serving as a family

Kids are Talking Justice!

ACTScollage2

On Monday evening we celebrated ACTS! A local ministry led by Jaime Blom who opens her home to kids of the Westcore neighborhood for meals, art, and a giant doses of love. This is the beautiful artwork they brought along to share.

ACTScollage1

We read the story The Dot about how we all have something beautiful to offer.

The kids made watercolor hearts to remember to love each other.

ACTScollage3

They also completed a collaborative art project by making a home. The homes were put all together by my friend Janyre. Then we gave the project to ACTS so they can remember it takes a village of love and that we care about them.

ACTScollage4

Next up: This coming Monday, June 27 at Kollen Park from 6:30-7:30. We will supporting Hope Pkgs which provides first night bags to kids in foster care. We hope to see you there!

TJ Hope Pkgs

Summer 2016 Talk Justice Events

TJsummer2016

Let’s make a difference together this summer! I’m so excited to invite you all to our Summer 2016 #TalkJustice Events. We very much hope to see you there!

Join our Facebook Event Page to get updates and ask questions.

TJ ACTS

Acts Holland is a family. A place for kids to be embraced, equipped, and empowered.

We will be supporting Jaime Blom and Acts this summer! Last year, they shared their thoughtful art with us and this year we get to give back to them! Follow their work on Facebook here.

Read a book, create art, and play. Give back by bringing: List coming soon!

 

TJ Hope Pkgs

Hope Pkgs is a community based ministry that provides first night bags to kids entering the foster care system. There are approximately 220- 350 kids in foster care in Ottawa County at any given time. These bags provide hope, comfort and meet tangible needs.

We will be supporting Lisa Hoeve and Hope Pkgs this summer! Follow the work of Hope Pkgs on Facebook.

Every child is so special! We can’t wait to celebrate kids by sharing a story, making a fabric prayer bookmark, playing with parachutes, celebration play doh and more. Your family can give back by bringing a first night bag to donate, or joining with another family to put together a bag to bring.

TJ Olympics

#TalkJustice Olympics!

Event 1: Decorating Lunch Bags for Kids Food Basket.

Event 2: Holland Rescue Mission Clothing Drive- Donate your used clothing to be sold in the Rescue Mission Thrift Store. Did you know you can also donate clothing that can’t be reused to wear? They also recycle textiles and receive the profits.

Event 3: Bring a dollar to support the Flint Water Fund distributed by United Way.

We’ll be sharing a story about peace, participating in an Olympic obstacle course, making olympic ring pictures and having an Olympic flag scavenger hunt. Give back through our three featured events and receive your service medal.

 

We hope to see you at Kollen Park this summer! Let’s make a difference and serve locally!

Wondering what Talk Justice Events are like? Look at pictures of our past events here.

All ages are welcome! We love it when older children help at stations too.

I’d love to answer any of your questions! aboutproximity@gmail.com

 

#TalkJustice March Edition

locks

March! The month of the long goodbye to winter.

While you are waiting for spring to arrive #TalkJustice together!

March Madness: Fill out a charity bracket with your family! Win up to 100,000 for the charity of your choice. Such a fun idea!
12482154935_ca10226573_zShelterbox: Learn about ShelterBox together. What started out as a Rotary Project for disaster relief in England has expanded globally. Each ShelterBox includes a relief tent, thermal blankets, groundsheet, water storage and purification equipment, solar lamps, cooking utensils, a basic toolkit, mosquito nets, and a children’s activity pack.

@ShelterBox, Photographer: Rebecca Novell

 

Sacrifice: Read this article about a couple who foregoes their dream boat to pay for the college tuition of an entire kindergarten class. Talk about the difference between needs and a wants. What could your family sacrifice that might make a difference to someone else?

Dignity: A soup kitchen disguised like a restaurant offers dignity to the homeless in Kansas City. Read the article and talk about how they are building community, treating others with dignity, and offering hope.

Clean Water: 10 things women and girls could be doing instead of collecting clean water from ONE.

Breaking Down Myths: SNAP benefits are not always enough to keep families in need fed. 1/3 of families using SNAP still have to visit food pantries to bridge gaps. Talk about hunger and stereotypes to accepting assistance.

Food Waste: Sign a pledge as a family to curb food waste with Feeding America.

Pray for refugees: A new prayer is posted everyday.

justice

What’s new in your corner of the world?

 

 

 

Planet Ark

ARKCOLLAGE

Our last summer service play group took place this past Tuesday! We had such a great time for all five weeks. I’m so thankful.

We read the story Planet Ark about how we can all be modern-day Noah’s through caring for our environment.

We were able to support seven families in Bangladesh in receiving a fruit tree seedling that will provide food and income through World Renew.

The kids made leaf creatures and were awesome at the nature scavenger hunt!

ARKCOLLAGE@

Next week I would like share about the groups more personally, but for today I’m so thankful they became a reality, for all the participants, support, and amazing difference makers! And… there will be more. Hopefully forever and forever.

About Proximity formed some wonderful partnerships and we will be moving to hold more events throughout the year with Jodi Baron of Grace Episcopal Church in Holland.

Please, join our facebook service play group page for details and opportunities!

We’d love your ideas and to partner with you. I really mean that! Partnerships are what make a difference in our world. Every story and everything we did was better because we worked together as a community!  aboutproximity@gmail.com

 

 

 

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? 

 

 

 

#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! 

