#TalkJustice PlayGroups

Your Voices

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This prayer I prayed a few months ago:

God, don’t let me give up.

Maybe sometimes it is all you have left, that tiny little plea.

If you have something to do through me, I want to show up. Very much.

 

I would rather it to be easier. Without rejection pressing up tight against me. When its hard to even kneel. When tears gather up, when usually they are tucked away.

So I keep praying, God don’t let me give up. 

I am praying that for you, for whatever is hard in your life.

 

I’m so thankful for these beautiful people who came out to support immigrants and refugees a few weeks ago. It was a good night. It’s your voices that keep me going.

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I’m so excited to begin planning #TalkJustice playgroups for this new year!

I’d love to hear from you!

What organization would you like to support? What activities? Where would you like to meet? What times would work best this summer?

Comment here, or send me a note aboutproximity@gmail.com

Your voices truly do mean everything.

#TalkJustice Together December Edition

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#TalkJustice Playgroups

Maddie's Fridge We will be sharing this sweet book, Maddi’s Fridge at our next #TalkJustice Playgroup Kids Helping Kids. This is a fantastic book to open up conversation about food insecurity with your kids!

We will be supporting Kids’ Food Basket by decorating lunch sacks, repackaging trail mix, and playing! Visit our Facebook Event Page here for more information.

 

 

When People Make a Difference

A stray email from a Tennessee school reaches the inbox of a New Jersey man. He ends up adopting the school and the kids call him their ‘New Jersey Grandfather.’ Read the article here.

Changemaker

Take the Story of Stuff Changemaker Quiz to see what kind of changemaker your family is!

Christmas Story 

As we gather to read the Christmas story this season, remember that Jesus was a refugee. Consider changing the conversation at Blessing Not Burden. If you are in the Holland area attend our playgroup coming this January (facebook event page). For older kids download the app My Life As A Refugee to open up the conversation.

Holiday Kindness Toolkit

A mega list of holiday kindness ideas from Pennies of Time. Including, our kindness options for Elf on a Shelf.

Our monthly #TalkJustice as a family usually shares ten ideas. This month we will stick with five, so you can spend lots of time doing our last idea…

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Slow Down

The perfect way to make a difference this season is to just simply slow down with your family.

If all we are is noise and busy, we leave no space to notice, where we might love.

What will you be taking notice of this holiday season? 

 

 

When We Give

I hope you had a lovely holiday weekend! I know I am so thankful for all of you.

When we give, the advent season takes on an even more beautiful form.

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Amidst holiday shopping, remember Giving Tuesday is tomorrow!

Many non-profits will match donations on Giving Tuesday.

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One of my favorite holiday ideas is picking out a living gift from a gift catalog together. Look online or order a copy in the mail. Great options: World Renew, World Vision, Compassion International, Heifer International, International Justice Mission, OxFam, The Salvation Army.

In partnership with Pennies of Time Holiday Kindness Camp, I shared this past week about incorporating acts of kindness with Elf of the Shelf. Even if you don’t get into the elves, these ideas would work anytime during the holiday season.

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Here are 25 Acts of Kindness for your Advent Season:

  • Read a book together from We Give Books that donates another to a child without access.
  • Make a card for veterans and servicemen and women through A Million Thanks.
  • Plan an evening of caroling with friends at a nursing home (call activities director ahead of time)
  • Make kindness coupons for two neighbors offering leaf raking or snow shoveling services.
  • Give of your excess, fill a bag, and deliver to a donation center.
  • Invite the children of a single parent friend to decorate Christmas cookies with you and give their Mom or Dad time to go shopping alone.
  • Pick out a toy to donate to Toys for Tots or a low-cost Santa shop.
  • Take a hike and log your miles for the free app Charity Miles.
  • Invite a friend with a disability and their siblings to a movie party. Allow their parents a time away
  • Make handwritten notes for someone who could use encouragement. Send them in the mail.
  • Donate coloring books and crayons to your local WIC office
  • Donate to your local animal shelter.
  • Deliver treats with a thank you note to a community helper in your town (ex. firefighters)
  • Write a letter for The World Needs More Love Letters.
  • Donate socks and underwear to your local homeless or women’s shelter, this is common need.
  • Donate laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, or personal care items to your local food bank- these are often high-need items.
  • Make a special call to a Great Grandpa or Grandma or special friend that lives far away. Share what you love to do!
  • Cook a meal together and make extra. Deliver the extra meal to someone in need of a pick me up.
  • Deliver a special cocoa, coffee, or tea to a hard-worker teacher, coach, or leader who blesses your family
  • Make treats together and deliver to neighbors.
  • Fill out coupons for jobs you can do for Grandpas and Grandmas throughout the year
  • Make teacher Christmas thank-you’s.
  • Take a photo and upload to the app Donate a Photo, choose the cause you would like to support.
  • Serve your kids with a special surprise.

What was the highlight of your Thanksgiving Weekend? What giving traditions do you practice with your family? 

We loved my Mom’s pie, cousins, deal-shopping with my Dad, and a sweet visit from my in-laws all the way from Iowa. My favorite tradition- trying hard to slow down and a remember why we celebrate Christmas.

