families making a difference

Talk Justice Together November 2017

Happy November!

A month to pause and take time to talk justice together in thanksgiving for all that is hopeful in our world.

Poverty: Tools for childhood trauma from Sesame Street. A new video series gives children tools for dealing with traumatic experiences whether a natural disaster or abuse, neglect, mental illness or poverty.

Poverty: When a kindergartener secures milk for her entire classroom. #bethechange

Clean Water: 11-year-old Gitanjali Rao invents a better, faster way to test lead levels in drinking water in response to the Flint Water Crisis. Dream big.

Refugees: A Doctors Without Borders exhibit called “Flee from Home” uses virtual reality and 360-degree video to share the story of refugees. A Syrian artist and architect build dioramas out of suitcases to bring awareness to the homes refugees leave behind.

Health Care: A National Geographic Report on the importance of vaccinations for developing nations.

Creation Care: Have you ever wondered how climate change actually affects people? Learn about how climate change impacts women and girls on the island of Fiji. Take time to view these stunning photographs of how climate change affects families around the world.

Access to Education: Lal Chandra Pandey started a rebellion to stop child marriage and open up access to education for girls like herself in Nepal.

Hunger: Food insecurity and health. 

Disability: How Ikea is opening up inclusive play for children around the world with their campaign “Let’s Play for Change.”

Clean Water and Sanitation: Did you know November 19 is World Toilet Day? 

As you plan your Christmas shopping don’t forget November 28, 2017, is Giving Tuesday!

What did your family talk about this month? We can’t wait to hear your insights! 

 

Talk Justice Together October 2017 Edition

Happy Fall! Here are ten ways to talk justice together this month:

Electricity: The difference something as small as electricity makes.

Hunger: Eliminating food deserts with the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network.

Hunger: Using coalitions, strategy, and thoughtfulness to bridge the hunger gap in NYC with culturally appropriate foods. What do you think of these innovative ideas?

Climate: Seventeen questions and answers worth a read. Learn more about the changing climate and creation care.

Education and Girls: Thanks for this great find Amy Sullivan! An eight-year-old entomologist– with access to education we can all reach our dreams!

Disability: A theme park designed for people with disabilities. Gordon Hartman created the “world’s first ultra-accessible theme park” for his daughter Morgan. What parts of the theme park stand out to you?

Refugees: Thirty-seven photographs of the refugee crisis. The most striking part? These are from a 2015 article… they could just as well be from 2017. The refugee crisis stretches on with further suffering. How can we make a difference?

Literacy: The Echo Refugee Library– a mini-van bringing access to the displaced.

Film: Three documentaries that will change the way your children see the world. Have you watched any with your family?

Race: A photographer recreates the 1,400-mile route along the Underground Railroad. Through Darkness to Light. 

How will your family Talk Justice this October? 

#TalkJustice Together October Edition

 

talkjusticetogetherOCT

#BlessingnotBurden

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.

#blessingnotburden

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!

Creation Care

Sit down together and look through the images in the article What Humans are Really Doing to the Environment. Ask about their thoughts on the photographs.

#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.

Global Education

Watch the movie trailer He 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.

malala

Read

My Teen Daughter Asked for 17,000 Pairs of Shoes: Why I said Yes about the foster care system and the basic needs of children. When we pause long enough to take statistics in; we realize how much we have, and how much we have to give.

Trick or Treat

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.

Hunger

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.

What are you all up to this month?

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

 

 

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.

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 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? 

 

 

Talk Justice: Hunger

talkjusticeTalk Justice: Hunger

Hunger is something most kids will understand. Everyone can relate the feeling of a hungry tummy from time to time. We can broaden our kids understanding of true hunger by helping them learn about the people around the world that feel those tummy rumbles and don’t have access to a snack or meal like most of us do.

TalkHunger ConversationHelp your family go deeper:

  • If you didn’t have dinner would it be hard to sleep that night?
  • If you didn’t have breakfast would you have trouble concentrating in school?
  • How would you feel if you didn’t have a lunch to bring to school?
  • If you had a week where there wasn’t much food at home, would you begin to feel worried about having enough?

Talk about root causes of hunger:

  • wars
  • disasters
  • climate change
  • famine and floods
  • joblessness
  • rising food costs
  • poverty
  • inequality

Help older children understand common misconceptions about hunger:

  • WIC in the United States helps with supplementing woman, infants and children, school lunch programs, school breakfast programs, and summer lunch programs.
  • SNAP Myths and general information.

Whenever we talk to our kids about justice issues we can be positive, because there are so many ways we can help! Even though the topics can be heavy, we can make a difference, and that’s something to be excited about!

hunger booksKids Books About Hunger 

The Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by: Peter Menzel

Beatrice’s Goat by: Paige McBriar with Heifer International

One Hen by: Katie Smith Milway

The Good Garden by: Katie Smith Milway

 

21 Ways to Take Action!

We have a new Pinterest board called Kids #TalkJustice where I will be pinning many of the resources featured in this series.

Do you twitter? Here is a Hunger List to follow.

I really hope to hear from you all week long! Tell us about your conversations! What resources did you try? What did your kids teach you? 

Next Week… Clean Water and Summer Justice Play Groups.

Halloween with a Cause

Halloween with a cause! I like the sound of that!

UNICEF has raised over $167 million dollars for children in 190 countries. They apply these funds for health-care, immunizations, clean water, sanitation, nutrition, education, and emergency relief.

Follow UNICEF on pinterest. (Another great excuse to pin away!)

You can order your trick-or-treat box from the UNICEF website.

I would like to provide some ideas for those of you that do not go door-to-door for trick-or-treating.

  • Order a trick or treat box and keep it a prominent place in your house (dining room table) for the month of October. Collect all your loose change in the box. When the month of October is done, send your donation in to UNICEF. The spooky holiday of Halloween just gained new meaning for your family.
  • Order a box and collect coins for the month of October with any group your child belongs to.
  • Having a UNICEF trick-or-treat box set up at church or your church’s trunk-or-treat is a great idea too.
  • Bring UNICEF trick-or-treat to your school.
  • Host a UNICEF trick-or-treat party! Here is a great toolkit to get you started.

Here is the UNICEF trick-or-treat resource page.

Here is a UNICEF trick-or-treat October calendar with tons of great ideas!

Have fun family time; dressing up, sharing treats, and making a difference!