Happy May! I have a son turning nine years old this month. My daughter and I completed three days of sixth grade camp- I had sore legs and a happy heart. Our niece will graduate high school in Northwest Iowa. School will continue on until June 14- so we have to be a little patient yet for summer break…
Acts Holland is a family. A place for kids to be embraced, equipped, and empowered.
We will be supporting Jaime Blom and Acts this summer! Last year, they shared their thoughtful art with us and this year we get to give back to them! Follow their work on Facebook here.
Read a book, create art, and play. Give back by bringing: List coming soon!
Hope Pkgs is a community based ministry that provides first night bags to kids entering the foster care system. There are approximately 220- 350 kids in foster care in Ottawa County at any given time. These bags provide hope, comfort and meet tangible needs.
We will be supporting Lisa Hoeve and Hope Pkgs this summer! Follow the work of Hope Pkgs on Facebook.
Every child is so special! We can’t wait to celebrate kids by sharing a story, making a fabric prayer bookmark, playing with parachutes, celebration play doh and more. Your family can give back by bringing a first night bag to donate, or joining with another family to put together a bag to bring.
Event 2: Holland Rescue Mission Clothing Drive- Donate your used clothing to be sold in the Rescue Mission Thrift Store. Did you know you can also donate clothing that can’t be reused to wear? They also recycle textiles and receive the profits.
Event 3: Bring a dollar to support the Flint Water Fund distributed by United Way.
We’ll be sharing a story about peace, participating in an Olympic obstacle course, making olympic ring pictures and having an Olympic flag scavenger hunt. Give back through our three featured events and receive your service medal.
We hope to see you at Kollen Park this summer! Let’s make a difference and serve locally!
Wondering what Talk Justice Events are like? Look at pictures of our past events here.
All ages are welcome! We love it when older children help at stations too.
I’d love to answer any of your questions! firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy April! Spring! We love its arrival in Michigan.
#TalkJustice with your family this month. Here are some great resources and discussion starters to use.
Spring Cleaning: Don’t forget that your donations to Goodwill or other non-profits create jobs! April 2, Uber and Goodwill partnered in some cities to pick up donations. What other organizations would you love to see work together?
Mental Health: The public library often offers a haven to homeless populations. Learn how the San Francisco Public Library is offering mental health services on-site.
Prison System: A jail where inmates and abandoned animals find a second-chance. I bet kids would have some wonderful insights after looking at the photographs.
Refugees: Greek residents of the island of Lesbos are being recognized for their efforts to help refugees. I love their straight forward quotes on the issue. “we are monsters if we don’t do this– why should we be given a prize for being human beings?”
Disability: From Christianity Today how her son’s autism changed one Mom’s church. How can we extend welcome?
Hunger: Food goes to waste while people are hungry. Some countries are trying to change that. What do you think?
Thinking outside the box:A laundromat owner washed the clothing and bedding of families at a homeless shelter during Easter week. A small gift that saved money, time, and offered dignity to families.
Sports and Development: Read about how sports can be a powerful development tool. Ask your kids what they have learned on sports teams or playing games with friends. I am looking forward to the world coming together for the Olympics this summer.
Global Education: Preschool teacher Davinia James raises money for Girl Rising and global education by collecting pennies. Even the smallest offering can make a huge difference!
Earth Day, April 22, 2016: In honor of Earth Day pick a short movie from the Story of Stuff to watch with your family.
Finally, I am so excited to reveal some great #TalkJustice events coming this summer. Check back next week to see how we can partner together to make a difference!
While you are waiting for spring to arrive #TalkJustice together!
March Madness: Fill out a charity bracket with your family! Win up to 100,000 for the charity of your choice. Such a fun idea! Shelterbox: Learn about ShelterBox together. What started out as a Rotary Project for disaster relief in England has expanded globally. Each ShelterBox includes a relief tent, thermal blankets, groundsheet, water storage and purification equipment, solar lamps, cooking utensils, a basic toolkit, mosquito nets, and a children’s activity pack.
@ShelterBox, Photographer: Rebecca Novell
Sacrifice: Read this article about a couple who foregoes their dream boat to pay for the college tuition of an entire kindergarten class. Talk about the difference between needs and a wants. What could your family sacrifice that might make a difference to someone else?
Dignity: A soup kitchen disguised like a restaurant offers dignity to the homeless in Kansas City. Read the article and talk about how they are building community, treating others with dignity, and offering hope.
Clean Water: 10 things women and girls could be doing instead of collecting clean water from ONE.
Breaking Down Myths: SNAP benefits are not always enough to keep families in need fed. 1/3 of families using SNAP still have to visit food pantries to bridge gaps. Talk about hunger and stereotypes to accepting assistance.
Food Waste: Sign a pledge as a family to curb food waste with Feeding America.
