Category Archives: service

How We Honor Our Heritage

Have you thought about lately what you do with the treasures that others have buried inside you?

Quoting an often remembered parable “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

My mother’s love language was acts of service. Without any conscious purpose I have spent the majority of my life pursuing the following professions, military, police, and education. All of which gave me opportunities to help, protect, and cultivate. Now I’m taking the time to consider what it means to be my mother’s son.

One of her defining traits was fostering. Her grandmother showed her what that meant while raising her from infancy. As a child my mother practiced it with her cousins. As an adult she continued it with coworkers, friends and acquaintances throughout her life.

I am humbled by the daily experience where I engage in the same fostering my mother once did. This manifests as a cherished memory now. One I welcome with warm embrace. Thankfully, I have powerfully available visual cues to remind me of how my mother’s spirit remains present in her absence.

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It occurs to me that similar expressions will be born out in her other children, grandchildren, and those others whom she endowed with her loving legacy. There is a good sized list. My hope is that in the days ahead that we live without her, each of us still recognize how we operate as an extension of the seeds she planted within us.

What about you? Who do you think about? What do you remember? What do you see in your life that must have come from them? Will the idea of honoring the heritage they passed on to you bring you peace, comfort, or assurance? Will it bring healing and restoration? Will it help you bury your treasures in the right fields?

Continue reading How We Honor Our Heritage

Faces of Auschwitz signs sponsorship deal with the Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund

 

Faces of Auschwitz signs sponsorship deal with the Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund

https://facesofauschwitz.com/2018/04/2018-4-8-faces-of-auschwitz-signs-sponsorship-deal-with-the-michael-frank-family-foundation/
— Read on facesofauschwitz.com/2018/04/2018-4-8-faces-of-auschwitz-signs-sponsorship-deal-with-the-michael-frank-family-foundation/

3 Things to Consider

Think about how those involved are working to make things better.

 

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Every city has ghosts, but some have more than others. Detroit is one of those places.  When you have a city with such an incredible and tragic past still reeling from issues and challenges that impact a vulnerable population, spirits will linger. The truth is that in order to really appreciate and understand Detroit, you need to go looking for them. They’re not hard to find here – every building, park, street and community has a story to tell that goes beyond the surface. If you care enough to listen, the ghosts reveal themselves. Sometimes, they find you instead of the other way around. This is what happened to me on a recent Saturday morning. I was taking an aimless drive around the city, when I passed by a cemetery. The cemetery is a place that I can’t resist visiting. Whenever I go to a new city, it’s one of those places on my list of things to see. I’ve visited cemeteries in cities across the U.S., in Scotland, Germany, Armenia and Mongolia. They offer the best insight in getting to know where you are. They help piece together the story of a place that can’t be told just by its current facade.

A Writer’s Residency, Reimagined

WRITE A HOUSE

We fix up homes in Detroit to award creative residencies to writers.

 

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Keys to Staying Positive
  1. Simplify your life.
  2. Watch your thoughts. What goes in, comes out.
  3. Surround yourself with positive people.
  4. Take time for yourself, even if it means saying “no” to others.
  5. Be grateful, laugh and celebrate life.
  6. Think more about what you have as opposed to what you don’t have.
  7. Help others

 

A21

JULIA

http://www.a21.org/content/liberty/go3mpk
via A21.org

 

Julia* grew up picking mushrooms and fruit in a small village in the countryside of Bulgaria. She loved this pastime and enjoyed doing it alongside her family—but she saw that everyone around her in the village was struggling. Julia* wanted something more for her life.

When she was offered an opportunity to pick mushrooms in the Netherlands for higher pay, she accepted. She was excited to do what she loved, with job security, and a hope for a better future.

But when she arrived, Julia* discovered that she had been deceived. She was thrown into a house crammed with other foreigners and forced to work from dawn to dusk for little or no pay. She had been trafficked for her labor, enslaved, and trapped. But, after some time, Julia* bravely escaped out of a window and ran to safety.

