#TalkJustice

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!

If the World Were a Village

door-rustic-large

Two and a half days of school left for us. After another year, I know how important it is to love- beyond what you feel, others response, the deepest challenges- you don’t let go. You refuse to break. Jesus asks it of us and we have a beautiful life when we can do our best to give that love others. A very beautiful life.

For the next five weeks it’ll be about Summer Serve Play Groups! I’ll share the upcoming play group details, and later in the week share photographs from our evening together. We begin next week, but I’ll start now and leave this one up a little longer.

 

Here is the post with printable PDFs for all the groups.

Join the Facebook Event Page here.

Do you have kids 10 and up that might like to serve by helping with a play station for the younger kids? Sign up here. 

 

We are so excited to meet you all and join together in community to learn and make a difference together! I’ve been waking in the early morning hours, which means a little bit of nervous and also a chance to pray for God to establish our work.

iftheworldwereavillage

Our first group is June 16 at 6:00 pm at Kollen Park in Holland. (Parking in the Kollen Park lots and the streets surrounding.) If rains happens (don’t happen) I’ll let you know on the Facebook Event Page by 5:00 if we’ll go ahead or need to cancel.

We will be reading portions of If the World Were a Village from CitizenKid Books.

Here is a Printable PDF of If the World Were a Village group.

We will be welcoming the kids of ACTs to share art from the book! Our play stations will be a coloring page, bubbles, world volleyball, soccer, sidewalk chalk, and sack races.

 

We would love for families to contribute to our serve project supporting the local ministry of Holland Rescue Mission. The mission’s volunteer director shared these ideas. This is a great opportunity to talk to your kids about need in the community and how we can respond, while gathering supplies together. You can work together with another family to bring a donation too! Just bring it along and we will gather them all together for the mission.

Ideas for Kid Kits for the Holland Rescue Mission:

Rescue Mission Welcome Kit:

  • travel size shampoo, soap, and lotion
  • kids size toothpaste and toothbrush
  • small comb
  • small crayon pack and small pad of paper
  • sippy cup, or kid-size cup with top and straw
  • bedtime story book
  • stuffed animal (beanie boo or beanie baby sized)
  • Packaged in a bag
  • Include a welcome card with each kit (hand-drawn picture)

Birthday Kit:

  • Balloons
  • Birthday Candles
  • Cake Mix
  • Frosting
  • Gift Wrap
  • Small Childrens Toy or Book
  • Packaged into a bag

Stepping Stone Daycare and Rock Day Camp:

Snack Kit:

  • Granola Bar
  • Fruit Snack
  • Pre-Packaged Cracker Pack (Goldfish, Cheez-Its)
  • All Packaged together in a large sized Zip-Loc bag

Daycare Kit:

  • Puffs Tissues
  • WetOnes
  • ColorWonder Paper and Marker Supplies

Email me with any questions! aboutproximity@gmail.com

For all those not in Holland, hold tight… my hope is for this to be a full resource for families and groups to use in the future. So thankful for all of you!

Summer!

voilet in jar

We are on an eleven and a half day countdown until the end of school! June 10 (pending survival on field day.)

Exciting opportunities are coming this summer…

 

Questions about the Holland Summer Serve Play Groups? Click here! 

summer camp

About Proximity is joining kindness experts and host Sheila of Pennies of Time for Virtual Kindness Summer Camp.

This is a Facebook Group where great conversation will take place and lots of ideas will be shared about serving with our kids. About Proximity is sharing Talk Justice Play Groups.

We’d love to have you join in. Click here and request to be a part of the group.

 

I love that summer changes speed, and the space it makes for friends and family.

I love the bike riding, beach hanging, ice cream, and the kids Nerf squirt gun fights.

(The only thing I don’t love is our neighborhoods love affair with fireworks. All DAY and ALL NIGHT, yet only legal the day before, of, and after the ten federal holidays.)

I love being able to sit at my desk in my office/guest bedroom/kids creation zone and write. I will be working on two big projects this summer. They have been wake up at 4:00 a.m. freak-out projects, but I know that God is bigger then my fears.

