Wednesday, September 15, 2010
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.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Have you gotten caught up in the excitement of the 2010 World Cup? Are you soaking up each match as nations battle it out in the Group Stage, vying for a coveted spot to progress to the second round? Have you immersed yourself in World Cup trivia and player stats and even learned about South African culture (with your vuvuzela in hand)?
Whether you’re actively following the soccer games or just happen to catch headlines splashed across the news, almost everyone is at some degree aware of the global rivalry playing out across our TV screens.
At The Salvation Army, many of us have also enjoyed watching the games in our spare time – I was more than just a little happy to see the United States tie with England on Saturday! But The Salvation Army’s interest in the games extends beyond a mere competitive spirit.
The Salvation Army has been working in the communities of South Africa since 1883 to provide feeding programs, homes for babies and children with HIV/Aids, shelters for homeless people, community development projects, and much more.
But of more recent concern surrounding the 2010 World Cup is an increase in human trafficking. This, unfortunately, is many times an unintended consequence of major sporting events which draws a huge influx of tourists and an immense demand for sexual services. Additional factors specific to South Africa also contribute, including widespread poverty and relaxed visa requirements.
The Salvation Army is passing out ‘Red Cards’ at the 2010 World Cup as a part of our anti-trafficking campaign.
Therefore, The Salvation Army Southern Africa Territory has been working tirelessly for more than a year to ramp up their anti-trafficking campaign in anticipation of the 2010 World Cup. Its focus is twofold: Prevention and Awareness.
* Prevention: The Salvation Army is hosting Holiday Clubs and soccer clinics to keep children off the streets, providing them a safe place where they will be less vulnerable to fall prey to traffickers. Safe houses for women and children are also available.
* Awareness: The Salvation Army has spent the past year and a half educating communities on the threat of trafficking through conversation and teaching. We also launched a toll free number 08000-RESCU (73728), which is a hotline for both victims of trafficking as well as a platform for community members with ‘tips’ about trafficking in their neighborhood.
During the World Cup we are handing out ‘Red Cards’ warning against trafficking, as well as advertising our message on soccer balls, vuvuzelas, and water bottles.
The Salvation Army Southern Africa Territory is also engaged in other outreach activities during the games, including street ministry, soccer clinics, Kids Clubs, and their usual community programs.
To learn more about how The Salvation Army is working to assist South Africans and make the 2010 World Cup safer for everyone, click HERE.
You can also visit The Salvation Army Southern Africa Territory’s website at http://www.salvationarmy.org.za/.