With the assistance of A21, she was safely repatriated home to Bulgaria. Since coming into our care, she has completed our aftercare program and found employment through our social enterprise, Liberty.

After all of the trauma and abuse she experienced, Julia* has continued to recover step by step. She’s had a safe environment to work in, community to support her, and time to heal. Now, after two stable years of employment, with Liberty on her résumé, Julia* is able to bravely take steps toward a life of full independence

WRITEAHOUSE.ORG

Both sides of my family migrated to Detroit in the first half of the 20th Century.  Both of my parents were born there.  It is the place where our history, our culture, our collective memory, the proof of our existence to the physical world emanates from.  Some have left, many have died.  Others have remained to witness the horror, the transformation of a great community.

There are newcomers, such as Liana, who’s home is here because of Write A House. Here is her blog about her experience in Detroit.

 

I now do most of my writing from an upstairs room that overlooks most of my street. The room is stark, with freshly painted white walls (Thanks Write A House crew), a wooden desk and an aluminum folding chair. I’ve kept it bare to minimize distraction and maximize output. I am easily distracted. I lose focus. I am not one of those writers who can write comfortably anywhere, at any time. To get a place of pure, magical focus and creativity, I have to expend so much energy. But even a minimally decorated, quiet room has not stopped my mind from wandering elsewhere.

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Source: WRITEAHOUSE.ORG

Inchworm

Someone you know may face a condition like MS. We can’t know how they feel. But we can listen. Here is something you might hear if you chose to listen. After reading this story, if you are curious to learn more, try positivelivingwithms.com

MonaLisa MS

Inchworm


**Please see the updated content at the end of this post.
This morning, I experienced one of those strange happenings when a song from long ago inexplicably found its way into my brain. People commonly refer to these as “earworms,” so how weird is it that the song was “Inchworm?”
Inchworm, inchworm, measuring the marigolds
You and your arithmetic, you’ll probably go far.
Inchworm, inchworm, measuring the marigolds
Seems to me you’d stop and see how beautiful they are.
(Kids singing: 2 & 2 are 4, 4 & 4 are 8, 8 & 8 are 16, 16 & 16 are 32…)
I have no recollection of seeing the movie, “Hans Christian Anderson,” starring Danny Kaye, who originally recorded the song. I learned it in elementary school, the first time I joined a choir. But whatever triggered my memory of those simple lyrics, I’ve decided this might be…

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Foundations @ Write A House

My computer desktop image is of an old stone foundation overtaken by greenery, a former homestead of Washington Irving, which I hiked to a number of summers ago during a residency in the Catskills. The spot wasn’t terribly well marked, and I had to dig for it a bit, so I spent most of the morning seeking out what would have been a former house, next to a stream, before chancing upon the rock Rip Van Winkle was said to have napped on. (Superstitiously, I did not indulge the urge to test it.)

The discovery of the homestead felt somehow pivotal, and I knew when I snapped the image on my cameraphone that I would want to look at it every day: flat stone foundations are so sensical, aren’t they? Find yourself some level ground and nestle the rocks in a bit, build up a wall that way, then create a whole room, carefully manipulating the earth against your construction materials in anticipation of your future needs. I don’t know what it’s like for a doctor or an accountant or an urban planner, but for a writer those needs are ultimately quite simple: a space in which one can hear one’s own thoughts, not too distant from “the action,” but not central to it, either. The meaning of home solidified for me then, implying a state of activity as opposed to a static condition. Like being awake. Like love.

I’d never considered the concept of home so deeply before. At the time, I was traveling 200 days out of the year, and when I did my taxes, I occasionally discovered that I had conducted business in languages I could not later identify. I was working in Germany, Cambodia, the Republic of Georgia, and Finland, with only days between trips to rest in Chicago before a lecture in New York City or a conference in Vienna or a book event in Los Angeles or a “vacation” in some place I had selected because I had never been anywhere like it before and didn’t know what life there might be like. Washington Irving’s stone foundation became a talisman for me—a guidepost at first some great distance off, later more clearly outlined through the haze—a beacon to a single place I might wish to return to, some flat ground soft enough to nestle stones into. I loved my exciting life, do not get me wrong, and was having far too much fun to change it in anyway, but I did look around at least once during every one of those 200 days and wonder if the place I was in might eventually become my home. It never did, and after several years my computer desktop image was still the only thing I saw, consistently, every single day: the purely ephemeral digital nature of the pic belying a steadfastness I was coming to crave.

