Week 35: CMTC Blue Warming Station: Kindness and Empathy for the Homeless

flyer when openWhen I signed up to be a Shelter Helper on a Friday night for Christ Temple Church Ministry’s CTCM Blue Warming Station (CTCM) in Newark, I did not know what to expect. Open up to 3 days a week, and only on nights when the temperature falls below 32 degrees, the church and staff of CTCM go out of their way to provide a safe, warm, peaceful environment to its guests.

On nights when they are open to house the homeless, they transform the main room into a shelter filled with as many cots as they can, so they can help as many people as possible.

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Week 34: Protecting Children in Crisis: Paint-&-Sip with Family Intervention Services

CDC sources of abuse

According to the NJ Department of Children and Families, there were 59,151 referrals for child abuse and neglect in 2013. All were referred for investigation. Just about 10,000 of them became active/open cases. Ongoing neglect, physical and/or sexual abuse, domestic/school/community violence… these are the environments of children living in trauma… of families in crisis. It’s a world behind closed doors, a secret space in society.  It is into this world that Family Intervention Services (FIS) steps, with the goal of protecting children and rehabilitating families.

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Week 32: DoSomething.Org – Empowering Youth and Young Adults to Get Involved and Get Active (because apathy sucks!)

logoDoSomething.org is the future of volunteer and activism experiences. The non-profit uses a digital platform to power offline action through hundreds of grass-roots volunteer, social change, awareness and civic action campaigns.

 

 

Words on flower

Targeted at ages 13 – 30, the campaigns can be completed by individuals or groups, without any need for transportation, funding by participants, or oversight. Young adults love to get involved and make a difference. They are passionate about causes they identify with. DoSomething.org taps into that potential and makes getting active super easy and super fun, empowering teens and young adults to drive social change.

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Week 31: Adopting a Soldier and Thanking our Troops

362121229c9aeec34c544a666ab20c92--american-soldiers-american-flagAccording to the US Department of Defense (DOD), there are currently over 1.3 million men and women on active military duty and more than 450,000 of those are stationed overseas. Many of these service members are assigned to perform training exercises and other duties at bases where they are pretty safe. These troops are ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice to wherever in the world they are needed. Some troops have been deployed to conflict zones like Iraq or Syria and others to potential hotspots like Niger or Somalia.

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Week 30: Volunteering New Year’s Eve at First Night Morris

lego knight on horseChased by Lego knights and pirate ships, stalked by 6 foot tall dinosaurs, time-warped to the 1930s to carve Mt. Rushmore, paralyzed by the siren’s song of a Metropolitan Opera Soprano….. is this a crazy, alcohol-fueled dream? Nope. This is how I rang in an eclectic and delightful New Year’s Eve at First Night Morris in Morristown, NJ.

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Week 28: Team Walker’s Holiday Christmas Party

Map of JC

Just across the Hudson River from NYC’s wealthy Tribeca area, the waterfront neighborhoods of Jersey City boast recently constructed high-rise office buildings and luxury apartments where one bedroom, one bath, 750 sq. ft. condos sell for over $800,000. Trendy restaurants, expensive gyms and swanky shops welcome new, mostly young, Jersey City residents, attracted to the beautiful skyline and proximity of NYC. But just a short drive a few blocks west and south, crossing under the NJ Turnpike /Rt. 78 Ext, which slices Jersey City in half, and another, much older Jersey City emerges. Here, the landscape is spattered with pre-foreclosures and foreclosures. Here, a 3 bedroom, one bath home over 1,500 sq.ft.  can be secured for under $300,000. Here, median income drops from upwards of $80,000 to $35,000. Here you can find neighborhoods with poverty levels beyond 30% and unemployment levels upwards of 40%. This is a place where gunfire and violence are everyday realities. Team Walker exists here, in this shadowland, among these disadvantaged communities.

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Week 27: A Visit to the Market Street Mission

Life is meaningless without purpose and hope…. these were words spoken by one of theIMG_2615 former residents of the Market Street Mission, sharing his story with our group of volunteers. His story was unique to him but also familiar to other stories of addiction – a progressive spiral that moved from drinking to marijuana to increasingly powerful drugs, along the way experiencing homelessness, jail sentences, a multitude of court-mandated rehab centers, isolation from family….

 

The ‘bottom’ – the turning point – is different for each addict. Unfortunately, for over 100 people in the U.S. a day, that bottom is death. For our speaker, the bottom came when a 30-bag-a-day cocaine habit ended with an epiphany after almost dying from another overdose. Eventually he ended up at the Mission’s Recovery Program where he found a place of acceptance, spirituality, hope and possibility.

 

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Week 26: Feed My Starving Children’s Mobile Packing event with Liquid Church: A Holiday Poem

photo of group

Pastor Tim calls Christmas the season of light

and encourages us to find ways to shine bright

by sharing love and kindness to others in need,

And one way to do this is through doing good deeds.

So when Liquid Church held Feed My Starving Children’s Mobile Packing event, 

my husband and daughter and co-workers went. 

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