Tagged: “New England Region”

Mental Health First Aid

I am a UU who has a passion for improving the lives of those impacted by mental illness. As the mother of 2 sons with bipolar disorder, I have returned to school so I can help affect change. This month I finished my first semester at Boston University’s School of Theology. I plan to become a UU Chaplain and educate and advocate through a mental health ministry.

The intersection I am standing at in the picture is where one of my sons was in 2010 when he was having a mental health crisis. He stood in the middle of the street throwing CD cases at cars and yelling. Most motorists swerved around him and some screamed in anger. There was just one woman who stopped. She unrolled her car window and asked if he needed help. He replied, “Yes,” and she got out of her car and led him to the curb. This stranger sat and talked with him until the police came. We never found out who she was, yet she made all the difference that day.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an 8-hour training that teaches how to assist someone who is facing a mental health or substance use challenge. I want to teach MHFA because 1 in 5 people has a mental health condition, and anyone can encounter someone in crisis like my son was that day. I have a strong foundation for teaching the course. My background is working as an RN, and I recently completed a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

A great place to start in providing mental health education is within our churches. Your contribution will allow me to attend an MHFA 5-day training in June, covering the cost of the course, travel, and lodging. Completing this training will certify me to teach the class which I will then be able to offer UU ministers and congregants in the greater Boston area. You can find out more information regarding MHFA at https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/. Thank you for your support.

South Church Senior...

The 2018 South Church Senior Youth Trip to the San Diego area is an opportunity to learn and grow in relation to the topic of immigration justice.
This year, in preparation for our trip, the 14 participating youth have attended local discussions about immigration concerns in our local community. In particular, we have learned about how new deportation policies are impacting the Indonesian people who live in our community.

Our group has read a book called Enrique’s Journey and then engaged in a discussion about the book. It tells the story of a young child on the path of hardship and trauma that immigrants face as they attempt to get to the United States from central America. This book helped us understand the intensity of the challenges facing families who are separated from one another due to extreme economic hardship and the hope for better opportunities in the United States.

We are hoping this trip will open our eyes to the real facts of immigration in the United States. Politics lie and stray from the truth to keep people in favor of controlling immigration. What we see on our trip will show us how much of those lies are said, allow us to ask questions in connection with things we’ve heard, and allow us to have deeper knowledge to engage politically on this issue.

As participants in this trip, we are aware that this journey is mostly for our own benefit. We are not doing a whole lot to help by traveling to San Diego and Tijuana beyond serving as witnesses to the trauma through which the people we meet are navigating. The real point of this trip is to learn together, to reflect, and to build a connection between this experience and our Unitarian Universalist faith.  Every time our youth group gets to be with each-other for extended periods of time, the most valuable friendships and memories are made. We are all closer then most kids our age and so, in addition to learning more about immigration, this trip is also another opportunity for our group to deepen our connection with one another.

Send McKayla to...

Hello, everyone! Thank you for visiting my campaign page!

My name is McKayla Hoffman, and I am an aspiring minister who is fundraising in order to attend the 2018 Unitarian Universalist General Assembly!

About My Journey:

I found Unitarian Universalism in 2011, during my sophomore year of college. Most of my undergraduate campus at Bridgewater State University appeared as a blur of color to me. Like many college students, I was perpetually running either to class, a meeting, or one of my three on-campus jobs. However, the rainbow flag at First Parish Church always caught my eye. Since the first day I walked into First Parish to sing in the choir, the wonderful congregation there embraced, loved, and inspired me as a close (and very sassy!) family does. I realized after being involved for a couple of years that something was different about this religious community than any I had encountered before. This denomination’s message of radical love and justice enabled me to express myself fully and openly for the first time in a church community. Knowing that there was a group of people who knew and fully embraced my identity was transformational. 

