Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Who said there’s nothing good on TV these days? A reality show is the surprising inspiration for the latest Salvation Army initiative in Miami.
In the style of NBC’s “Biggest Loser,” men from The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in Miami are competing to drop some serious pounds. As the ARC program helps them control their addictions, the friendly competition helps them gain control of their overall physical health!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
It used to be that bullies could only flex their muscle during school hours, and the ring of the school bell released would-be victims to the safety of their homes, removed from conflict.
But today, technology contributes to cyber bullies having the 24/7 ability to expose hateful, personal or humiliating attacks before a virtual public platform, making the threat nearly impossible to get away from.
Tragically, as mourned by recent news headlines, several bright and talented young victims of cyber bullying have felt that the only true escape was to take their own lives.
What resources are available to help protect kids and young adults from the dangers of cyber bullying?
Earlier this year The Salvation Army partnered with Enough is Enough (EIE), the nationally leading organization in making the internet safer for children and families, to launch the Internet Safety 101 Program. It offers educational materials and online tools at www.internetsafety101.org to help adults and kids guard themselves from online dangers.
EIE President Donna Rice Hughes stated in an op-ed that 42% of kids have been bullied while online. That’s 42% too many.
Join with The Salvation Army in saying, “Enough is enough!” Visit www.internetsafety101.org or EIE’s website www.enough.org today.
Monday, October 18, 2010
More than 28 million kids have parents who work outside the home, and (Source: US Dept. of Labor) as many as 15 million kids have no place to go after school (Source: U.S. Census)
The hours between 3 and 6pm, when children generally get out of school and their parents get off of work, is when juvenile crime is most likely to occur. Law enforcement considers these hours a “danger zone.”
In the economically depressed Eastside community of St. Paul, Minnesota, The Salvation Army’s Eastside After-School program offers children a safe place to learn and play away from negative influence like drugs and gangs, while parents have peace of mind knowing their children are not on the streets when they’re still at work.
As a part of program’s homework help and tutoring sessions, local police officers serve as volunteers, helping provide positive influences and building relationships within the community.
Officer Robert Merrill has been a part of the program since 2008, spending a few hours every week helping young kids with their math, reading and writing assignments or whatever subject matter needs attention.
“The kids get to see police officers in an environment where they’re not dealing with a confrontational situation,” he said. “They see the more humane side of us. A lot of times their impression of law enforcement comes from them seeing us hauling people to jail and putting them into handcuffs. When kids and families see us [volunteering in their community], people might have a more positive view of our profession.”
For the officers, the learning process is reciprocal. Officer Merrill shared, “For me it’s allowed more insight into these kids’ lives than I’d normally have. They’re great kids, but they have a lot of struggles. We get to spend one-on-one time with them and they’ll tell you what’s going on in their lives outside of school. If we can offer them advice, steer them in the right direction, or help that stewarding of the theme of being able to helps and assist people, that the biggest reward I get out of it.”
The relationships and insight Officer Merrill’s gained has also translated outside of the classroom. Many officers unfortunately have had to deal with the same kids not only as students but also as crime victims. But, thanks to the foundation of trust that has begun to develop as a result of their interactions in the classroom, the children feel safer, more comfortable, and are more likely to cooperate with Merrill and other officers during times of crisis.
Regarding The Salvation Army’s Eastside After-School Program, Officer Merrill summed up, “There are not many programs like this around and certainly not in the neighborhoods of this city. It’s a program that will show [the kids] their education is important and that will hopefully lead to them being a proud member of society and keep them away from negative influences like gangs and crime. It’s a great program, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
The Salvation Army thanks Officer Merrill and our other law enforcement volunteers for their invaluable investment of time into the youth of St. Paul and our Salvation Army programs.
How do after-school programs play a role in the life of you and your children? Visit www.salvationarmyusa.org to visit our poll question on this topic. Hurry, today is the last day to answer before a new question is featured tomorrow!
Friday, October 15, 2010
You’re invited to celebrate with The Salvation Army of Philadelphia this Saturday, October 16 at the ribbon cutting of their new Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center! It’s the 9th center to open in the United States as a result of Mrs. Kroc’s generous gift in 2004, and it’s expected to double the Salvation Army’s social service impact in Philly, serving 750-1,000 people per day.
After the 1:30pm ribbon cutting, there will be a dedication ceremony, self-guided tours and free concert, along with the Center’s first worship service Sunday morning. They’re not wasting any time in opening their doors to the public, and after seeing the Kroc’s construction photos, we can’t WAIT to see the final product!
