations on Giving Tuesday.

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One of my favorite holiday ideas is picking out a living gift from a gift catalog together. Look online or order a copy in the mail. Great options: World Renew, World Vision, Compassion International, Heifer International, International Justice Mission, OxFam, The Salvation Army.

In partnership with Pennies of Time Holiday Kindness Camp, I shared this past week about incorporating acts of kindness with Elf of the Shelf. Even if you don’t get into the elves, these ideas would work anytime during the holiday season.

Christmas25

Here are 25 Acts of Kindness for your Advent Season:

  • Read a book together from We Give Books that donates another to a child without access.
  • Make a card for veterans and servicemen and women through A Million Thanks.
  • Plan an evening of caroling with friends at a nursing home (call activities director ahead of time)
  • Make kindness coupons for two neighbors offering leaf raking or snow shoveling services.
  • Give of your excess, fill a bag, and deliver to a donation center.
  • Invite the children of a single parent friend to decorate Christmas cookies with you and give their Mom or Dad time to go shopping alone.
  • Pick out a toy to donate to Toys for Tots or a low-cost Santa shop.
  • Take a hike and log your miles for the free app Charity Miles.
  • Invite a friend with a disability and their siblings to a movie party. Allow their parents a time away
  • Make handwritten notes for someone who could use encouragement. Send them in the mail.
  • Donate coloring books and crayons to your local WIC office
  • Donate to your local animal shelter.
  • Deliver treats with a thank you note to a community helper in your town (ex. firefighters)
  • Write a letter for The World Needs More Love Letters.
  • Donate socks and underwear to your local homeless or women’s shelter, this is common need.
  • Donate laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, or personal care items to your local food bank- these are often high-need items.
  • Make a special call to a Great Grandpa or Grandma or special friend that lives far away. Share what you love to do!
  • Cook a meal together and make extra. Deliver the extra meal to someone in need of a pick me up.
  • Deliver a special cocoa, coffee, or tea to a hard-worker teacher, coach, or leader who blesses your family
  • Make treats together and deliver to neighbors.
  • Fill out coupons for jobs you can do for Grandpas and Grandmas throughout the year
  • Make teacher Christmas thank-you’s.
  • Take a photo and upload to the app Donate a Photo, choose the cause you would like to support.
  • Serve your kids with a special surprise.

What was the highlight of your Thanksgiving Weekend? What giving traditions do you practice with your family? 

We loved my Mom’s pie, cousins, deal-shopping with my Dad, and a sweet visit from my in-laws all the way from Iowa. My favorite tradition- trying hard to slow down and a remember why we celebrate Christmas.

I’m also excited about two upcoming playgroups. Kids Helping Kids with Kids Food Basket, and Blessing Not Burden, with the OSJ Campaign and Zeeland Christian School.

#TalkJustice Together November Edition

#TalkJustice November

#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 December we will support Kids Food Basket with Grace Episcopal Church. In January we will partner with Zeeland Christian Schools for a Blessing not Burden Playgroup supporting immigrants. Want to keep up-to-date on play group opportunities? Join the Service PlayGroups Facebook Page.

thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

A beautiful family thanksgiving tree for inspiration from Caitlin Boersma.

#PorteOuverte

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.

Creativity

Encourage your creative kids to use their gifts. Watch the video of E-tracers ballet slippers that trace dancers movement.

Ethical Shopping Guide

In this season of gift-giving gather ideas from the Art of Simple’s Ethical Shopping Guide. There are many fair trade ideas.

Gift Catalogs 

Order a print version of a holiday gift catalog from any of these non-profits. Look through the options together and pick out a gift. Gathering around the photographs is guaranteed to open up conversation. Heifer International, World Vision, World Renew, OxFam, UNICEF, Compassion International, International Justice Mission. 

prayerMicahChallenge

Audacious Prayer Guide

Join Micah Challenge and pray as a family for Sustainable Development Goals that address injustices families are facing around the world. Use the Audacious Prayer Guide here.