I deeply appreciated Unitarian Universalism’s emphasis on honoring many truths and nurturing the daunting task of living in love among all of them. Probably like your UU community, the incredible people at First Parish embodied this transformative questioning and the complimentary maxim “love is goodwill in action” while creating a supportive spiritual home. I was inspired to add my own effort into supporting this home for present church members and for the new seekers who came through our doors.

Something that began as a very small impression at a young age grew exponentially during my first three years at First Parish. I assisted with a particularly moving service, and the thought suddenly hit me: I should pursue UU ministry. Even after I graduated college and started my career in archaeology and museums, I haven’t shaken this call (though I’ve desperately tried–and failed). In the wake of recent work to dismantly white supremacy in our denomination, I felt that if I wanted to begin serving our community of loving movers and shakers, I should start now and set my fear and trepidation aside.

I attended the 2017 UU General Assembly, which proved to be a consequential one amidst the current work of dismantling the systemic racism in our denomination. The voices that span generations, races, ethnicities, genders, sexualities, and abilities are each vitally important. This year’s GA serves as our chance to continue giving credence and legitimacy to each of these voices. Also, the opportunity for our united UU family to network and connect during these challenging times is incredibly beneficial. Last year’s GA gave me new tools to dismantle my own complicity in white supremacy and colonialism, which was important to me as an aspiring white minister. I was also overwhelmed to be able to spend time speaking with GA attendees who were young, queer, and had experienced the same fears and hurt that I did. They empowered me in a way I’ve never experienced. For these reasons, attending the 2018 GA would serve as an important step in my ministerial–and personal–formation.

I’m currently working for a nonprofit living history museum. It’s a phenomenal place that educates underserved, inner city youth about history and its consequences, including ingrained racism, class divide, ethnocentrism, the need for environmental sustainability practices, and more. Unfortunately, working in the nonprofit world comes with its setbacks; it serves the heart and mind, but certainly not the wallet. However, after speaking at length with our Revered about the opportunities that the 2018 GA would present, I decided that I should try my best to make it there! I am grateful for the network and platform that is Faithify, and that it is available to those who struggle financially.

In order to offset the cost of attending General Assembly, I applied for and received a scholarship that covered the cost of registration and a small portion of expenses. However, I still have $500 to raise.

If you would like to consider donating to my fundraising campaign, I would be deeply grateful. As a young professional who understands the deep value of every dollar, I’ll highlight the fact that there is truly no amount that is too small. I am blessed to know such incredible people, and to have such supportive family and friends. Nothing that I could ever do would express my gratitude for the support you all give me, and no matter where this road takes me, each step will be for you all. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Lupembe flood victims

Lupembe Village is in Karonga District, northern part of Malawi. This  is my hometown . I left Malawi in 1993 to pursue a better life here in the United states.

On February 2nd 2018, I learned that  most of Lupembe residents  had lost everything due to the flood on February 1st 2018. It was estimated that there are 1,028 families  affected by the flood. Based on my understanding  20-30 families were assisted by the Red Cross of Malawi.  To date, hundreds of families are remain without assistance. I feel compelled to help the families, however am not able to do this alone.

The families are in need of basic necessities, such as clean water, medical supplies, rebuilding of homes, food and household goods. The residents of  Lupembe  are  predominantly farmers and fishermen. My church, Unitarian Society of Hartford, Connecticut, helped to raise money towards purchasing 80 bags of  maize. This assisted eighty families.

I need your help to provide assistance to remaining families. Your contribution can help achieve a solution.

If you have information of international organizations that can help with rebuilding their homes, please email them to me. I have direct contact with the member of parliament for Karonga District, Mr. Frank Mwenefumbo. His contact information will be provided upon request.

Raise Up Unitarian Culture, Build Places to Gather

To survive as a community, people create spaces to come together. Places to share traditions and cultural values. Music. Dance. Language. Food. Play. Story. It’s the same in Transylvania, Romania, as it is around the world.

