Kids talk justice

Talk Justice Together October Edition

octleaf

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.

Poverty: We should be talking about it. 3 TVs and No Food: Growing up Poor in America.

Literacy: Barbershop reading.

Education and Technology: Bicycles bringing the internet to rural India. 

Forgiveness: An Amish community and radical forgiveness. 

Creation Care: Urban Gardens and in Paris! 

War: Artist Rania Matar photographs the children of war in Yemen.

Health Care: Umra Omar bringing health care to coastal communities marked with conflict via boat.

Prayer: Litany for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church 

Disability: Wheelchair costumes that are epic. 

Hunger: What about this creative solution to hunger? Paying for parking tickets with food pantry items. Found by our friend Diane Harvey straight from Australia.

What is your family talking about? 

 

 

 

 

Your Voices

picmonkey-image

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! aboutproximity@gmail.com

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!

Thank you so much for being a part of this work.

books-1

Never Give Up

img_7219-1

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.

We have signed a contract with Kregel Publications for a book about Kids Talking Justice!

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!

questionaire

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.

 

Talk Justice Together September Edition

tj-sept

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.

School to Prison Pipeline: When School Feels Like Prison. What do your kids think? How would they feel?

Clean Water: What do your kids think of WarkaWater Towers in Ethiopia?

Hunger: Watch this powerful 30 second short from Feeding America called Empty Plates. 

Refugees: Photo series of refugee fathers. Humanity.

month

 

 

 

 

 

Olympic Spirit!

I love the Olympics!

This year the Olympic Refugee Team warms my heart.

OLMPICcollage1

We celebrated the Olympic spirit with a Talk Justice playgroup!

My friend Janyre read us Can You Say Peace by Karen Katz.

OLYMPICcollege2

The kids painted Olympic rings and completed an obstacle course. My parents prepared Olympic gold medals for all our participants.

OLYMPICcollage3

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.

What is your favorite Olympic sport?

#TalkJustice Together June Edition

JuneEdition

Ten ideas to get your family talking about justice together!

Caring for Others: How to Teach Your Child to be an “Includer”

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.

Restorative Justice: Jail for many is not as simple as it seems. There is often more to the story.

Education: Talk to your kids about why early childhood education is so important. The first 1,000 days are critical to development.

Battling Entitlement: The story behind the viral photo of the West Point Graduate. Read it with your kids.

Race: Why the ‘Roots’ Remake is Important. It’s a story about extreme pain and beautiful resistance. Ask your kids what they think they can learn from history.

Human Trafficking: International Justice Mission (IJM) is hosting Freedom Sunday, September 25, 2016. Involve your church with these free resources.

Refugees: To be a refugee is to make impossible choices, a first-person perspective from OXFam.

Climate Change: Five amazing inventions for a sustainable future. What could you invent?

What did your family talk about? 

 

#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?

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!

#TalkJustice: Education Access

talkjustice

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.

In the United States we have many options for education. Even here, not every opportunity is equal, nor every school district. Globally this is even truer. Many students, especially girls will never have the opportunity to attend school and better their lives. Opening up kids worldview of school is a great place to start. Once they understand that education is a gift that others don’t have so easily, families can begin making a difference beginning in their own schools and expanding locally and globally.

Equal Access to Education Discussion Starters:

#TalkJustice Education Conversation

Help your family go deeper:

  • What factors make acquiring education difficult for kids?
  • Child labor- some kids need to support their family instead of going to school
  • Access- some kids lack transportation or a close school to attend
  • Money- some areas lack resources to have school supplies, teachers, or safe buildings
  • Disabilities- some schools do not have resources to help students with disabilities
  • Gender- poverty forces some families to choose who to educate and they choose boys before girls (so girls can work, do chores, or watch siblings.)
  • Violence- war or conflict keep some kids at home instead of attending school safely
  • Hunger- can make learning difficult for students
  • Immigration- language and cultural assimilation can create challenges to learning
  • Are their schools in our area that have less than others?
  • After thinking about barriers, how do you feel about receiving free education through twelve grade?


education1Kids Books About Equal Education Opportunities

Read more about this selection of kids book here. 

 

 

 

 

 

16 Ways to Take Action!

An Access to Education 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 been your insights into equality and access in education?