A Gutsy Girl

Alicia Bruxfort over at The Overflow shares her own gutsy girl. Your daughters will love to read her words.

#GivingTuesday

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.

What Thanksgiving and Holiday giving practices does your family participate in?

I am so thankful for all of you. 

 

Be Encouraged

 

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The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. – Henri J.M. Nouwen. 

I have spent the last few weeks moving About Proximity to this new space! Every is the same, just a new address and a host that can do some bigger things. There were times when I felt like my head was going to explode trying to navigate all this technology. Pretty much nothing went right the first time, or second, or third… not everything is perfect yet, but I promise to get it right eventually (like the vertical social media icons). I had a pretty theme, that would not cooperate, therefore we are going minimalist. It’s about what’s one the inside, right?

Here, we have successfully transitioned back to school. There is now a middle schooler with a locker in our house, and a third grader. How this happens, I’m still not sure. This year I am working in fourth grade, sixth grade, and eighth grade.

 

I want to share a few things with you today Fall #TalkJustice Play Groups and encouragement. 

We have two fall playgroups scheduled in Holland with more being planned for the spring. Would you like to partner with us? Let me know! We would love it! Or can I help you with your own? aboutproximity@gmail.com

Our first is a partnership is with The Big Read in Holland. We will work with Herrick Public Library and Hope College who are reading the book, The Things They CarriedTuesday, November 17 at 7:00 we will gather for a story and support A Million Thanks and our local VFW to align with the theme of The Big Read.

Veterans Playgroup

In December, we will partner with a local organization Kid’s Food Basket. Kid’s Food Basket helps childhood hunger by providing sack suppers to children after school. We will be hosted at Grace Episcopal Church on Monday evening, December 14, from 6:30-7:30 for a story, play, and three service projects for the Kid’s Food Basket new Holland location. We will be decorating lunch sacks, repackaging snacks and supporting expansion with $1.00 donations.

KidsHelpingKidsStay connected and invite friends on our Facebook Event Page and our Service PlayGroup Facebook Page.

Here’s a fun little slideshow of all our fun this summer.

 

If you are like me you need a little encouragement coming out of summer!

  • Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience has a beautiful response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Read that here.
  • Our dear Amy Sullivan has a new book coming out this month. I’ll share more in the coming weeks, but here is a little preview!
  • I know this is a great sin… but I had never read the Harry Potter Series. I am now on book six and have lost a great deal of sleep. Oh the sweet and loyal friendships. (and you know I love a good love story… Ron and Hermione.)
  • And finally Socality Barbie on Instagram is a parody account of our “authentic” social media lives. It’s funny… really, really funny.

Following that account makes me feel better. #Iamauthenticallyamess and maybe that’s OK.

 

Like the quote above, it takes great strength to remain where we are sometimes. We can be assured that God has us, there is something greater being manifested in, around, and through our faithfulness. Be encouraged.

How can I pray for you as we head into the season of fall? 

 

 

A Little Bag of Sidewalk Chalk

FINALCOLLAGEService Play Groups, a long held dream, became a reality this summer!

FINALGLOBELet me be honest, I struggled. We had over three hundred families express interest on our facebook page, and I fielded email questions in abundance. Our first week we had a large group, but every week after the group was small. My first thought was that people attended the first week, hated it and didn’t come back. This is what my mind does. It was the depth of summer, and people are so busy. The timing was to open the door for whole families to come, but probably would have been better started a little later and not so close to dinner time. I was worried the families that attended would be disappointed with the small groups. I went home every night and worried instead of feeling joy.

FINALLISA

I share this because whenever you put yourself out there you face vulnerability.

The enemy really loves for us to get into our heads and tell ourselves we are not good enough. It’s my life-long fight.

He wants us to fixate on things like numbers that are completely irrelevant to the kingdom of God. Want to know why?

because then we don’t look at all the small, hidden beauty he offers us.