  • Finishing up Changed for Life, a curriculum about entering into short-term missions as a long-term partnership, with respect and humility for the work already occurring in the host community. (I’ve been a co-writer on this project for some time, and I am so excited to see it moving to completion.)
  • 88 Playgroups that Make a Difference: Helping Children Engage Justice Issues that Really Matter. You can pray with me that this project might become more than a document on my laptop.

Also, I should clean my house.

Mostly, I share these things because I want to know what you are doing this summer! What are your plans, fun activities, the ways you are going to slow down, projects? What you are most excited about? 

 

 

 

Summer Serve Play Groups

playgroup dates

About Proximity is so excited to host Summer Service Play Groups in Holland, Michigan!

Let’s come out to make a difference as a community with our families.

 

Here is our Facebook Event Page. 

 

Printable PDFs to share with others. Included are the service opportunities for each week and all the activities we have planned! 

Summer Serve Play Group Schedule Summer 2015

June16: If the World Were a Village

iftheworldwereavillage

June 23: One Hen

OneHenHungerJune 30: The Red Bicycle

TheRedBicyclePlayGroup

July 7: Mimi’s Village

Mimi's Village Play Group

July 14: Planet Ark 

PlanetArkPlayGroup

Serve Projects: 

Bringing donations is completely optional! Even if you are unable to participate in the donation part of the service project, still come out to the play group! We’ll learn together and have fun. We want everyone to feel welcome. Click on the printable PDFs to see what we are gathering for each week.

A few ideas:

  • When shopping for donations for Holland Rescue Mission and Community Action House involve your kids. It’s a great opportunity to talk to them about needs families might have and what items can be a support and encouragement.
  • When bringing $1.00 donation for Shot@Life, World Vision, and World Renew encourage your kids to earn the money by doing a small job around the house, helping will feel even more meaningful to them.

 

Want to learn more about the organizations we are supporting? 

Holland Rescue Mission

Community Action House

Shot@Life

World Vision

World Renew 

All our stories are donated by Citizen Kid Books.  

 

We can’t wait to see you this summer! 

Questions? 

Email: Lisa Van Engen at aboutproximity@gmail.com 

 

 

 

#TalkJustice: Race

talkjustice

Race. Not an easy topic.

Walls shot up immediately. Emotions high.

How can we talk about race in our families? Do just that… Talk. Learn. Listen. We would do well to humble ourselves and open up dialogue. Expose our kids to people from different parts of world, different cultures, different skin colors. Our lives grow wider and richer. Help them remember history and why hurt remain for cultures and groups of people. Listen.

Discussion Starters:

race conversation starters

Help Your Family Go Deeper: 

  • What is privilege?
  • Are there certain groups with advantages or disadvantages?
  • Why do you think race is such an uncomfortable conversation?
  • How can we do more listening?
  • Can prejudices go both ways?
  • Are some places or activities still very much segregated?
  • How are race and class connected?
  • How would it feel to carry a history of slavery as a people?
  • When you are judged on appearance how does it feel?
  • How do different cultures deepen our lives?
  • How can you respect people even when they don’t do things the same as you do?
  • What is a stereotype? How easy is it to move beyond a stereotype?
  • Do we tend to lump people together in groups without sifting out their unique qualities?
  • How often do you describe someone by their race or culture?
  • How often do you see people with different skin colors in television, movies, books?
  • How can you expand your global consciousness?
  • How honest are we about history? Are we honest about how that effects present day? Are we honest that we still have a long way to go?
  • If God created us all equally, should anyone be treated differently because of the color of their skin? or where they came from?
  • Is race a challenge everywhere in the world? Are there inequalities everywhere in the world?

Kids books about Diversity and Race

kids books about race

Lee and Low Books (a multi cultural publisher)

The Colors of Us by Karen Katz

Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester

What We Wear by Maya Ajmera

Delivering Justice by Jim Haskins

Same Same but Different by: Jenni Sue Koseckti-Shaw

I Lay My Stitches Down by: Cynthia Grady

21 Ways to Take Action

A Twitter Race list to follow.

Follow our About Proximity #TalkJustice Pinterest Board.

#TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. Invite friends! We will be exploring topics and making a difference in community, using a series of books donated to us from CitizenKid. Hosted by About Proximity (that’s me) and my Mom, a public school family advocate for two decades.

How can we listen more and talk less? 

#TalkJustice Health Care

talkjustice

Kids #TalkJustice Access to Health Care

Access to health care is an issue that really affects everyone. Even when families have insurance they may lack funds for co-pays, or still be in need of secondary services like vision, dental, and specialists. Beyond debates, because there is probably no country that has found the one-hundred percent correct answer to access, how can we understand and support access to health care in our communities and globally. Globally the situation is even more desperate as access to the simplest care is out of reach for many.

Health Care Discussion Starters:

health care conversation starters

Help your family go deeper:

  • The cost of health care is staggering… who can you help with this burden? Do you know families you can support?
  • Discuss specific illnesses with children. Help them understand what might go into care, what special equipment you might need, how often you might have to visit the doctor.
  • Talk about parts of world where you might have to walk miles and miles to get to a health clinic. If you are bringing a sick family member what challenges might that bring?
  • Talk about needing glasses, but having no way to acquire them.
  • In disasters how important is health care? What things change in moments of crisis?
  • What might be different about doctors offices around the world?
  • The disease of malaria can be prevented by a simple bed net, yet many do not have access to that. What other sicknesses might be prevented by something simple (clean water, sanitation, clinics.)
  • Do you have a free health clinic in your area? Is there anyway you can support their efforts?
  • How can your family take care of its own health?
  • How do you think health care where you live compares to other places around the world?
  • How can you support efforts to help people have access to health care?
  • Do you think this might be an important cause for communities to think about?
  • If you know someone going through an illness or has a chronic illness how could you support their family? How could you support a classmate?
  • Talk about root causes of heath care disparities: race, local resources, location in the world, poverty, immigrant or refugee, women in parts of the world.

Kids Books about Health Care:

books about health careI Lost my Tooth in Africa by: Penda Diakite

Mimi’s Village By: Katie Smith Milway

Nest By: Esther Ehrlich

The Lemonade Club By: Patricia Polacco

The Fault in our Stars By: John Greene

The Heaven Shop By: Deborah Ellis

16 Ways to take Action: 

immuzation banner

A Health Care Twitter list to follow.

Follow our About Proximity #TalkJustice Pinterest Board.

#TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. Invite friends! We will be exploring topics and making a difference in community, using a series of books donated to us from CitizenKid. Hosted by About Proximity (that’s me) and my Mom, a public school family advocate for two decades.

What are your thoughts? 

 

 

#TalkJustice: Creation Care

talkjustice

Kids #TalkJustice Creation Care

Recycling, using energy efficient light bulbs, saving endangered species. Kids are pretty good at protecting the environment. How can our families dig deeper, see the big picture of caring for God’s creation, and strengthen our impact? It is important for our kids to know our consumption habits effect the world around us. The environment is a facet of our lives that really connects us globally to the rest of the world. We have a responsibility to care for what God created.

Creation Care Discussion Starters:

creation care conversation starters

Help your family go deeper: 

  • Could you add a new habit each month this year?
  • What about the drought in California? How could we be proactive even if we don’t live there?
  • If we don’t care for the environment now, how might that effect our future?
  • Could your habits effect someone in China?
  • How can we reuse things?
  • What things do we buy local? Is there anything we could add?
  • Do our efforts make a difference? How could we share what we do to help others contribute too?
  • Does our church have any green habits? Could we begin any?
  • Does our school have any green habits? Could we begin any?
  • Are there any local projects we could get involved in?
  • Do we support our local farmer’s market?
  • Are there any global projects that protect the environment we can be involved in?

Kids Books about Creation Care:

earth day

The Curious Garden, Compost Stew, Curious George Plants a Tree, Michael Recycle, The Magic School Bus Climate Challenge, Fancy Nancy Earth Day is Everyday, Biscuits Earth Day Celebration, and Gabby and Grandma Go Green.  