 

 

 

#TalkJustice: Clean Water

talkjustice #TalkJustice: Clean Water  Last week we talked Hunger. Clean water is another great justice topic to start with for kids. They understand thirst. Beyond, thirst we can teach them that unclean water makes people sick. We can talk about water scarcity and how that affects everyone on the planet.

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. cleanwater conversation starters Help your family go deeper:

  • Do we use more than our share of water?
  • Imagine using unclean water for laundry, showers, drinking, cleaning dishes.
  • What dangers might occur trying to transport clean water to your home? Might it make you vulnerable? Would you have time to attend school?
  • Without water could anything survive?
  • More and more people face water scarcity. How could that affect everyone on the planet?
  • If you had to walk thirty minutes to get clean water, how would you use water differently?

clean water booksKids Books About Clean Water: 

Clean Water for Elirose: by Ariah Fine 

A Long Walk to Water: by Linda Sue Parker

Ryan and Jimmy: by Herb Shoveller

One Well: by Rochelle Strauss

Mimi’s Village: by Katie Smith Milway

19 Ways to Take Action!

A Clean Water Twitter List to Follow.

Follow our About Proximity #TalkJustice Pinterest Board.

Introducing #TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. 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.

I LOVE to hear from you! Did you try any hunger or clean water activities? What conversations came up in your family? 

Next Up: Education

How to Make Fighting Poverty a Family Activity

hand collage

Live 58 Fast. Forward. The End of Poverty

(I can’t wait to share more about this organization in a future post.)

World Renew (where my husband works) is an alliance partner of Live 58.  I work with their Mom and Dad Content Team. Kris and I used to work side-by-side in ministry. Now we work in separate places, but its been really fun to see how God continually overlaps what we love to do.

 

Kris and I had the opportunity to write about making fighting poverty a family activity!

Please click over today and join the conversation!

Give Back over the Spring Season!

spring giving

Spring is coming. (Not as fast as I hoped it would.) Dirty gray snow please melt away…

10 Easy Ways to Give Back over the Spring Season! 

DSC04974

1. My Family’s Favorite Spring Treat: Bird’s Nests, make them together and double the batch to share. Here is the recipe:

  • One 7 oz. jar of marshmallow creme  
  • 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1 can of chow mein noodles (3 cups)
  • 1 cup of chopped M&M’s Plain
  • Peanut M&M’s or other candy to fill the nest.

Combine the marshmallow creme, peanut butter and butter. Mix well. Add noodles and plain M&M’s. Fill the nests!

DSC04979

2. Spring Craft: Purchase some small, plain terra cotta flower pots. Get out paints and help your kids hand decorate the pots. Deliver them with a packet of seeds as gifts to others.

IMG_3367

3. Try Composting: Read this guest article by my sister-in-law Jen for ideas of how to get started.

images (12)

4. Family Recycling Activity:  Explore Recycle City with the whole family. Make a list of ideas you can implement into your home.

ID-100110733

Image courtesy of [Just2Happy], freedigitalphoto.net 

5. Plant: Take time to plant something new this spring a tree, bush, strawberry plant, seeds, a small flower.

DSC04975

6. Garden Donations: If you garden and have excess consider donating some of your crops. Sometimes churches allow members to offer their excess to other members. When you visit the farmer’s market this summer, consider dropping a gift off to someone who might need a little extra.

IMG_22727. Family Time is Important: Get outdoors together as a family: take a bike ride, a hike, a nature scavenger hunt, play in the beach sand, visit a new playground. Whatever you choose, do it together!

DSC04977

8. Did you know you could recycle this stuff? Spring clean with purpose. 

  • Paint. Habitat for Humanity Restores take latex paint to remix and resell. Find a location near you. 
  • Crayons. They can be recycled into new crayons. Learn more here.
  • Batteries. Visit Call2Recycle for a location near you.
  • Visit Earth911.com and type in any search for an object and see if there is a place to recycle near you.

DSC04976

9. Family Raking: Head out on a Saturday morning and clean up your yard as a family. While you have your work clothes on, help a neighbor or someone who needs assistance do spring clean up.

IMG_1825

10. Deliver: Drop off a bouquet of spring flowers to a shut-in or someone who is ill. Set aside time to visit too.

How do you give back during the season of spring? 

Family Giving Opportunity

orphanage-immanuel

Stephanie Voetberg shared about her time serving at Orphanage Emmanuel last year. You can read about her experiences here.

This amazing young lady has found herself back at the orphanage this year loving the kids with all her heart. Her joy is contagious.

Orphanage Emmanuel is located in Guaimaca, Honduras.

 

Every 2-4 weeks a container is shipped from the states to Orphanage Emmanuel. This is a wonderful project idea for a family to complete.

 

Ideas for your family giving package:

-Body Lotion

Lice Picks

-Hair Brushes

-Hair accessories 

-Towels

-Socks

-Kitchen Spoons/forks

-Cups

-Blow Dryers

-Mirrors

-CANDY  (to pass out to the children)

-Balloons

-Bubbles 

-Nail Clippers

-Nail Polish

-Nail Polish Remover

-Bed sheets

-Toothbrushes

-Toothpaste

-Snacks for the girls and I that live in the volunteer house

-Brownie mix, Cookie mix, etc…I love to make cookies and brownies for my girls that I look after!!!

 

Packages can be sent to:

Orphanage Emmanuel

Stephanie Voetberg-Volunteer

4611 Hixson Pike

Hixson, TN 37343

Package days are a great encouragement to volunteers and the children at Orphanage Emmanuel.