 

Like…

FINALSUPPORTINGCOLLAGE

The fact that a dream became a reality! We gave over one hundred welcome and birthday bags to Holland Rescue Mission, a trunkful of high-need supplies to Community Action House, a bicycle to a girl to access education through World Vision, two sets of vaccinations to a child through Shot@Life, and seven fruit tree seedlings for families in Bangladesh through World Renew. We were able to use the books donated to us by Citizen Kids Books!

 

FINALJODI

Many wonderful partnership were grown and will be forever friendships. There are many like-minded people in our communities and world, we need to fight to bring them together. We will be continuing into the forever future. Connect with our facebook page, or talk to myself or Jodi Baron! We would LOVE to partner with you. We have some exciting ideas taking shape for this coming year.

FINALFAMILIES

 

All the sweet families who took the time to attend and give. I appreciate you all so much. And so many young people were able to be leaders and guide stations for younger kids! It was so great to watch. All the kids were so wise and insightful during the stories. Kids understand justice so beautifully. We can make such a difference when we come together.

 

 

We needed a significant amount of supplies to launch service play groups. My parents invested in this dream by purchasing all the supplies. They helped me load them up and clean up every single week. All while my Mom is going through a tedious time of treatment for cancer. I am thankful and humbled by the fact that they still support my dreams.

FINALPETERSENFinally…

Every week children would drift into our play group area. They were alone, no families, sometimes siblings. They came from the community, some from the park and others from our neighborhood church. They added a great deal to our time together. There was one little boy, who asked to take some sidewalk chalk home because he didn’t have any. My friend Jen tied some up in a plastic bag for him and he happily went on his way that evening.

As I watched him walk into the distance, after a thirty-six year battle with not feeling good enough, I let it go with that one bag of sidewalk chalk.

FINALCHALK

The world tells us:

perfection, the bigger the better, stronger. you need to be popular, dynamic, numbers are everything.

But not feeling good enough makes it about me, and its not. It just really is not. God is going to use your dreams, and absolutely everything you do for his good, regardless of your weaknesses and perceived failures.

When you are not feeling good enough…

look for what is there, like a little bag of sidewalk chalk.

 

That is beauty. That is making a difference.

And we are going to keep doing it.

 

Planet Ark

ARKCOLLAGE

Our last summer service play group took place this past Tuesday! We had such a great time for all five weeks. I’m so thankful.

We read the story Planet Ark about how we can all be modern-day Noah’s through caring for our environment.

We were able to support seven families in Bangladesh in receiving a fruit tree seedling that will provide food and income through World Renew.

The kids made leaf creatures and were awesome at the nature scavenger hunt!

ARKCOLLAGE@

Next week I would like share about the groups more personally, but for today I’m so thankful they became a reality, for all the participants, support, and amazing difference makers! And… there will be more. Hopefully forever and forever.

About Proximity formed some wonderful partnerships and we will be moving to hold more events throughout the year with Jodi Baron of Grace Episcopal Church in Holland.

Please, join our facebook service play group page for details and opportunities!

We’d love your ideas and to partner with you. I really mean that! Partnerships are what make a difference in our world. Every story and everything we did was better because we worked together as a community!  aboutproximity@gmail.com

 

 

 

Planet Ark

mimi's village collage

Last week we read Mimi’s Village and talked about clean water, vaccinations, and global health care. We supported Shot@Life, a movement to protect children worldwide, by providing life-saving vaccines where they are most needed. We were able to support two children with a full vaccination set against polio, measles, diarrhea, and pneumonia. The kids were able to lift a jerry can partially full of water to get an idea of how heavy it is transport your own water.

We also had a stuffed animal vaccination clinic! Thank you Nurse Mackenzie, Nurse Ellie, Dr. Julie, and Dr. Rebecca for immunizing our favorite lovies!

mimi'svillage2collage

Our last summer play group is this Tuesday, July 14 at 6:00pm at Kollen Park in Holland!

We will be reading the book Planet Ark.

Bring along $1.00 if you are able for fruit tree seedlings for families in Bangladesh through World Renew. Your purchase of a fruit tree seedling helps a subsistence farm family improve their land and grow fruit to feed their family and to sell for income.