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Jewelry For Justice

By Emma Borquaye, A21 UK Prevention, Awareness, and Education Coordinator

Marina De Buchi is a jewelry designer living in London with a passion to see human trafficking abolished in the 21st Century. At 20 years old, she is already active in doing what she can to help by giving 10% of all proceeds from her jewelry brand to A21.

As she lays out the dainty gold bracelets in front of me at the table, she talks through the meaning behind each one in The Freedom Collection;

“The bird is called beyond fear lies freedom, so you can look at it and know that you can get through whatever you are facing. The key says ‘unlock your dreams,’ but it can be unlocking freedom, unlocking anything! Whatever it means for that person.”

Unlock Your Dreams

Human Trafficking – The A21 Campaign

A21 exists to abolish injustice in the 21st century. We are a non-profit organization who believes that together, we can end human trafficking.

My Story

MY DREAM… in my 21st year of life, I wish to partner with you to raise $21 000 for A21. That year starts today, 9/10/14!

HOW? 21 000 people donating $1

GLAZED OVER EYES… On the 26th November 2013, I saw the Red Light District in Thailand. Across the Malaysian river border, in a small province of Thailand, there are 400+ hotels, hundreds of beds, girls sitting in karaoke bars, girls looking outside their apartment windows preparing for their “shifts” – many taking drugs to get through the dreaded night… their eyes glazed over… they really aren’t “there”, no hope, no future. And yet these young girls are highly intelligent, learning various languages to communicate and service the men while trying to survive in this environment.

THESE GIRLS ARE REAL… As I walked the streets with my team group, I wanted an experience that would confirm the direction of my heart. Just before I entered into a cafe, a woman (madam of the trafficked girls) touched my shoulder. She took us to their karaoke bar where we played cards and chatted about the background of the girls who worked at her brothel. These girls are real. THEY ARE ALIVE AS I WRITE, probably still there… more broken, more used.

TOGETHER, YOU AND I CAN… Long before I even had that karaoke experience, I wanted to make a difference to support people who are suffering in our world. Passion comes with action and if I wait until I am passionate about something, like doing the laundry, then it’s never going to happen! I don’t want to treat justice and humanity in the same way… so I’m getting active!

You and I are the key to a girls FREEDOM. Together we can do something.

If this is your something, donate here!

Ebony, xx

Source: Human Trafficking – The A21 Campaign

Write A House in detroit

The quoted description below was taken from writeahouse.com

DONATE HERE
Our mission is simple: to leverage Detroit’s available housing in creative ways to bolster an emerging literary community to benefit the City of Detroit and its neighborhoods. We enliven the literary arts of Detroit by renovating homes and giving them to authors, journalists, poets, aka writers. It’s like a writer-in-residence program, only in this case we’re actually giving the writer the residence, forever.
Project Mission

Write-A-House (WAH) is a Detroit based organization that seeks to teach and support trade crafts and literary creativity. Our key tactic involves leveraging the easy availability of distressed housing in order to promote vocational education, home ownership, neighborhood stabilization, and creative arts. In short, WAH will work to support a more vibrant literary arts community that lives at a grassroots level and helps Detroit’s neighborhoods.

Project Goal

WAH seeks to (1) educate the under-employed on carpentry and building skills (2) use those skills to renovate Detroit city homes and (3) award those homes to writers. Like any literary community, writers will be awarded based on their writing and their desire to be here. WAH seeks to support low-income writers by awarding at least three homes each year. We will also publish a journal of arts and creative non-fiction to document the process, work to determine a sustainable and green approach to home renovation, and connect writers to support a more vibrant literary community in Detroit. Our long, long term goal involves building a literary colony in Detroit, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.