 

 

 

19 Ways to take Action: 

 

A creation care twitter list to follow.

Follow our About Proximity #TalkJustice Pinterest Board.

#TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. Invite friends! We will be exploring topics and making a difference in community, using a series of books donated to us from CitizenKid. Hosted by About Proximity (that’s me) and my Mom, a public school family advocate for two decades.

What is your family’s best green tip? We’d love to hear about it! 

 

 

 

#Talk Justice: Human Trafficking

talkjustice

Kids #TalkJustice Human Trafficking

The topic of human trafficking can be a difficult one to breach with children. You definitely want to be sensitive to age and personalities. This topic is actually where this series originated. My friend and writer Amy Sullivan had an experience when this topic was brought up in a classroom. Not everyone was as open to their students knowing about the realities around them.

Amy and I were talking about how we believe we do no favors to our children if they do not understand injustice. In opening up dialogue we develop empathy, compassion, and the ability to make a difference.

Increasing their awareness also makes them safer. A sad truth is that child labor and sex trafficking don’t just happen across the ocean. It is happening in our own communities. Take a look at this United States map from Polaris Project showing locations where human trafficking has been reported. According to Exodus Road 3 out of 4 victims are trafficked on-line.

Start small and work your way to all the truths we encounter as your children’s age progresses. You can begin teaching young kids about the history of slavery, human rights and child labor.

Human Trafficking Discussion Starters:

human trafficking conversation starters

Help your family go deeper: 

  • What are some root causes of human trafficking?
  • poverty- parents needing to pay off debts, not being able to afford to care for children
  • gender inequality where women are not as valued
  • racial discrimination, caste system where some lives are not as important as others
  • government or political corruption where the laws do not protect
  • undocumented immigration status
  • demand for cheap goods and labor
  • Where is there more vulnerability? 
  • drug and alcohol addiction
  • homelessness, runaways, abuse
  • women and girls
  • those affected by poverty
  • How do our choices of what we buy affect the demand for child labor?
  • What organizations could we support that focus on human trafficking?
  • What do we need to do as a family to be safe on the internet?

 Ways to Take Action! 

For parents the National Trafficking Hotline: 1.888.3737.888

human trafficking Twitter List to follow

Follow our About Proximity #TalkJustice Pinterest Board.

#TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. Invite friends! We will be exploring topics and making a difference in community, using a series of books donated to us from CitizenKid. Hosted by About Proximity (that’s me) and my Mom, a public school family advocate for two decades.

 

#TalkJustice Immigration

talkjustice

Kids #TalkJustice Immigration

In the United States immigration is a polarizing issue. My family has lived very close to it through Kris’ work with the Office of Social Justice. No matter where your opinion lies, understanding and looking at the big picture of global immigration is eye-opening.

Start by talking through your own ancestors journey to the United States, Canada or wherever you call home. Most likely, there is a story there. The story probably mirrors the story of immigrants today seeking a better life for their families.

fence

Talk about Jesus’ clear call to welcome the stranger in our midst. You will be pretty amazed at kids ability to grasp this one. I see it everyday play out in our school with a large immigrant population. When Kris brings home pictures from the border or teaching aides, our kids stare at them with surprise. They ask with wonder, “there is really a wall like that?”

That is why we talk justice, to assure them that their childlike hearts are pretty perfect the way they are.

Immigration Discussion Starters:

immigrationCS

Help your family go deeper: 

  • Talk about root causes of immigration-
  • looking for jobs to provide for their families
  • to be re-united with family
  • fleeing violence, gangs, war
  • religious or ethnic persecution
  • Does America use immigrant labor? Do we use low-skilled workers to do jobs not many others choose to do?
  • What might happen to our food sources if their was no farm labor?
  • How do you feel about a wall separating two nations?
  • Some families wait 15-20 years for a green card to see their families. What do you think of this time period?
  • What if you found out as a teenager that you were not a legal citizen, but had lived in the United States most of your life?
  • Some families live in constant fear of separation- how might this effect your family?
  • Would you hope others might change laws that this is not a reality anymore?
  • How can you welcome immigrants in your community?
  • How can you honor culture and traditions that are not your own?
  • How can you reach out to students in your school that are new immigrants?

