Help our MidMaine YoUUth service project team get to Safe Passage/Camino Seguro in Guatemala City this July!
Safe Passage/Camino Seguro is a top-rated charity working in Guatemala City since 1999 to bring hope, education, and opportunity to the children and families trying to make a living around the city’s garbage dump—one of the largest landfills in Central America. Their mission: “We help children in the Guatemala City garbage dump community break the cycle of poverty through education, emphasizing life skills and perseverance in order to thrive in work and contribute to their community.”
Our group of UU youth and adult leaders will serve as Support Teams at Safe Passage for a week, engaging with “affiliates of all ages – from the littlest learners in the Jardín to the women in Creamos.” We will learn about Safe Passage and their programs while we provide valuable assistance: in English classes, as classroom assistants, planning and leading activities in our Escuilita English classes, meeting and working with the women-artisans of Creamos (buying their fabulous jewelry), and supporting the operations team with much-needed tasks, etc. It is a hand-on opportunity to see how an organization clear in its mission can make a difference, and give us the opportunity to do so as well by showing up and helping out.
Our MidMaine YoUUth group has been preparing and fundraising for this trip for the last 18 mos. Last year, we studied about and engaged with our Wabanaki neighbors, learning about our shared, painful history. This year, as we prepare to go to Guatemala, the lessons from Maine are helping us understand more about the conditions for indigenous people in Guatemala, including discrimination, poverty, and lack of education. and opportunity. Our time with Safe Passage will change our lives.
The participants each make a personal contribution of $600, collected over two years to ensure it is affordable for any of the youth in our congregations who want to participate. These personal dues cover about 25% of the total cost. The rest we raise through an ask to our individual friends and family, as well as the members of our four congregations. This Faithify campaign is a way of extending the reach of our ask throughout our UU denomination, while spreading the word about Safe Passage/Camino Seguro (https://www.safepassage.org/) and our collaborative youth program. We are proud of what we have and will accomplish together!
Youth Group Immigration Justice Immersion Learning Trip to Tucson, AZ
We have 9 youth from the Mount Diablo UU Church in Walnut Creek, CA youth group and 3 adult advisors traveling to Tucson, Arizona on July 28th to Aug 1st to participate in a learning immersion experience on immigration justice. This is with UUCSJ’s Youth Activate program (uucsj.org/activatetucson/)!
In Tucson they will engage in a program of interactive immigration justice education in order to have a better understanding of immigration justice issues and develop skills for continued advocacy in our Contra Costa communities.
This Campaign will help us get there!
In preparing for this journey we have been fundraising within our congregation all year. Through congregational lunches, the Holiday Craft Faire, donut & bagel sales, grant money through UUCSJ, family contributions, and a car wash, we are well on our way to meeting our fundraising needs. This campaign is our last piece of the puzzle. We are within $3000 of our goal to fund this trip. This Faithify campaign is one of our last efforts to cover the added costs of sending such an abundance of people.
We are hoping to raise at least $1500 to help close the funding gap and ensure the program is accessible for all participants. If you donate and we raise $1500, or more, that money will be collected and go toward our travel funds (if we do not raise $1500 no money will be collected from anyone).
Any donations made that exceed our Faithify goal of $1500 will help us further meet the funding need of $3000!
Thank you from the youth group of MDUUC!
Why do we go to Tucson, AZ?
MDUUC has made a commitment to better understanding and working towards immigration justice through multiple methods, such as accompaniment efforts with immigrants and becoming a physical sanctuary church. This program is an opportunity for our teens to gain greater experience with the pressing issue of immigration justice and be able to connect with and support the work their congregation is prioritizing. By collaborating with local organizers who are welcoming and affirming across age, sexuality, gender, race, economics, and physical abilities, and participating on reflections of race and class our youth group participants will learn how to apply our faith’s values into the wider world.
Our participants will be sharing about their experience and what they learned at MDUUC’s August 11th worship service.
For your generous contributions to our campaign, and if we reach our goal, our youth and advisers will thank you in the following fabulous ways:
- For a $15 contribution … you’ll receive a thank you in the worship service’s order of service on August 11th!
- For a $30 contribution…you’ll receive the same thank you and an original “I support youth ministry at MDUUC Button!”
- For a $50 contribution, or higher! …you’ll receive a personalized thank you note with youth group artwork on it as well as a all of the above!
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.
Transformation: UU Youth...
In 2015, the First Religious Society (Unitarian Universalist) in Newburyport, MA for the first time sent a youth delegation to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The impact of this trip was profound. In fact, just a few weeks ago, when members of that delegation held a panel discussion for this year’s delegation, several of them said that the trip is something that they think about almost daily.
“The time we spent at Pine Ridge was shocking,” one of them has written. “It felt surreal to experience a reality in this country that is so drastically different from what we believe the “American” experience to be—we were face to face with the other side of history that doesn’t get mentioned, and it was beautiful, frightening, and intensely frustrating to see and hear from a culture that the American government did its very best to erase.”
These trips help to strengthen a growing justice ethic in our teenagers. This is some of our most important and meaningful church work; this is faith in action.
This June, eighteen of our youth will make the trip to Pine Ridge. In addition to working, they will have educational and cultural experiences with the people of the Reservation. We’re partnering with Amizade, a Pittsburgh-based fair trade learning organization with projects all over the world. This is a new partnership for us and we’ve been excited to hear the strong reviews they’ve received from other UU congregations. Amizade’s philosophy is one of solidarity; all of the work we do will be directed by the people of the Reservation.
The youth going on the trip have committed to a year-long program of justice learning, community building, and fundraising. So that we, can make this trip truly accessible to all, regardless of each family’s financial status, we’re seeking to raise $14,800. Other fundraisers have included creating a Haunted Church at Halloween, hosting a waffle breakfast, providing childcare for parent events, and having tables at local festivals to lead children’s activities and educate the public about Pine Ridge. Future fundraisers include an art show, yard sale, and car wash.
Thank you for your support. Every donation truly counts and gets us closer to our goal.
Plano, TX Youth Service Trip to New Orleans
We are sending youth and adults from Community UU Church to New Orleans on June 12-17. They will work with local partners to learn more about the rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Katrina and to add their labor to current projects.
We can send our largest group ever if you help us meet or exceed our Faithify goal of $750.
Since the first New Orleans service trip in 2010, this service trip has grown to include more and more youth. Last year 7 youth and 7 adults participated. This year 12 youth and 7 adults signed up for the trip.
Our youth group is growing! The youth group has increased from 8 in 2017 to over 12 youth attending every Sunday. For the early May bake sale, 21-24 junior and senior high youth created wonderful treats in a member’s kitchen. The advisors regularly need to recruit additional volunteers to staff the youth classes. We are running to catch up with this growth.
Between fundraising throughout the year and grant applications, we are within $2200 of our goal to fund the service trip. This Faithify project is one of our last efforts to cover the added costs of sending such an abundance of people.
Why do we go to New Orleans? The recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina continues for many neighborhoods in the area. For the past eight years, members of Community Unitarian Universalist Church have been coordinating with local organizers in New Orleans to complete individual projects for area residents. Members have an ongoing relationship with the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal (http://celsjr.org). The Center for Ethical Living has its offices in the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans (http://firstuuno.org).
This year our housing expenses will support another service organization. We will stay at Molly’s House, a mission of Trinity Episcopal Church in New Orleans (https://www.trinitynola.com/mission).