kids #TalkJustice

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: 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?