Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
During the fundraising and nomination process for the shop with a cop program this year I anxiously awaited The "R" Family to be nominated. Finally for the list from the school and there they were. I met this family for the first time last year with the program and was completly touched by them.
Elizabeth (Grandmother) "R" is raising her 5 grandchildren. The mother to these children has been MISSING since 2004. To this point she has not been declared deceased so Social Security for the children does not exist. She survives off of $525 a month. All of the phone number that the school left for them were disconnected, I sent officers to her house to invite them to the program event. They came and with them was a small 2 year old girl that would not have qualified for the program. Elizabeth and this small child roamed through wal mart while the other children shopped with the police officer. I had a few minutes to chat with Elizabeth and I told her that I sent her name in also for a Christmas food basket and asked if they had enough food. Mrs. "R" as humble as always stated that they had plenty but it is hard to buy groceries due to the refrigerator they have not working properly. And the only vehicle that they own doesnt have reverse (but runs good on the interstate) I decided that the small child needed Christmas, the program had the funds, and gave Mrs. "R" the money to take that child to go shopping. We also gave her an additional 200 dollars for non perishable groceries.
On the way home my husband and I with heavy hearts decided that we needed to find her a fridge. It took me 4 days but I found her one. We are due to deliver it tonight. She says Im one of Gods True life angels. Best Christmas Gift I have ever had!
Its moments like these where you may find yourself hearing a need that's much greater then the present moment....and if you can, respond to it. <3 Thank you Gwen for sharing your story. Im SURE that it will inspire others. Thanks for Being the 1!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
[Editor note: A week ago I received a forwarded email from a mutual friend about the program called JOY (Justice & Opportunity for Youth). As I read the email authored by a Karen Edmonds, I sensed a clear feeling of urgency…but also….the email was infused with deep love and care for the kids involved in JOY. I had tears streaming down my face by the time I got to the end. Not only did I HAVE to interview Karen about JOY for the Be the 1 blog…..but it couldn't stop there. We had to use whatever platform we could to communicate the needs to support the JOY program and people like Karen that make such a huge positive impact on our community. I sent a note to Karen asking if I could interview her. I was delighted to get a response back that she would! We met this last Tuesday. Here's what happened.]
As you read this blog post, I'm not going to be asking for just help. I'm going to be asking for the extraordinary. Because once you're done reading…you're not going to be able to look away either. (At least I hope not)
When Karen walked through the door, we both instantly went to each other and hugged. I felt such a kindred spirit emanate from her….a calm breeze of strength and genuine passion for JOY and the kids involved in JOY. We sat at our table and instantly started discussing JOY and what it does (in fact, she barely ate her food while she talked and I listened. Sorry Karen! I owe you lunch!)
JOY (Justice & Opportunity for Youth) exists to serve the very high risk youth in the Rochester area. The objective is to move these youth from lives engaged in, or on the fringe of, gang activity toward lives that will be productive and fulfilled. Intensive outreach is the key to engaging these youth and getting them into a program where they learn that their circumstances can't control them if they work to control the circumstances in which they find themselves.
JOYS Mission: Every young person counts, every child matters and every child can change. JOY will be relentless in getting help to and for disengaged and disenfranchised young people in order for them to move out of violence and poverty into meaningful engaged lives as adults.
|JOY Youth Yoga|
- Currently, there are 125 kids in contact that need support.
- There are 70 kids, ages range from 4-22 years old that have ongoing intense mentoring, advocacy needs and are getting support.
- Kids involved in the program are either referred by other JOY kids, referred by a probation office or a public defender. Most of the kids come because they heard about JOY from their friends. JOY has a 100% retention rate.
|JOY Youth at a Sports Banquet|
[A teenager once shared this with Karen] "Can I tell you something. I don't know why, but every time I'm around you, I just feel safe. I hardly even know you, but I just want to be next to you and be alone so we can talk. Because my head keeps jumping from thing to thing all the time and with you, I feel like I can just sit and be calm." Karen shared that she hears this all the time from these teenagers.
JOY is a critical program in Rochester to reduce gang involvement, activity and development. (<--Did you read that? Just checking. I think it's pretty important)
Many of the volunteers reach into their own pockets and financially support the youth themselves. They need haircuts, clothes, sports fees, membership fees to the Y (estimated at $1728 for 31-40 kids), gas money for the volunteers transporting kids to sports games, lunch, dinner,…..the list goes on.