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And yes, the Center will be awesome. The three-pool Aquatic Center, two-story state-of-the art fitness center, multi-sport athletic field and community garden don’t even begin to describe all the amenities and opportunities the Kroc will offer Philadelphians. Plus, it’s going to create more than 400 jobs and $22 million in economic impact annually. I can’t think of a reason not to be excited!
We hope you can make it Saturday, and if not, find more information (and there’s a lot more interesting information that we can’t fit into this blog), visit www.SalvationArmyKrocCenter.org.
You can also find ongoing updates at The Salvation Army’s Philadelphia Kroc Center page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SalvationArmyPhiladelphia) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/SalArmyPhilly).
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The holidays are right around the corner, and many community Salvation Army units are searching for volunteers to assist with their seasonal activities and services. The holiday season is generally the busiest time for us and the extra hands lent by volunteers make all the difference in helping us stretch our service to people in need.
Can you find time, anywhere from one hour to a few days, to help The Salvation Army serve your community this season? Maybe you’d like to help with a toy drive, be a Christmas Red Kettle Bell Ringer, assist with meal distributions or just jump in wherever you’re needed most.
Visit your local Salvation Army’s website to see if they are offering information and sign-up for volunteer opportunities. If you don’t see anything online yet, just give your community’s unit a call and ask what you can do. You can find your nearest Salvation Army by visiting www.salvationarmyusa.org and typing in your zip code in the top menu bar’s “Locations” field.
Scott Bedio, Archivist for The Salvation Army USA’s National Headquarters, has volunteered as a Christmas Red Kettle Bell Ringer every holiday season for the past 20 years and believes “there’s no better way to give back.”
Over the years he’s come to recognize many of the faces who pass by and donate to his kettle season after season. He says many strangers even feel compelled to talk to him about their personal stories of how The Salvation Army has helped them in times of need.
One of Scott’s favorite parts of being a Bell Ringer is seeing what he calls “generational giving” – when children, parents and grandparents share in the tradition of donating to the red kettles. He also looks forward to when his son is old enough to participate with him in his annual bell ringing tradition.
For those of you who are considering being a first time Bell Ringer, Scott offered some great advice:
Dress in Layers. Standing out in cold weather can be the hardest part of bell ringing, so covering up from head to toe can help you endure the elements with less shivering.
Be Creative. People love to hear the bell, but you can also mix it up. Scott sometimes brings his tuba and plays Christmas music when he wants to give his hands a break from ringing. Others have also been known to sing!
It’s All About Your Rhythm. If you don’t want to wear out your arm, Scott advises to not overuse your arm and elbow when ringing by keeping your bell near your waist and focusing most of your movements in your hand. But the technique of bell ringing is flexible so feel free to work out a style of your own.
As we wrapped up our conversation, I asked Scott what’s the most important thing people should know before they volunteer as a bell ringer?
After thinking a bit, he replied, “Have a smile on your face and enjoy the people. It’s a special time.”
Does this sound like something you’d like to be involved with? Contact your local Salvation Army today to get started.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Dallas Cowboys greats Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman announced that The Salvation Army will be the owner and operator of the newly announced Super Bowl XLV Youth Education Town (YET) in Arlington, TX.
The $2 million project will target homeless and at-risk youth in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, specifically those from neighborhoods that suffer from higher crime, drug, and gang activity levels.
The Salvation Army is honored to be a part of this initiative and have the opportunity to expand service to the community.
What exactly will the center have to offer? Everything from a fitness area and athletic fields to computer labs, music instruction, film and video production and more. Adult continuing education and drug prevention programs will also be offered, along with an expansion of The Salvation Army’s emergency financial assistance program, food pantry, and after-school programs. Learn more about NFL YETs here.
Officials say they even hope to finish it before the 2012 Super Bowl! Get more details at Dallas Morning News.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Did you know that 1 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day?
On Sunday, October 10 (10.10.10), an organization named Micah Challenge is bringing together 10,000,000 people through its worldwide Lend A Hand campaign which calls for united commitment to remembering and seeking justice for impoverished people. The Salvation Army World Services Office (SAWSO) is partnering with Micah Challenge in this commitment to the poor.
The Lend a Hand campaign comes in response to the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals to reduce world poverty by half by 2015. The campaign is a push for individuals and world leaders to not give up on this promise.
If you’d like to ‘lend a hand’ to this effort, all you need to do is:
Lend a Hand Campaign 10.10.10
1. PRAY on 10.10.10 with millions around the world for justice for the world’s poor.
2. PROMISE to be part of bringing change and commit to living a life of justice. Symbolize this promise by making a hand-print!
