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!
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.
2019 Miami Valley UU Fellowship Teen Trek to the United Nations
SUPPORTING A NEW GENERATION OF UU PEACEBUILDERS
The intergenerational seminar, “EQUITY IN ACTION — GENDER IN AN INTERSECTING WORLD” April 11 – 13 in NYC is an opportunity to collaborate with others while learning how to be a global activist. Through workshops, peer and expert-led panel discussions, community building activities, and worship services, participants undergo a transformative process of learning, reflection, and growth on the topic of gender.
With a deep passion for and commitment to international human rights, youth and adults from all over North America will dig deeply into issues; our Miami Valley UU Fellowship team will return to Miami Valley with suggestions for further congregational education and action.
Your donation to this project will fund expenses for our youth and sponsors as they travel to the conference. Our youth have each funded their own registration fees. Your Faithify donations will go towards travel expenses for this year’s conference. Any extra funds raised this year will help establish a foundation for future years as we seek to make this an annual event for the youth in our congregation.
MVUUF Youth who participate in the UNO Teen Trek will:
- Gain a deeper appreciation of the UU-UNO’s vital social justice work around the world;
- Travel with and meet other UU youth who share similar values;
- Practice leadership skills by engaging the congregation in the UU-UNO mission upon their return.
MVUUF plans to offer the Teen Trek as an annual venue for offering leadership training to youth and young adults. Your investment in this effort will give young people an opportunity to find their voice and offer their service in the life of our MVUUF congregation, community and wider world.
Helps us Spread...
We have 3 youth and 3 advisors traveling to the Youth Ministry Revival in Bethesda Maryland on Mar. 1st-3rd. Youth Ministry Revivals (YMR) are weekend-long events that seek to inspire, innovate and celebrate Unitarian Universalist youth ministry and the first one our youth have a chance to attend!
This Campaign will help us get there!
We are hoping to raise at least $850 to help with airfare for everyone. If you donate and we raise $850 or more that money will be collected and go toward our travel funds, (if we do not raise $850 no money will be collected from anyone). We hope you will help us reach out our initial goal! The total cost of our travels, airfare and a minivan rental in Maryland comes to $1,317.60 so that is our stretch goal.
This year’s Youth Ministry Revival theme is “Answering the Call of Love”.
Our youth are getting ready to:
Experience. . .
Dynamic and interactive worship
Inspiring and innovative workshops
Explore . . .
Spiritual practices for centering, healing and resiliency
What it means to live UU in the world
Build. . .
Relationships with youth and adult leaders from across the country
Deeper intercultural understanding
With ideas and experiences to share and inspire our youth ministry and congregational work here in in Nashua.
To lead a youth led worship service about this revival on Mar. 17th
If you contribute to our campaign and we reach out goal. Our UU youth and advisers will thank you in the following fabulous ways…
- If you contribute $15 … you’ll get a shout out thank you in the Youth Service on Mar. 18th!
- If you contribute $30…you’ll get a shout out and an original “I support youth ministry at UUCN Sticker!
- If you contribute $50…you’ll get a personalized thank you note with youth group artwork on it as well as a shout an an original “I support youth ministry at UUCN Sticker!”
- If you contribute $75 or more…you will get all of the above thank you including an invitation to a special youth-led event where we will teach you the songs and games and lessons learned at the youth ministry revival!
Thank you for supporting Youth Ministry at Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua!
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.
Children’s Defense Fund...
Nowhere is the shadow of racism longer in American than when it comes to educational disparities. You can change this.
Our six-week, evidence-based program, developed by the Children’s Defense Fund, has been proven through rigorous research to improve literacy skills, build character and engage parents. During our first two summers, All Souls hosted the only CDF Freedom School in the state of Indiana. In 2017, we got 501(c)3 status, and in 2018 we launched a second site.
Thanks to our donors last year, 83% of our scholars experienced no summer-learning loss of gained literacy skills. Normally their peers would lose 2-3 months of reading ability; such summer learning loss, compounded year-after-year accounts for 50% of the achievement gap. Faithify is our single largest individual donor source. $125 covers the cost of a scholar’s program for one week. Thank you for helping us mitigate the educational disparity gap that keeps so many of our children behind.
There have been three waves of “Freedom Schools” in American history, and Unitarian Universalists have been part of all three. Northern whites, often women, went to the South soon after emancipation to teach formally-enslaved persons to read. Then in 1964, as part of the Mississippi Freedom Summer, the National Council of Churches and SNCC formed summer “Freedom Schools,” focused specifically on literacy, humanities, science and math. These schools, often “taught” by white, northern college students, also had a larger purpose: to show young, Southern black Americans that they were valued and to engage them in community problem-solving.
The Children’s Defense Fund has initiated the third wave with the development a modern, evidence-based summer learning and family engagement model. The model retains the historical focus on offering a culturally-appropriate program designed to empower and promote civic engagement and literacy. The model is defined by five essential components:
- High-quality academic enrichment, which includes age- and culturally-appropriate books that are part of an Integrated Reading Curriculum involving reinforcing activities, field trips and games.
- Parent and family involvement at multiple levels, from morning introductory activities to classroom assistance to supporting community projects.
- Social action and civic engagement by our children and youth so that they are prepared to be active citizens. Participants engage in solving community problems and do social justice work, including through a Children’s Defense Fund yearly National Day of Social Action.
- Intergenerational servant leadership development, by engaging college students and recent graduates to deliver the program, many of whom have had Freedom School experience themselves.
- Nutrition, health and mental health, by requiring programs to provide—at a minimum—two USDA-compliant meals and a snack each day of operation, while training staff to recognize the importance of providing therapeutic health and mental health services.
With your financial support, All Souls Unitarian Church would offer six-weeks of programming for 50 school-age children in summer 2019. Indianapolis has pervasive educational and opportunity disparities and our congregation sits in a high-need community. The church is in close proximity to two struggling public elementary schools. Robert Lee Frost is 87% African-American and over 80% free and reduced-price lunch. In 2014, only 51% of students passed both English and Math in ISTEP. Only 65% of students passed the IREAD-3. At Brook Park, 76% of students are African-American or Hispanic and over 76% qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Only 52% passed ISTEP in 2014. Opportunity disparities in is high. Nearly 25% of individuals in the All Souls zip code (46226) live in poverty and nearly 40% of children live at or below the poverty level. We know from national-level research that poverty is correlated with fewer summer learning and other enrichment opportunities.
All Souls has already begun to build a diverse coalition of organizations and individuals committed to making a Freedom School a permanent fixture in Indianapolis. Our partners include, but are not limited to, the Indianapolis Freedom School Partnership (the umbrella organization we helped form), the neighborhood elementary schools near the church, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis, neighborhood organizations, the League of Women Voters, the Indianapolis Public Library, and the education departments of Indiana University, Butler University, and Marion University.
“Indiana Black Expo, as the backbone support organization for the Your Life Matters Initiative, is in full support of All Souls’ endeavors with the development of a Freedom School in Indianapolis.” – Tanya Bell President & CEO Indiana Black Expo, Inc.
“The development of a Freedom School in Indianapolis is an important service and support for youth in the northeast part of our city. I applaud All Souls Unitarian Church for its vision and for making social justice visible for children who need a supportive community and gifts that participation in a Freedom School provides.” – Dr. Cindy Jackson, Positive Discipline Coordinator, IPS district, and member of the education committee of the Your Life Matters Task Force