Every young person counts, every child matters and every child can change.
I'm asking every person that's reading this blog, tweet, facebook to share this story and consider making JOY apart of some Christmas magic. Let's gather as a community and show these kids the extraordinary.
Here's how you can help: Be the 1 and support JOY, a very much needed program in Rochester.
- There's an immediate financial need. Would you consider donating whatever you can towards JOY? (can you sacrifice one gift and instead donate the money towards JOY, what about gathering some money from fellow friends, coworkers and donating it? ) The funds will be used to pay for clothes, gas and food and other necessities.
- Any businesses out there willing to make a hefty contribution before the end of the year?!?!? Maybe a car dealership willing to donate a brand new van?!??! How cool would THAT be?!??! Huh?
- Volunteers are always needed. And not for the faint of heart. The commitment is great, but the rewards even greater. Interested in helping? Please contact Karen Edmonds.
- Share this story with your Facebook, LinkedIN, twitter friends. Everybody.
Rochester, MN 55904
Rochester, MN 55903
**JOY is working on setting up a way to accept online donations, but until then - please send to either addresses.
Look for a future blog post on the ongoing sustainable need to keep JOY operating at full speed (if you could only see Karen operate, you'd understand this visual!).
Karen, I know I have said this before, but I meant it. I've never seen someone so selfless and willing to sacrifice so much. Thank you for what you do. I am truly humbled and I hope our readers are just as inspired by you, as I am! In fact, I know they are.Lets make it rain, folks. Dig in your pockets. Dig into your hearts. Give what you can. In any way you can.
May it be a JOYful Christmas this year for the JOY Progam! Please.
I leave you with 2 letters from JOY Youth. The words speak for itself.
|Enlarge picture to read|
|Enlarge picture to read|
Friday, December 9, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
As the holidays approach, you may be looking for ideas to give back. Volunteering is a perfect way to do that. The gift of your time, could change someones life. Below are some opportunities around the area on how you can help.
If you do volunteer, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story! We'll feature it on this blog. Stories like this inspire others to do something too. :)
Christmas Anonymous volunteers
Volunteers are needed to assist with setting up our store on Dec. 8-9, or escort parents through the store on Dec. 10. Call 285-3940 or visit our web site at www.christmasanonymous.org for more information or to volunteer with Christmas Anonymous.
Toy and Joy Shop volunteer
Volunteers are paired one-on-one with needy families and literally take them "shopping" through all of the donated new toys, clothes, books, and games. The volunteer will assist the parents in finding age-appropriate items and the correct number of items for each child in their family. The dates for this event are Dec. 20-21. Call 288-3663 for more information or to volunteer with The Salvation Army.
If you are someone who likes to bake - we have a houseful of people who like to eat. During the month of December we have several events for the children including the magical visit from Santa Claus. We will even make arrangements to pick up your baked goods. Call 285-1938 for more information or to volunteer with Women's Shelter, Inc.
Volunteer for Market Strasse
This is an opportunity to participate in an authentic European indoor/outdoor market on the Peace Plaza. You will be asked to switch between indoor and outdoor settings based on event needs. We will do our best to keep you warm. We’re looking for volunteers who are enthusiastic and reliable. Call 424-4744 for more information or to volunteer with the Rochester Downtown Alliance.
Community gang initiative volunteerUnited Way is seeking a self starter willing to work flexible hours weekly with minimal supervision to perform various tasks including internet based research, data entry, word processing, and some phone work related to this initiative. Call 287-2002 for more information or to volunteer with United Way of Olmsted County.
Monday, November 21, 2011
"Everything is amazing right now and nobody's happy".
"You're sitting in a chair, in the SKY." lol.
Sometimes we just need to sit back and start listing out the wonderful people, experiences, health, love, support, etc. we have in our lives...When we do this, even when times are tough, we truly realize how much we do have, even when it seems like things may not be going our way....or that we can't get internet access on a plane. ;-)
Give of yourself selflessly this week to someone that might need help. Give thanks today to someone thats maybe helped you. Give thanks that you're alive!
Thanks for being the 1 <3