3. PRESS your leaders for their wholehearted commitment to eradicating poverty. Mail your handprints to Micah Challenge, who will deliver these powerful symbols as a message to President Obama. (Send to: Micah Challenge USA, 17 SE 3rd Ave. #310, Portland, OR 97214)
To sign up, or to find more information and useful materials for the Lend a Hand Campaign, visit http://micahchallenge.us/action/lendahand.html.
Leaders and members of Salvation Army churches will find helpful resources on this page specifically dedicated to helping their congregations participate in this initiative: http://micahchallenge.us/action/salvation-army.html.
Thanks for your helping hands in the global fight against extreme poverty!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Chicago’s all abuzz these days with Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s jump into the mayoral race.
But that’s not all that’s going on in the Windy City this week. City residents, along with the hopeful candidate who’s equally known for being a “workout fanatic,” may be interested in some other news-worthy buzz from The Salvation Army:
This Thursday The Salvation Army is officially breaking ground on Chicago’s Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center. Plus, the Chicago White Sox have generously donated $1 million to the construction efforts!
The future facility will be a gym enthusiast’s dream, housing an indoor sports complex, basketball and tennis courts, an aquatic center, a state of the art fitness center, a climbing wall, basketball courts and more.
But if you’re not as much an exercise enthusiast as Rahm, don’t worry. The Kroc Center will offer a lot more than just opportunities for physical activity. It will also house a Family Life and Education center and an Academy of the Arts, where Chicagoans can have access to after-school programs, job training, educational classes, and workshops that have never before been so easily accessible. The Kroc will offer a little bit of everything for almost every interest represented by Chicagoans!
In an official press release White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf stated, “Our commitment to the development of the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center is part of a dedication to bettering the lives of all Chicagoans. The White Sox, as a professional sports organization, are accountable to all of our fans and the entire Chicago community. We commend the Salvation Army for their work and devotion to the growth of people of all ages, races and genders, and we hope White Sox Charities’ support will help the organization achieve its mission of building a community center to serve Chicagoans of all ages.”
If you can’t make it to Thursday’s groundbreaking, learn more about this awesome community initiative at the Kroc’s website www.kroccenterchicago.org or on the center’s Facebook page (KrocChicago).
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
A recent study found that parents play a significant role in influencing their children when it comes to supporting charitable causes.
Children of parents who do not support a nonprofit are only 25% likely to grow up to be a donor, while parents involved in nonprofits increase their children’s odds of becoming a donor more than 80%.
This begs the question, what kind of example do we want to set for our kids? What habits and beliefs are we instilling in them? Most of us agree that raising responsible and caring citizens is important, especially with the growing rate of need in our communities.
Now you don’t have to be a board member of a charity to teach your kids about generosity and responding to need. I remember what a strong impact my parents left on me when they faithfully put a check into the church offering plate each Sunday and gave me a dollar or few coins so that I could contribute as well.
In a post titled, “Early Lessons in Generosity,” CBS Moneywatch’s ‘Bank of Dad’ blog offers some broad but practical suggestions about how parents can teach kids about philanthropy, such as bringing them with you next time you donate your family’s used items to a Salvation Army Family Thrift Store.
And with the holidays just around the corner, there will be plenty of opportunities for adults to involve kids in giving. How about letting them drop some money into a Salvation Army Red Kettle or pick out a toy for our Angel Tree program for a child in need?
If we want to ensure that the next generation understands the importance of giving, the best way is to make giving a family affair.
For information on programs and services offered by The Salvation Army, visit our website at www.salvationarmyusa.org.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
During July 2008-July 2009, 1,574 victims of domestic abuse were denied emergency shelter in Indiana due to lack of space, according to the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. During that same time period 53 deaths in the state were caused by domestic abuse.
Donna*, an abuse victim and mother of three, feared for her life but found it hard to escape from her husband’s escalating violence because she didn’t know where to go.
The Salvation Army of Indiana is doing everything they can to make sure victims find safe shelter, and they’ve just received a $30,000 grant from The Indianapolis Foundation that will help in their efforts.
The funds will support their Emergency Bed Space program run by The Salvation Army’s Women’s and Children’s Shelter, which coordinates space availability at area shelters and makes sure every spot is filled. The grant will help cover everything from meals, linens, and mattresses to housing costs and more.
Through the Emergency Bed Space program, Donna* was able to find room at a shelter for her and her children where they stayed for several months before saving up enough money for a place of their own (read her testimony here).
Since 2003, hundreds of families and individuals with stories like Donna’s* have found shelter and new beginnings through The Salvation Army Indiana’s Emergency Bed Space program, and The Indianapolis Foundation’s generous grant will help ensure hundreds more continue to do so.
Read the full story about the grant award and The Emergency Bed Space program at The Salvation Army Indiana’s website http://salvationarmyindiana.org/.
*Name changed to protect confidentiality