Want to give the gift of FUN to a child in need?

Friday, May 11, 2012
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Remember watching the sunset with a s’more in your hand by the fire after a long day of riding bikes, swimming in the lake and playing flashlight tag? If you went to summer camp as a kid, you can likely reflect fondly on the experience. That’s the classic summer fun that The Salvation Army’s camps aim to provide for the kids of families who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to go.

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Homeless Youth Find Respite at SA Shelters

Monday, May 7, 2012
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This statistic might surprise you: 1 out of every 3 homeless people are under the age of 18. This year, 1.6 to 1.7 million youths (under 18 years of age) will experience homelessness.

I know, a little heavy for Monday morning! Facts like these are the very reasons why The Salvation Army strives each day to battle cyclical youth homelessness.

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The Turning Point of the Race!

Monday, April 30, 2012
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This past weekend I had the pleasure of running in The Salvation Army National Capital Area Command’s inaugural Kettle Classic 5K race in Washington, DC. All proceeds from the registration fees to the company sponsors of the race benefited The Salvation Army’s Turning Point Center in DC, a residential facility for homeless women and children in need.

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Kroc Centers: For Physical & Spiritual Fitness!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

We were delighted to hear about Philadelphia native Patricia Imms who lost 130 pounds (and counting) in just one year through regular exercise at her local Salvation Army Kroc Community Center.

No matter your age or personal health status, the Kroc Community Centers are meeting the needs of their communities by offering solutions for improving all around health at an affordable cost.

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Keeping The Focus On Children In A Tough Economy

Friday, March 23, 2012
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Commissioner William Roberts, National Commander of The Salvation Army, was a recent contributor to the Huffington Post’s Impact Blog. We are so appreciative of this opportunity to share about our recent report titled “Growing Up in a Downturn” – an internal study that we conducted to better understand how our youth programs have been affected by the economic recession.

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“Kony 2012″ Sheds Light on Trafficking Epidemic

Monday, March 19, 2012
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By now I’m sure you’ve heard the words “Kony 2012.”

The 30-minute film and campaign slogan created by Invisible Children, Inc. has been popping up all over social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. One week into the video’s release, it was officially named the most viral video in history with over 100 million views on YouTube. Whether you like the video or not, the film sheds a bright light on the atrocities of child trafficking – an industry that enslaves approximately 1.2 million children each year.

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Remembering & Honoring 70 Years Later

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
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Did you know that 2012 marks the 70th anniversary of Executive Order 9066? This order, issued by President Franklin Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, forced all persons with Japanese ancestry to be removed from the West Coast leading to the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans.

During this time, the greatest question for The Salvation Army was “what would happen to the orphans?”. You see, The Salvation Army’s Japanese Children’s Home was home to Japanese orphans of all ages, many of whom lived there for years.

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November: National Homeless Youth Awareness Month

Monday, October 31, 2011

November is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month.

When you think of a homeless person, it’s difficult to imagine a child fending for themselves on the streets. But did you know that more than 1.5 million children are homeless at some point in their lives? The number is shocking – and apparently increasing – according to The National Center on Family Homelessness.

So…why do they leave their homes?

Many homeless youths are victims of trauma. They come from homes of significant abuse: either their parental figures are abusing substances and/or the child is being abused. Some escape because their families don’t accept them for a variety of reasons. There’s also a large number of youth who are the products of failed juvenile justice. They’ve aged out of the foster care system and are expected to be independent without resources or support.

Not surprisingly, homeless youth can have significant mental health problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse problems. Because of this, they are more susceptible to lives of crime or early parenthood and the vicious cycle of abuse continues.

As Americans, do we trust the system too much? Are we overlooking this blatant need? In the book of Matthew, we are called by Christ to care for children:

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:1-6, 10-14

The Salvation Army has many programs in place that are helping to end the cycles of poverty, abuse and neglect of children. Many Salvation Army units have “Adopt a Child” or “Adopt a Family” programs that allow for donors to directly pay for a child or family in need. Salvation Army transitional housing centers are commonly available in communities for youths and single parent families. Even better, Salvation Army transitional programs often include relevant training. So not only are they meeting their basic needs, younger residents will receive counseling and training to increase cognitive, behavioral, and psychosocial skills to help develop their education and career.