First U of Yarmouth, Maine, and Unitarian Kaláka ask for your help to create and expand gathering spaces in three Unitarian communities in Transylvania. Varosfalva, in the video above, is one of the three communities raising funds through our Faithify campaign.

In Transylvania, “kaláka” is the practice of working together – like barn raising in the old days – to accomplish shared goals. Each of these community-building projects will be achieved locally by village volunteers, matched with your financial support.

How will the funds be used?

1 To create a safe play space for children in Városfalva

Since the village school was closed, there are no play spaces for children in the Unitarian community of Városfalva. This “kalaka” project, initiated by parents, creates a vital playground, a safe and healthy environment essential to a child’s development – an oasis of freedom.

The new playground will serve the village’s 30 children, as well as parents, village elders, and young people of all ages.  All will benefit from this communal gathering space, and all are eager to volunteer in some way to make it happen.

“Remember your childhood…”

“We plan to build the playground with volunteers and we want to buy all the equipment from local companies to support the neighboring economy… Remember your childhood and the joy you had on playgrounds. Every child deserves such an oasis of freedom.”  – A Városfalva volunteer

2 To raise the walls on a new church hall wing in Torockoszentgyorgy

Urgently in need of expansion, the church hall is the center of Torockoszentgyorgy life, hosting the growing number of community groups who gather there: youth groups, the women’s association, children’s workshops and more.

Volunteers will construct a new wing with running water for a kitchen and bathroom, meeting rooms, and space for communal celebrations. With this project, the village is determined to preserve its traditional way of life.

“We have started to lose our traditions…”

“In the last 70 years, the world has evolved and we have started to lose our traditions. Our goal is to bring back those traditions with kaláka projects like this. We began building a new wing for our Community Hall two years ago. We hope that this year we can raise the walls, brick by brick.”  – A Szentgyorgy community member

3 To restore the community hall in Brassó

In Brassó, the Hall of Brotherhood is where villagers in surrounding communities gather to celebrate and solidify their Unitarian Hungarian roots. Groups come together – 100 to 200 each week – to dance, sing, learn English, play music, make handicrafts, and share precious time with each other.

After 35 years of use, the hall is in desperate need of renovation. The floor is slippery and uneven; walls need re-plastering; and tables and chairs have deteriorated. Restoring this hall will transform this community.

“Where traditions and cultural values are transmitted…”

“This hall is where traditions and cultural values are transmitted. The room is used continuously and now needs extensive renovation to remain safe and attractive. Through this communal effort, the Brotherhood Hall can once again serve our community.” Brassó community leader

Please help! These kaláka projects provide places to gather, play, teach, learn, celebrate, and work together – helping to preserve Unitarian village life in Transylvania. 

Thank you!

 

Help Us Build Sanctuary

In April of 2017, the congregation of the First Unitarian Church of Providence, Rhode Island voted overwhelmingly to become a Sanctuary Church. In the months since then, we have been hard at work creating a space, making community connections and coming up with a plan for how we will carry this out. We are currently the only church in RI we know of close to being ready to offer sanctuary. 

Extra seating doubles as a sleeping area for family.

Extra seating doubles as a sleeping area for family.

One of the final hurdles we face in being ready to take in a guest is to install a shower in our building.  This is why we are launching this campaign. We need to raise money to install our shower, replace the current sink and plumbing in the room, add a countertop to the kitchen area, and install a lock on the door. These items will make our sanctuary space feel like a home away from home for the guest or family who seeks our help. Can you help us meet our fundraising goal of $7,500.00?

If for some reason we are not able to fulfill our goal of becoming a sanctuary church, we will donate any unused funds to another sanctuary project in our area.

This journey we are embarking on is filled with uncertainty, but as Unitarian Universalists, we feel called to stand with and support those in our community who are vulnerable to unjust deportation. We feel called to resist those who would break up families and communities based on discrimination, fear, and hate. We thank you for considering our call to help.