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.
Help Barbara attend...
In the last five years my church involvement has evolved from being a Worship Associate to creating new programs and promoting our current programs to a wider audience. My mission involves looking at how we view economic justice to allow more people of all means the benefit of Being a UU. By creating, this Faithify account and asking the wider UU community for your financial support to attend this year’s GA, I hope to bring increased awareness of the importance of supporting those with the time and energy to attend but without the resources to do so.
“As West Shore’s newest Commissioned Lay Minister, Barbara brings both creativity and insight to the projects she takes on in the church. Her infectious enthusiasm has helped transform the idea of a mid-week worship/fellowship experience into a regular, sustainable program. Thanks to Barbara and her growing team, Thursdays @ West Shore is thriving!”
Rev. Patricia Hart, Interim Senior Minister
West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church
I am asking for your contributions to help fund my airfare ($500) and lodging ($600). Please feel free to share widely with other UU friends and colleagues.
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!
The Donor Within
There's no denying that it takes consistent effort to run a successful fundraiser, but there IS a key to "unlock" new donors - and it's right inside you.
Invest in Educational...
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.
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!
Ramapough Lenape Art...
STRETCH GOAL ADDED: $800 – see below for details.
I am running this program as part of my internship for Community Ministry, with the Center for Earth Ethics, supporting indigenous rights and climate justice. My home congregation is the Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains, NY, my internship committee is at All Souls, NYC.
The Rampough Lenape are the original peoples of Connecticut, Rockland to southern New York and northern New Jersey. They are recognized by the state of New Jersey, but are not federally recognized, due to prejudice and racism. They continue to live in their ancestral lands and continue to experience encroachment by various entities. They have experienced toxic dumping on their lands which has caused cancer clusters and decimated many in the community.
Like many communities in the country, the Ramapough have had to deal with the effects of the opioid epidemic. The proposed after school program, Art & Literacy Lab, is a way to bring an educational program to the Ramapough youth, to allow them to process their concerns through literacy, art and creative expression and to create art connected to their Ramapough Lenape heritage.
The first session will begin with a small meal, followed by a sharing circle, where participants will discuss their interests in order for me to assess how to go forward. We will discuss how we will interact as community, setting norms or rules of engagement, in order to create a safe space. I will share with them my notebooks which demonstrate using art to create poetry. I will show them a selection of an image for them to respond to in writing. After they have written their response, they will share their observations for discussion. There will be individual work for students to choose literature from a variety of sources offered. The individual session will allow me to provide one on one support where needed. (Subsequent sessions will begin with a meal, sharing circle for check in and a sample piece of literature.)
A menu of options will be available for creative expression through writing, such as re-writing an ending, writing from another character’s perspective or changing one’s identity. Students could change a text to become a graphic novel, write a rap, continue journaling. Materials will be provided for drawing, painting, collage, modeling with clay. Use of DVD’s on history and culture will also be used in the program.
This program is a four-week, eight session program, two hours on Monday and Tuesday from 3:30-5:30. The program will begin in mid-March and end in mid-April. By the end of the program, students will have created a project to show to their families at the close.
I am a retired DOE teacher/administrator who has taught special education to Middle School students. The program will serve students from age 11-17. The funds raised will pay for books, journals, art materials, snacks for students and pay for gas and tolls to Mahwah, NJ from Westchester.
RAMAPOUGH Lenape NATION (MUNSEE)
March 6, 2019
To Whom It May Concern,
We at the Ramapough Lenape Community Center are looking forward to having an After-school program this spring. The Art and Literacy Lab will be a pilot program, six-weeks long, twelve sessions and will begin the work of providing an educational outlet for our middle to high school age students. I am looking forward to seeing our children engage in literacy and producing art work that they can be proud of as well as have the opportunity to engage in history and cultural practices. This is invaluable to our community and Mrs. Thombs is an experienced educator who will provide this program for us.
I heartily endorse The Art and Literacy Lab and am hoping that this program gets the funding support as it will greatly benefit our children.
Chief Dwaine Perry
Help send Valley UU youth on their Heritage Pilgrimage to Boston!
Valley Unitarian Universalist (Chandler, AZ) Congregation’s traditional Coming of Age youth heritage trip to Boston provides students with a week of history and hands-on experience for lessons that will last a lifetime. For youth whose closest sister congregation is a 45 min drive, imagine the thrill of 3 Unitarian Universalist congregations within walking distance of their hostel!
The Coming of Age program is a rite of passage in the lives of our faith’s teenagers. The youth participants have made a five-month commitment to exploring their personal beliefs, finding how their beliefs fit within the larger context of Unitarian Universalism’s history. During the program, and in preparation for the heritage trip, the youth meet regularly to discuss readings and journaling assignments and meet with leaders and mentors. They tackle a wide range of topics including Good & Evil, Unity & Diversity, Rituals, Spiritual Practices, and the afterlife. They select and carry out both a community service project and a social justice project. After crafting their own statements of personal belief, their credo, they present a Coming of Age service in late spring. The year culminates in a class heritage trip to Boston in early summer. UU history will come alive when the class visits many famous sites.
Unitarian Universalist’s past struggles for justice, reflections on humanity and our environment, decisions regarding ritual, and even choices regarding architecture will become real for our youth in the historic churches, graves, statues and other sites they will visit. We are looking forward to visiting the both the historic 25 Beacon St and the new Farnsworth St. UUA offices, the Boston Tea Party museum, the UU Social Justice offices, walking the Freedom Trail and exploring Kings Chapel’s Bells & Bones tour!
In the words of the Unitarian Universalist Association, “WHY PLAN A PILGRIMAGE? A youth pilgrimage can be a great learning experience for all involved, help in building community, and be fun. A trip to Boston can help to make our liberal heritage a real part of the lives of our youth. They can visit the churches where important events occurred, see the public statues of our heroes, the graves of our forebears, and the office of our presidents. They can also meet the staff at the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), ask questions, and realize that real people are working on behalf of all of us to make Unitarian Universalism a force for good in our society today. Tours and historical sites are not the only ways they will learn on the trip. Experiencing the excitement of new places, talking with friends, learning to respect the boundaries of others when all are tired and hungry, making decisions as a group, and figuring out how to handle yourself away from home are all valuable learning opportunities.”
This year, our students have already raised money through donut sales, painting classes, a Valentine’s Dance-a-Thon, an Italian dinner, and an Easter pancake breakfast. We’re turning to the UU community for help getting this inspiring group to Boston in June 2019.
The students will continue their fundraising efforts through the entire academic year, seeking funding both within their own UU community and from the wider community. The group still needs additional funding to cover travel from Chandler, AZ to Massachusetts and for accommodations for the students and their chaperons.
Won’t you consider helping them meet their goal to get to Boston this summer?
UU Church of...
Your donation ensures that all youth at UU Church of Silver Spring can attend the Boston trip. Donations cover transport, housing and food.