Kids Books about Immigration: 

Immigration BooksHarvesting Hope by: Kathleen Krull

Brothers in Hope by: Mary Williams

One Green Apple by: Eve Bunting

Waiting for Papa’ by: Renee Colato Lainez

The Colour of Home by: Mary Hoffman

The Name Jar by: Yangsook Choi

Inside Out and Back Again by: Thannha Lai

Migrant by: Maxine Trattier

From North to South by: Rene Colato Lainez

My Diary From Here to There by: Amada Irma Perez

Goodbye 382 Shin Dang Dong by: Frances Park

 

14 Ways to Take Action! 

An immigration Twitter List to follow

Follow our About Proximity #TalkJustice Pinterest Board.

#TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. Invite friends! We will be exploring topics and making a difference in community, using a series of books donated to us from CitizenKid. Hosted by About Proximity (that’s me) and my Mom, a public school family advocate for two decades.

What is your families immigrant story? How has someone from another culture deepened your life? What does welcoming the stranger mean to you?  

#TalkJustice Disabilities

talkjustice

Kids #TalkJustice Disabilities 

With all our #TalkJustice topics exposure and education goes such a long way in our kids growth in empathy, awareness and action. Talking about disabilities helps kids with familiarity, comfort level and response to those they encounter.

Expose your kids to different kinds of disabilities. The following are good examples to begin with…

Physical: Asthma, Blindness, Cerebral Palsy, Deafness, Diabetes, Down’s Syndrome, Epilepsy, Facial Disfigurement, Hearing Impairments, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Tourette’s Syndrome,

Cognitive: ADHD, Aspergers, Autism, Cognitive Impairments, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Learning Disabilities, Speech Impediments,

Emotional: Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Eating Disorders, Self-Harming

Remind your kids that we all face challenging obstacles in our lives. Encourage kids to understand that those with disabilities are not so different than themselves. Kids with disabilities typically do not want to be treated differently. It is usually all right to start a friendly conversation. Most kids don’t mind answering questions from peers about why they have leg braces or hearing aides. If classmates are experiencing difficulties with more unseen disabilities challenge your kids to remember that not every disability is visible.

The beautiful line from the new Cinderella movie was HAVE COURAGE. BE KIND

Wonder challenged us to #ChooseKind. I’ve spend a lot of time in my grown-up life working as a special education paraprofessional. Kids have really big hearts. Sometimes their acts of kindness to their classmates floors me. They are good at disabilities. We just have to make sure they fully understand how important choosing kind is.

wonder_socialmediaimage_2

Kids with disabilities may be at risk for bullying or feeling alone. Help your kids to learn how to always #ChooseKid, as so beautifully express to us in the book Wonder. Invite kids with disabilities to parties, playdates and outings. Kids are amazingly resilient, they don’t want to be seen as not capable. Challenge your kids to see the whole person. The disability is just a small part of who they are, it does not define them. 

Disability Discussion Starters:

disability conversation starters

Help your family go deeper: 

  • Do we all learn the same? Are some subjects harder for others?
  • What is everyone called you the ‘brown haired girl’ is that the only thing that defines you? Do labels describe a whole person?
  • Many people who have disabilities have grown up to be famous artists, writers, athletes and really anything you could dream of.
  • Do you think kids with disabilities might develop some amazing strengths? Courage? Perseverance? Compassion for others?
  • What would be easier or harder about having a visible disability vs. a hidden disability?
  • Do you think all societies treat people with disabilities equally?
  • How could your family support someone with a disability?
  • When you encounter someone with a disability could place yourself in their shoes? How might your reaction change?

 

DisabilitybooksKids Books about Disabilities:

 

18 Ways to Take Action!  

A Disability Twitter List to Follow

Follow our About Proximity #TalkJustice Pinterest Board.

#TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. Invite friends! We will be exploring topics and making a difference in community, using a series of books donated to us from CitizenKid. Hosted by About Proximity (that’s me) and my Mom, a public school family advocate for two decades.

What have kids taught you about disabilities?