Category: “Home Page”

Help Send Crash...

Crash (they/them pronouns) is a dedicated, vital member of the youth group at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo. They are raising funds to attend Thrive Leadership School this summer in order to deepen their connection to their Unitarian Universalist peers of color, explore their faith, and enhance their leadership skills.

They are raising funds to help offset the cost of registration and transportation from Buffalo, NY to Minneapolis, MN.

Crash has been an amazing leader in our youth group and the congregation at large. They have made deep and profound connections among the Unitarian Universalist youth of upstate New York. Making sure that Crash has the funding to attend Thrive this summer so they can connect with other UU youth of color is an utmost priority of our youth program.” – Sarah Martin, Director of Religious Education, Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo

First Parish Youth Group (Portland, Maine) West Virginia Service Trip

The members of the First Parish Youth Group are 9-12th graders from the greater Portland, Maine area. This year they have been learning about how coal mining practices in rural West Virginia have devastated the lives and economic stability of the local communities.

In August we will be working in partnership with the UU College of Social Justice to travel down to West Virginia. After stopping in the state capital to learn more about West Virginia and hear an overview of many of the challenges residents face, we will travel deep into the Appalachia region of the state to have a hands-on experience working with and learning from communities struggling for a new, post-coal future.

Social Justice Work at Safe Passage in Guatemala

In July, youth from the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady will travel to Guatemala City, where we will spend time working with youth of Camino Seguro (Safe Passage), a top-rated charity organization begun in 1999 by Hanley Denning and members of the Guajero (dump picker) community. Camino Seguro has grown from an educational reinforcement program serving 46 children, to current day, providing more than 550 children and 100 parents with education, social services, and the chance to move beyond the poverty their families have faced for generations. According to their website, “Safe Passage is a refuge for children facing difficult situations marked by extreme poverty, neglect, and abuse. Safe Passage is a gateway out of poverty. Safe Passage is hope.”

Our congregation has been working with Safe Passage for 14 years. We have developed deep, meaningful, and lasting relationships with the children, youth, and adults at Safe Passage. Each time we go, we collaborate with Safe Passage to determine which project we will work to fund. We work for an entire year to raise the funds we need for Safe Passage. We pay for own travel and housing expenses. We create lesson plans for the children in addition to the project we fund. This year, our project is to fund the Quinceañera (a favorite, both for our group and the youth in Guatemala). A Quinceañera is an important Coming-of-Age ritual for the Guatemalan girls who are turning 15 and their families. The funding we raise helps defray the costs of the Quinceañera educational program, which includes classes on self-esteem, higher education, and healthy sexuality. It also includes a celebration for the girls and their families and friends. Without our work, it would not be possible for Safe Passage to host the classes or the celebration. As Fredy Maldonando, one of the founding members of Safe Passage, said to us during our last visit, “The most important thing is that you are giving the girls something special, something unforgettable, something that is about dignity. They will never forget it. This is so important to the girls and their families, the dump.”

Funds raised will go toward the Quinceañerea and program fees for Safe Passage.

UU Asheville Coming...

This amazing group of Asheville-based teens is seeking to put their compassion and UU values into action this summer!

In support of UU Principle 4: a free and responsible search for truth and meaning, the youth have been fundraising and planning for a culmination trip for their Coming of Age class.

This trip will not only expose them to historic sites of social justice and immerse them in UU culture as they meet and engage with 3 other UU congregations, but it will also allow them the unparalleled opportunity to volunteer and learn about animal rescue and grassroots organizing (including legislative work) at Farm Sanctuary in upstate NY.

Farm Sanctuary was selected in part due to this group’s interest in UU Principle 7: the interconnectedness of all life which is supported by their love of animals and nature.

Farm Sanctuary is one of the original factory-farm animal rescue operations in this country, helping downed (i.e. sick and/or injured) animals and lobbying for a change to a more compassionate (and eco-friendly) system.  While there, the kids will learn about their history and current efforts while helping with the day-to-day operations of keeping a sanctuary running.

Additionally, during their visit to the UU congregation in Ithaca, NY, they will tour Cornell University – including their world-famous ornithology lab – and experience some of the amazing natural wonders of the area’s National Parks.

Please help support them in these efforts!

Invest in Educational...

Project Beneficiaries:

Community Empowerment Network-Haiti (CEN Haiti) has been providing support to the Petion-Ville community in Haiti for the past four years.  The only community school in the area, l’Ecole Communautaire de Phillippeau particularly targets restaveks, who are children who left their rural home where there are no schools available to stay with family members in the city in hope of being able to attend school and pay for their room and board by doing housework. The school was founded in 2002 specifically to provide an educational opportunity for this at-risk youth population.

Project Description and Rationale:

The school is located in a low-income area that has seen an influx of residents with each natural disaster over the past decade. Since its partnership with CEN-Haiti began in 2016, the school has made significant progress in revitalizing and reconstructing a strong educational program for approximately 400 students per year. To accommodate the maximum number of students, the school offers a morning program from 7:00 am – 12:00 pm and another program from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Because the school particularly focuses on providing educational services to restaveks, the half-day program gives the students time to come to school without neglecting their house chores. Making the program half-day and free, except for a small administrative fee, removes any excuse for families not sending a child to school. In order to ensure the integrity of the program, the local Committee for the Protection of Children will visit the home of any child who has missed school to caution the family that they will be reported to the local authority if their child does not attend school regularly. The committee is composed of local leaders who are very good at following up to ensure that the host families treat the restavek children and youth well, including giving them sufficient time to focus on their studies and complete homework.