We will have a nature scavenger hunt, leaf creatures craft, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, inflatable world volleyball, and egg and spoon relays.PlanetArkPlayGroupWe have had so much fun, we hope to combine forces and continue play groups for the West Michigan area past this summer! Make sure to join our Service Play Group Facebook Page to get all the updates as we make a difference together as a community! I’d love to partner with you, contact me with ideas 🙂 aboutproximity@gmail.com

 

 

Mimi’s Village

REDBIKECOLLAGE

Last week we had a little group, but that didn’t stop us from making a big difference!

In a world were numbers are a big deal, we can be reminded that what you do does matter so very much.

We were able to read the story The Red Bicycle. The red bicycle began with a boy named Leo in the United States, then journeyed to Burkina Faso to Alisetta, who grew her family’s sorghum crop with its help. Later, a young woman named Haridata, used the bicycle as a clinic ambulance! We had our own bike parade to celebrate the power of one bike!

We were able with the help of Grace Episcopal Churchs’ Lent collection raise money for a bicycle through World Vision to help a girl have a safe pathway to education!

Mimi's Village Play Group

We hope you can come out to this week’s group!

We will be reading Mimi’s Village and talking about clean water and immunizations.

Remember to bring along a stuffed animal for our ‘immunization clinic’! We will also be participating in a water carrying relay, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, inflatable world volleyball, soccer, and a coloring page.

If you are able please bring along $1.00 to support Shot@Life. $20.00 protects a child in the developing world from pneumonia, polio, measles, and diarrhea. We also have five adult and 5 children’s t-shirts from Shot@Life to give away!

 

We have had so much fun, we hope to combine forces and continue play groups for the West Michigan area past this summer! Make sure to join our Service Play Group Facebook Page to get all the updates as we make a difference together as a community!

 

 

 

 

The Red Bike

Onehencollage

We had a great time last week at our second play group One Hen! We read the true story of Kojo and how a microloan led to a hen that changed the lives of a family, community, and country. We were able to take a trunkful of high-need supplies to Community Action House. I’m so thankful for all the families that have taken the time to come out to the park this summer. Above you can see a talented group of egg balancers!

So many sweet world changers.

TheRedBicyclePlayGroup

We really hope to see you this coming Tuesday evening, June 30 at 6:00 pm. (Kollen Park, on the east side of the public bathrooms.)

We will be reading The Red Bicycle about the journey of one red bike!

If you are able please bring $1.00 for World Vision USA to purchase bicycles for girls needing safe transportation to school!

Bring along a scooter, bike, skateboard, stroller! Anything with wheels! We’ll be having a bike parade around the upper sidewalk loop of Kollen Park.

After our Make Difference Bike Parade come over for play stations! Bubbles, sidewalk chalk, sack races, world volleyball, hula hoops, and a bicycle craft.

One Hen

if the world were a village collage

Last Tuesday evening, we held our first summer service play group! We were able to gather about 100 welcome kits for Holland Rescue Mission. We had super intelligent kids during the story If the World Were a Village, great helpers, and sweet families making a difference together. Wetfeet ACTS shared beautiful artwork about the book.

VILLAGE2

I’m so thankful to everyone for taking time from a busy summer evening to give back to our community. It made my heart so happy. Also, I am so thankful to everyone who helped and offered encouragement, projects like this take a village, just like we learned in the book!

OneHenHunger

I’m so excited for this week’s group, around the story One Hen.

Tuesday June 23: One Hen
6:00 PM at Kollen Park! (We are on the east side of the public bathrooms)

One Hen is the story of Kojo and the one hen that changed the future of an entire village. Join in on the egg and spoon relay race, farm animal puppets, sidewalk chalk, sack races, world volleyball, soccer, and bubbles.

We will be supporting Community Action House. Here are the items they shared with us that are high need. Items they continually run low or completely out of. Please bring an item or more if you are able!

Laundry Soap
Dish Soap
Bar Soap
Multipurpose Cleaners
Toilet Paper
Shampoo and Conditioner
Feminine Hygiene Items

We are so excited to see you!