A week ago, I submitted my rewrites for Kids Talk Justice. I wrote and edited like a madwoman for the twelve weeks of summer. Everywhere. It was the hardest work of my life. In the late hours of the night, I wrestled with words.
These topics are not easy, made more complicated by the difficulties facing our nation.
I expect the next round of edits to be equally hard. This is my promise and prayer, I will not give up.
Proximity is essential in our lives.
We need it now more than ever. So much has happened.
There is so much hurt and unkindness. So many fractures.
I promise to keep listening. Wrestling. Struggling. I would do it over again because sometimes the most important things are the hardest.
Like this photograph, sometimes the most important things are simple too.
Tuesday, July 25 from 6:30-7:30 pm at Benjamin’s Hope (located at 15468 Riley St.)
Benjamin’s Hope is a community where everyone belongs. The residents will be welcoming us to learn about the mission of Benjamin’s Hope, play lawn games, show us their garden and barn, and share popsicles.
This is a wonderful way for us to support adults with developmental disabilities and build community.
We can bless Benjamin’s Hope by bringing:
*Paper Products (toilet paper, paper towel, Kleenex)
*Simple Puzzles (50 pc. less)
*Coloring Books and Crayons
Tuesday, August 1 from 6:30-7:30 pm at Kollen Park (area east of the public restrooms)
The leaves in Michigan are beginning to make their descent to the ground, which means around the corner is snow… for now we will be thankful for every day of sunshine, warm breezes, and the ability to see green grass. Here are ideas for talking justice with your family.
I have piles of books, paper flying, ideas moving, so many prayers.
We have a Kids Talk Justice book coming! I’m so excited and terrified. I’m longing for Jesus to be close.
I know we feel that closeness most acutely in the voices of our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. I can’t wait to include those voices in the book! They are fantastically brilliant at this stuff and I want to hear from them as the pages take shape!
I will include their voices as sidebars throughout the book
and also in social media that encourages.
Everyone who participates will be entered to win a $25.00 gift card to Barnes and Noble. Any parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher or friend who recruits and helps a young person with the questionnaire will be entered to win a $25.00 Starbucks gift card. I’m looking for ages three through eighteen.
I will deliver, send to you via email with attached PDF, or mail with return envelop. Just let me know your preference for recieving the questionnaire! firstname.lastname@example.org
Beyond your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews etc… do you have a small group, classroom, or team that might like to contribute? We love all voices!
For the past year I have been in the humblest spaces. Places where no echoes, pathways turn into dead ends, and the silence is never-ending. Somehow in the midst of all those questions and rejection, God gave me the biggest surprise.
I am so excited to share this journey with you. So many of you have supported me from the very beginning. I could not be more thankful for your voices, hearts, and encouragement.
My heart is so happy to be writing something that means so much to me.
And I would love to ask for your voices!
Would you be willing to lend your voices? Here’s how you can help!
Help your kids answer the Kids Talk Justice Questionnaire! You can print it off in PDF, or let me know you are interested and I’ll get a copy to you! You can access them here: elementary/teen questions and young kids questions.
You can lend your voices with one simple question. How do you talk justice with your family?
Sign up for the Talk Justice quarterly newsletter for updates on the right side bar of the website or let me know and I’ll sign you up.
Here is my encouragement to you:
never give up- for God is able to do immeasurable more than we could ask or imagine.
Happy September and start to a new school year. Praying you feel the beauty of a changing season. Here are some talking points for your family to talk about justice together.
Loss and Hope: The children of 9-11 and what they can teach us. More than 3,000 children lost their parent that day. Their stories of loss and hope.
Refugees: I am Syria. A gentle, illustrated look at the reality of Syria and the needs of refugees. Perfect for children.
but in my heart I look ahead to the rebuilding of our cities.
Poverty:Landfill Harmonic a coming documentary about a recycled orchestra born out of a slum alongside a landfill in Cateura, Paraguay. Hope. Watch the trailer here. Ask the members of your family what they are thinking!
Kindness and Innovation: A teen the creates an app called Sit with Us, so no one has to sit alone in the cafeteria.
Our Global World: Follow the Out of Eden Walk from Paul Salopek, a reporter who has set out to retrace our ancestors global migration on foot. He will cover 21,000 miles. The photographs and stories are striking. Follow his travelogue together.
What happens when you become a war refugee? You walk.
Literacy and Education: Emma Watson interviews Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, authors of Half the Sky and A Path Appears.
The kids painted Olympic rings and completed an obstacle course. My parents prepared Olympic gold medals for all our participants.
We were able to support Kids’ Food Basket by decorating one hundred lunch sacks, Holland Rescue Mission with a trunk load of clothing, and $31.00 to The Flint Water Fund. As hard as it is to believe, people in the state Michigan are still struggling to have clean water. It’s a great reminder that when initial news stories die down, there are still people living in that reality.
Refugees: Displaced people now surpass 60 million. One in every 113 people have been driven from their home due to violence, persecution, or human rights violations. What do your kids think of that number? Where should those families go?
Girls: #LeanInTogether is a new initiative to encourage leadership in girls. When women support one another great things happen.
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.