We liked The Salvation Army of Lubbock, TX’s approach to helping youths. Their Red Shield Home Transitional Shelter program gives homeless youths computers and technology classes to help them get a head start at beating cyclical homelessness. The information divide between lower-income and higher-income populations has been directly linked to access to technology. By providing technology for the younger generation, The Salvation Army of Lubbock is actively participating in bettering not only this generation, but generations to follow.

In an effort to combat this end, The Salvation Army also offers youth camps and recreational centers to encourage low-income children to learn new skills and self-reliance. Counselors at these camps encourage spiritual, physical and emotional development.

Finally, many Salvation Army units offer after-school programs that help hinder poor decisions by encouraging children to engage in healthy activities in those unsupervised hours after school.

In summary – there are a variety of programs with which you can help us!

You can get involved in our efforts to support homeless youths and to combat cyclical poverty. Helping financially is often inexpensive. Please consider reaching out to your local unit to find out how you can help “Adopt” a child financially, donate your time or items, or simply lend an ear to a child as a volunteer.

If you’d like to donate online, please visit our Ways to Give page.

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Remember the Socks

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The following was contributed by Guest Blogger Brooke Newsom, Unit Director of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of the Kerrville Kroc Center.

Last week as the kids were loading off the bus to attend The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, I noticed a kindergartner running down the hall.

“Use your walking feet please.” I said as I glanced down at his shoes. I noticed there were no socks on his feet, so I asked him why he wasn’t wearing any.

He shrugged and said, “I don’t have any socks.” I prodded a little more, “You don’t have ANY socks at all?” He shrugged again, “I only get socks when I stay the night at my grandma’s house.”

In the back of my mind I remembered that we had a few packs of boy’s socks, of all things, that were donated to us during the summer time, just sitting in my office.

I asked him, “Would you like me to give you some socks?”

I did not know that a child could get so excited about something as simple and basic as socks. After helping him put a pair on and re tie his shoes, he looked up hopeful and asked, “Do I get to keep the whole package?”

“Yes.” I replied and sent him back to his classroom, hugging his new socks to his chest.

As an after school program director, it is easy to forget the “big picture” when working with the youth we serve. This child reminded me of the truly important things, such as filling a basic need that a child has. The Salvation Army has been meeting needs for a very long time, and I am grateful we haven’t forgotten the small things. We haven’t forgotten the socks.

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To learn more about the ways that you can donate to The Salvation Army – whether monetarily or through goods such as clothing, furniture and household items – please visit our website at www.donate.salvationarmyusa.org.

In keeping with the mission of The Salvation Army, The Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Centers provide facilities, programs and services that encourage positive life-changing experiences for children and adults, strengthen families, and enrich the lives of seniors. Click here to learn more about The Salvation Army Kroc Centers.

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Looking Beyond the Numbers

Monday, September 19, 2011

We blogged last week about the increased number of Americans living in poverty which has reached a record 46.2 million people – or one in six Americans. According to the same reporting agency, the top five poorest states are Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Louisiana. Failed government policies from years past and a continued decline in GDP have taken a drastic toll on the jobs market and the American way of life. The poverty rate is the “highest of any major industrialized nation”.

This past week, reporters from The Associated Press scavenged the poorest areas of the country in search for a few of the stories behind this record-breaking number. The accounts include very real depictions of the prevalent poverty struggle in America. Most frustratingly, those without jobs often live in the communities with the fewest resources for finding another. Adding to this vicious cycle are the struggles of feeding a growing family or caring for ill loved ones who are unable to contribute. Families find themselves destitute once government assistance ends or help from the community isn’t an option anymore.

Read the stories here.

Among the accounts is that of Monique Brown, a single mom with four children who, up until two weeks ago, was homeless. When the recession hit in 2008, Monique lost both of her jobs in Florida and decided to move her family to Alabama in order to live near her brother. The Salvation Army of Birmingham provided shelter to Monique and her family for several weeks, eventually helping her find a public housing unit. They paid for her furniture, appliances and rent deposits. She now has a home where she can adequately care for her two-year-old son and continue her search for work. With help from The Salvation Army and other donations, her children have beds again.

The Salvation Army provides housing and homeless services nationwide. Along with providing food and lodging for the homeless, The Salvation Army addresses the health and educational needs of residents and seeks to address the issues causing the need. For more information on The Salvation Army Housing and Homeless Services, please visit our website at www.SalvationArmyUSA.org.

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