I’m also excited about two upcoming playgroups. Kids Helping Kids with Kids Food Basket, and Blessing Not Burden, with the OSJ Campaign and Zeeland Christian School.

#TalkJustice Together November Edition

#TalkJustice November

#TalkJustice Playgroups! Are you in the Holland Area?

Come out this Tuesday, November 17 from 7:00-8:30 at the Herrick District Library Auditorium for the Give Back to Veterans Playgroup. We will be reading a story, making cards through A Million Thanks, creating a poppy craft and seeing the things soldiers carried. We are partnering with the Holland Area Big Read.

In December we will support Kids Food Basket with Grace Episcopal Church. In January we will partner with Zeeland Christian Schools for a Blessing not Burden Playgroup supporting immigrants. Want to keep up-to-date on play group opportunities? Join the Service PlayGroups Facebook Page.

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Thanksgiving

A beautiful family thanksgiving tree for inspiration from Caitlin Boersma.

#PorteOuverte

In the midst of tragedy residents of Paris practiced #PorteOuverte offering an open door to those stranded or in need of safe shelter. A beautiful act of light where darkness tried to prevail. And a needful prayer from Ann Voskamp.

National Family Literacy Month

November is National Family Literacy Month. Log in some time at We Give Books and help provide books for kids that need access.

Creativity

Encourage your creative kids to use their gifts. Watch the video of E-tracers ballet slippers that trace dancers movement.

Ethical Shopping Guide

In this season of gift-giving gather ideas from the Art of Simple’s Ethical Shopping Guide. There are many fair trade ideas.

Gift Catalogs 

Order a print version of a holiday gift catalog from any of these non-profits. Look through the options together and pick out a gift. Gathering around the photographs is guaranteed to open up conversation. Heifer International, World Vision, World Renew, OxFam, UNICEF, Compassion International, International Justice Mission. 

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Audacious Prayer Guide

Join Micah Challenge and pray as a family for Sustainable Development Goals that address injustices families are facing around the world. Use the Audacious Prayer Guide here.

A Gutsy Girl

Alicia Bruxfort over at The Overflow shares her own gutsy girl. Your daughters will love to read her words.

#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.

What Thanksgiving and Holiday giving practices does your family participate in?

I am so thankful for all of you. 

 

#TalkJustice Together October Edition

 

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#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.

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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?

If the World Were a Village

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Two and a half days of school left for us. After another year, I know how important it is to love- beyond what you feel, others response, the deepest challenges- you don’t let go. You refuse to break. Jesus asks it of us and we have a beautiful life when we can do our best to give that love others. A very beautiful life.

For the next five weeks it’ll be about Summer Serve Play Groups! I’ll share the upcoming play group details, and later in the week share photographs from our evening together. We begin next week, but I’ll start now and leave this one up a little longer.

 

Here is the post with printable PDFs for all the groups.

Join the Facebook Event Page here.

Do you have kids 10 and up that might like to serve by helping with a play station for the younger kids? Sign up here. 

 

We are so excited to meet you all and join together in community to learn and make a difference together! I’ve been waking in the early morning hours, which means a little bit of nervous and also a chance to pray for God to establish our work.

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Our first group is June 16 at 6:00 pm at Kollen Park in Holland. (Parking in the Kollen Park lots and the streets surrounding.) If rains happens (don’t happen) I’ll let you know on the Facebook Event Page by 5:00 if we’ll go ahead or need to cancel.

We will be reading portions of If the World Were a Village from CitizenKid Books.

Here is a Printable PDF of If the World Were a Village group.

We will be welcoming the kids of ACTs to share art from the book! Our play stations will be a coloring page, bubbles, world volleyball, soccer, sidewalk chalk, and sack races.

 

We would love for families to contribute to our serve project supporting the local ministry of Holland Rescue Mission. The mission’s volunteer director shared these ideas. This is a great opportunity to talk to your kids about need in the community and how we can respond, while gathering supplies together. You can work together with another family to bring a donation too! Just bring it along and we will gather them all together for the mission.

Ideas for Kid Kits for the Holland Rescue Mission:

Rescue Mission Welcome Kit:

  • travel size shampoo, soap, and lotion
  • kids size toothpaste and toothbrush
  • small comb
  • small crayon pack and small pad of paper
  • sippy cup, or kid-size cup with top and straw
  • bedtime story book
  • stuffed animal (beanie boo or beanie baby sized)
  • Packaged in a bag
  • Include a welcome card with each kit (hand-drawn picture)

Birthday Kit:

  • Balloons
  • Birthday Candles
  • Cake Mix
  • Frosting
  • Gift Wrap
  • Small Childrens Toy or Book
  • Packaged into a bag

Stepping Stone Daycare and Rock Day Camp:

Snack Kit:

  • Granola Bar
  • Fruit Snack
  • Pre-Packaged Cracker Pack (Goldfish, Cheez-Its)
  • All Packaged together in a large sized Zip-Loc bag

Daycare Kit:

  • Puffs Tissues
  • WetOnes
  • ColorWonder Paper and Marker Supplies

Email me with any questions! aboutproximity@gmail.com

For all those not in Holland, hold tight… my hope is for this to be a full resource for families and groups to use in the future. So thankful for all of you!