CNN followed 2009’s Journey for Change ambassadors on their trip to South Africa.
This summer the world got a whole lot bigger for 30 inner-city youth from several New York City Salvation Army Community Centers.
The teens and pre-teens spent 2 weeks in South Africa serving in impoverished shanty towns, working with orphaned children, visiting HIV/AIDS clinics and more – a once in a life-time experience, but also a sobering one as they confronted difficult, real-life global issues.
The opportunity was made possible by Journey for Change, an organization started by Malaak Rock (wife of comedian Chris Rock) aimed at educating and empowering at-risk youth to rise above the negative temptations in their communities and stand out as leaders.
For anyone trading the comfort of home for third world conditions, it would be impossible not to have your priorities and perspectives shaken up. These kids seem to be no exception. Their frequent blog entries during their trip document their personal insights into appreciating the South African people and culture, wrestling with the communities’ struggles, and reevaluating their own lives in the US. Check out their original blogs here.
But two weeks in Africa is only the beginning. Having just arrived back in NY this month, the students are now starting a yearlong role as “Global Ambassadors” to promote local and international advocacy, service and education initiatives.
As these Salvation Army youths settle back into their own neighborhoods, they will still have to face negative influences from extremely high school drop-out rates to drugs and gangs. But everything they have seen, done and learned during their time in Africa and yearlong Ambassador program will serve as a lynch pin to helping them make positive, long term decisions and hopefully inspire others to do so as well.
Learn more about how Journey for Change is raising up student leaders HERE, or visit Malaak’s Angel Rock Project website at www.angelrockproject.com.
As a bonus, we’ve added a short video below of Malaak discussing how Chris Rock’s many childhood experiences Salvation Army Community Center in Brooklyn caused her to realize that The Salvation Army was an organization she wanted to partner with – and send her own kids to!
Learn more about how The Salvation Army is serving the Greater New York area by visiting their local website at www.salvationarmyny.org.
With so much disaster response taking place right now, we wanted to provide you with a quick update on some of The Salvation Army’s international relief efforts:
It’s reported that more than 10 percent of the Pakistan’s population has been affected by the flooding. The Salvation Army is working in the provinces of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where they continue to pass out household items such as bedding and cooking utensils.
The Salvation Army is preparing to distribute nearly 5,000 tents to families in the south of the country. This will begin in the days following the end of the Muslim festival of Ramadan.
The relief effort is quickening pace as the needed supplies are becoming more available. Plans are in place to help more than 16,000 families in the next month. So far almost 2,000 families have received goods from Salvation Army teams.
To read the full report from our International Headquarters, click here.
Major Drew Ruthven of International Emergency Services (with back to camera) hears the story of the flood and the impact on one woman’s family. The family house was under 16′ of water.
INDONESIA VOLCANO ERUPTION
Salvation Army personnel in Indonesia are providing emergency assistance to those made homeless by the eruption of Mount Sinabung on the island of Sumatra. About 29,000 people living in the shadow of the volcano were evacuated.
The local Salvation Army Compassion in Action (CIA) team is working in the town of Kabanjahe and distributed 400 mats and 150 blankets to evacuated villagers. Some assistance has been provided by the government and NGOs but more is required.
Some of the evacuees have already returned home to their villages, but those who live closer to the volcano will stay in emergency shelters until it is safe for them to return.
The Salvation Army Compassion In Action team plans to work in Kabanjahe for the next few weeks.
To read the full report from our International Headquarters, click here.
Salvation Army team members give mattresses and blankets to evacuees.
The Salvation Army’s Disaster Radio has released a new podcast about our efforts in response to the tragic San Bruno fire.
Community members and Salvation Army personnel Major Kelly Pontsler and Lt. Anthony Barnes discuss their experience as they jumped into action following the gas explosion.
Listen to the podcast here: Disaster Radio Field Report – San Bruno Gas Explosion
RELIEF EFFORTS UPDATE
The Salvation Army is partnering with other relief organizations to provide aid, counseling, and practical immediate support to those families displaced by the fiery gas line explosion on September 9. At the Local Assistance Center (at the San Bruno Veterans Recreational Center), The Salvation Army is providing families with:
· Vouchers to Salvation Army Family Thrift Stores, to assist with the purchase of household items, clothing, or other resources as families begin to move into new housing.
· Target gift cards, giving families the ability to purchase the supplies they need
· Long distance phone cards
· The option to sign-up for FREE appointments with a Salvation Army Caseworker, for helpful assistance and additional counseling well into the future.
LONG TERM ASSISTANCE
After the smoke clears and families begin to think about long-term recovery and rebuilding, The Salvation Army will be available to provide counseling and caseworker services. Some of the services include rental assistance, utility assistance, clothing/furniture vouchers, food, and referrals. San Bruno Fire survivors seeking caseworker or counseling support can contact The Salvation Army of South San Francisco at 650-266-4591 to schedule an appointment or inquire about additional services.
DONATIONS TO ASSIST SURVIVORS
Thanks to the generosity of the San Bruno and greater Bay Area communities, The Salvation Army have been inundated with donations of clothing and blankets from the public. While clothing donations are always good, the following items are VERY helpful for rebuilding homes or just bringing comfort to those displaced:
· furniture (couches, tables, chairs, desks, dressers)
· small appliances (microwaves, small refrigerators, coffee machines, etc.),
· electronics (TVs, radios, clocks, DVD players, etc.)
· pictures, art
· DVDs, videos, CDs
· Other misc. household goods (kitchenware, etc.)
While material donations are indeed helpful, financial gifts give a greater ability to provide the appropriate goods to families for rebuilding their homes and lives. 100% of all donations made to the Salvation Army San Bruno Fire Disaster Relief fund will go to help those affected by this catastrophe.
PHONE: 1-800-Sal-Army (1-800-725-2769)
The Salvation Army
PO Box 80066
Prescott, AZ. 86304-8066
Be sure to designate donations for “San Bruno Fire Relief”
For more information and updates, visit The Salvation Army’s Golden State Division website at www.tsagoldenstate.org.
Every American remembers what they were doing when they heard we were attacked on September 11, 2001. I was getting up to leave my English class when a hysterical professor rushed into the room to tell us the news.
When tragedy struck, The Salvation Army was the first relief agency to arrive at Ground Zero. We served more than 3 million meals thanks to $90 million in donations and 1 million hours of service from 39,000 Salvation Army officers, staff and volunteers.
You can read here about the experience of one of those volunteers who served meals for relief workers at Ground Zero. (Thank you to The Salvation Army’s Northern Division for sharing this story.)
Now nine years later Americans continue to be unified by a desire to honor survivors, victims, families and heroes of that fateful day. (In Olathe, Kansas more than 500 people will commemorate them Saturday with their annual “Patriot Run” that’s taken place since 2003, and proceeds will go to support the local Salvation Army. What’s even more inspiring is that thousands of miles away 3,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan will be joining them in spirit by running 9.11 kilometers.)
Many other Americans will devote themselves to a charitable cause to honor the spirit of service that arose in response to 9/11. If you’re looking to find a way to give back, consider contacting your local Salvation Army to see how you can help them support your community.