L’Ecole Communautaire de Philippeau provides at-risk youth with a comprehensive primary- to-secondary education program, thus addressing a critical need for the surrounding communities. The program expects to also offer young people an opportunity to continue their education, learn English, and build technical skills necessary to attain a job in one of the local industries.

Professional education continues to be a key factor in Haiti’s economic development. The accumulated deficits from natural disaster and economic downfall have created a situation that requires an immediate effort on the part of the Haitian government and local organizations to support underprivileged children who are marginalized due to issues of economic class. It is imperative to support these youth by providing technical assistance and training that could enable them to benefit from a good education that meets their needs.

Director-and-teachers

How Much Money the School Needs for its Yearly Operations:

Recognizing the critical importance of education to community empowerment and economic development, CEN-Haiti has invested heavily in the revitalization of the school.   This campaign will support the school to raise $15,000, which is needed to meet its yearly operating budget and sustain the school for the remainder of the 2019 school year. One generous donor has already pledged $10,000.  Please join us and helping raise an additional $5,000 in funds through Faithify.

MID-YEAR QUANTITATIVE RESULTS (2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR)

Number of Registered Students 400 (5 classes with 40 students each/morning and afternoon groups)
Number that will complete the academic year 390
Number of Teachers 13 (6 for Primary School; 7 for Secondary)
Average Number of Teacher Hours Per Week 44

Tijuana Homebuild with Casas de Luz

Stretch Goal Added! See details below

Casas de Luz (casasdeluz.org) is a social justice action program of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, a sister UU congregation in San Diego county. Since its founding 15 years ago, volunteers working with Casas de Luz have built over 110 homes in 6 communities throughout Tijuana on lots already owned by each family, and this dynamic non-profit plans to build 40 additional homes in 2019.

Oct. 2018 Casas de Luz Homebuild

There is tremendous enthusiasm among our congregants for this project, and our initial efforts raised over $1500 as Chalice congregants dug deep.

San Diego’s proximity to the border makes us acutely aware of the additional hardships imposed on the Tijuana economy by the current Administration’s negative rhetoric toward Mexico. Every time we visit Mexico, we hear about the downturn in tourism resulting in part from fears promoted by our own government. Tourism is one of the most important industries in Mexico, providing construction and service jobs critical to families who are working their way out of poverty. Because of this, and despite our small congregation’s current limited funds (we just broke ground on a major campus renovation involving a new classroom and office building), we feel this is the perfect time to sponsor a Casas de Luz homebuild project.

Chalice groundbreaking Feb. 2019

We view our participation with Casas de Luz as an act of Resistance, Love, and Interconnectedness in the best traditions of Unitarian Universalism. 

Please press the blue DONATE button to help us reach our additional fundraising goal of $4700. Any donations Chalice receives in excess of this goal will be forwarded to Casas de Luz to support their ongoing projects in Tijuana. GRACIAS!

Many of us come from backgrounds of relative privilege, taking for granted our homes, jobs, and educational opportunities. Imagine trying to feed your children, support their education, and get to work on time and focused, all while struggling with substandard living conditions. Families throughout the world often buy a little plot of land before they have the funds to build a house on it, then live there in makeshift housing, using whatever resources they have – tarps or lean-tos, dirt floors, a camp stove, no plumbing – while saving money to build a permanent home. Of course life does not always deal a predictable hand. Sudden illness or a death in the family, job insecurity, medications, school supplies, or even just the rising cost of living, can all eat away at savings originally set aside by these families for a home.

Casas de Luz has met this need head-on for 15 years, encouraging adult and youth volunteers to raise either $4500 for a 320-square foot standard home, or $6200 for a 384-square foot home with bathroom, and then dedicating two days on a weekend to travel to Tijuana and build.

This covers the entire cost of building materials for each home!

Floor plan for the 16′ by 24′ home we will build.

Every volunteer builder pays $50 to cover food, water, and housing for the overnight in Tijuana. Chalice’s Social Justice and Service Team is organizing the homebuild with Casas, and we are committed to separately funding the individual builder fee for any participant for whom this might be a hardship, to encourage participation by families and our youth.

Casas de Luz is a truly impressive non-profit, with a beautiful website (casasdeluz.org), a clear vision, an all-volunteer board, and a single part-time paid employee. Several regular volunteers have been designated Master Carpenter during their years of work with Casas, and they will guide the rest of us who are less experienced builders. We are so excited to be working with Casas to organize this project! We have put the weekend of October 26-27, 2019 on our congregational calendar because we are trusting that YOU – our friends, family, and fellow UUs – will help us raise the $4700 we still need. We are busy getting our passports updated, polishing up our high school Spanish, and digging out our most sturdy work clothes! Our favorite UU affirmation reads:

“Love is the doctrine of this church, the quest for truth is our sacrament, and service is our prayer.”

Thank you for helping us carry our message of love and service to our neighbors in Tijuana!

Help Rachel Attend GA and Present About Disabilities!

I am a person with multiple invisible disabilities pursuing ministry to help all religious spaces become more inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities. My proposal was chosen which is amazing and wonderful but I need help getting there. I would love to experience all of GA. Help me reach my goal!  My program info is below:

PROGRAM TITLE :

Dis-Abilities: A Discussion on Inclusion, Accessibility and Identity

SCHEDULED DATE & TIME:

Saturday 6/22/2019, 1:30:00 PM – 2:30:00 PM

FACILITY AND ROOM:           

Convention Center — 300A

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

People with disabilities often struggle with accessibility and inclusion within religious spaces. How do we have meaningful discussions within our congregations on how to be truly welcoming to people with disabilities? Join Rachel Carter, an advocate and person with multiple disabilities as we discuss this topic, share ideas, and stories.

The breakdown of funds are:

$1009 Flight and Car

$425 Registration

$375 Home Hospitality