How do we #TalkJustice with our kids during this election year?
These are the things I want my kids to know and understand.
Voting. I remember walking into the voting booths of my small town and helping slide the heavy curtain shut. Voting is important. The definition of suffrage is the right to vote in political elections. Suffrage sounds an awful lot like the word suffer. People suffered to ensure our right to be heard. When you cast your vote take your kids along.
Respect. No one wants to feel stupid for their opinions. If we disagree with one another, and we will, how can we engage in love? Can we disagree and still respect one another? Yes, conflict is uncomfortable, no one really loves it, but there are ways to approach disagreement in love.
No one is perfect. We are not perfect people. Our political candidates will not be either. They have made past mistakes. They will make future mistakes. No one person can please everyone in the country. No one can change everything for the better.
Think for yourself. Maybe you identify with Republicans or Democrats, but that doesn’t mean you can’t think for yourself too. Read from various news sources. Be an independent thinker. Consider both points of view.
Kindness is still important. I can’t imagine a Jesus who steamrolled others to get to the top. He became nothing, that we might have life. Name calling. Exclusion. Rudeness. Demeaning the work of others. We teach our children not to do it, nor should we for any reason.
Standing in the Gap. In seventh grade social studies we are currently learning about the beginning of our nation and the constitution. The argument concerning the amount the government should be involved in our lives started hundreds of years ago. There are no easy answers, but if a safety net of assistance is removed or lessened, someone needs to stand in the gap. I would love that to be the church. Statistics show that 5% of adults in the United States tithe. This is an article from Relevant What Would Happen if the Church Tithed?
Open Hands. I try to remember that Jesus met others with open hands. He didn’t protect himself, even from death. I want to open my hands like Jesus did. He didn’t judge, build walls, or only pick privileged and powerful. He denied convention and associated with those that were considered sinners.
The Fear of Different. There is a certain candidate in this election that has not been kind to a majority of the American people. Numerous times people have said they support him because, he says what everything is thinking, but just doesn’t say. If this is the truth, we need to be honest that there is underlying fear and hatred for what is different. I work at, and my kids attend a diverse school. Most of our communities are diverse and our schools reflect this. Ethnically. Religiously. Socio-economically. When we talk about slavery, civil-rights and suffrage, the kids are surprised and saddened. They don’t necessarily understand a world where these things occurred. They are our example right now. Different can coexist. Different does not lessen our beliefs. Different does not threaten our well-being.
Refining. When Kris was in seminary we job shared. Being married and working together is a careful balance. We did not always agree. Honestly, we argued a fair amount. We would lay it all out and then construct our best ideas back together. What we ended up with was always so much better than what we could have came up with individually. We need leaders that will listen to one another. We need leaders that will work together. We need leaders that are humble enough to be refined by others.
Honesty. There are Christians that are Republican. There are Christians that are Democrats. This stuff is not easy. Look at world history. We have not been kind to one another whether publicly or in our heads. I work with kids all day. Our kids hear us. They repeat what we say. They see your memes. Hear your laughter. They are fiercely loyal. What do you want them to hear?
Pray. That we might all have courage and be kind.
What do you most want your kids to know this year?
Serve together by using our voices in a photo booth to share how immigrants have blessed you.
Read The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi about new Korean immigrant Unhei. As she decides on a new name, she finds her classmates eager to help her transition to America. Friendship opens the door for her to embrace her Korean identity.
Participate in play stations-
crafting- with stencils and passport stickers and world coloring pages
an old-fashioned Ellis Island simulation
immigration timeline walk from The Church Between Borders
take a citizenship quiz
world landmark sensory tub
play doh with letters to make your name
who is my neighbor Instagram interactive art.
what would you pack? station
Immigration Family History Handout
Ways to get involved in the Blessing Not Burden Campaign
All Ages Welcome! Zeeland Christian School is located at 334 W. Central Ave. Zeeland, MI.
Keep updated at the Facebook Event Page. Email me at email@example.com if you would like to receive email updates about what is new with #TalkJustice playgroups. Exciting things are happening this coming year! And I would love you, your families, and your wise voices to be a part of it.
As we gather to read the Christmas story this season, remember that Jesus was a refugee. Consider changing the conversation at Blessing Not Burden. If you are in the Holland area attend our playgroup coming this January (facebook event page). For older kids download the app My Life As A Refugee to open up the conversation.
Holiday Kindness Toolkit
A mega list of holiday kindness ideas from Pennies of Time. Including, our kindness options for Elf on a Shelf.
Our monthly #TalkJustice as a family usually shares ten ideas. This month we will stick with five, so you can spend lots of time doing our last idea…
The perfect way to make a difference this season is to just simply slow down with your family.
If all we are is noise and busy, we leave no space to notice, where we might love.
What will you be taking notice of this holiday season?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.