Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Volunteering at Winston-Salem's Overflow Homeless Shelter

Are you looking for a way to give back to the community and serve the less fortunate?  Do you want to find an activity that you can participate in with your entire family?  If so, then volunteering with the Overflow Homeless Shelter in Winston-Salem may be for you!

Project:Re3 has been volunteering at the Overflow Shelter in Winston-Salem.  On Monday, my family volunteered at the shelter at Redeemer Presbyterian Church.  My husband and I volunteered along with our three kids (ages 12, 10 and 5).  We also volunteered with some of my coworkers.  

We served as "meal volunteers."  Meal volunteers arrive at 7:45 pm at the appropriate location (a number of churches across Winston-Salem serve as overflow shelter locations). Meal volunteers are asked to bring a healthy meal, drinks, plates, napkins and eating utensils.  We brought pizza and cookies, but the men at the shelter also love home cooked meals like baked lasagna, fried chicken, and chili.  Redeemer Presbyterian was decorated for Christmas, and we set the table and set up the food before the men arrived.  

Some members of our group were also check-in volunteers.  Check-in volunteers are also at the shelter from 7:45 pm until 9 pm.  At the shelter location, each guest is assigned a bin. The bins have sheets and pillows.  When the guests receive their bin, they take the sheets and pillows, and they place their personal belongings in the bin for the night.  The check-in volunteers help coordinate handing out the bins and help lay out the mats, which are pictured above.  

When the guests arrived, we served them food and drinks.  After the guests received their food, we sat and talked to them.  Volunteers are invited to stay and fellowship with the guests at the shelter until lights out. I met a number of the guests and listened to their stories. Some of the guests simply talked about their favorite foods.  Other guests shared prayer requests and told me more about their past.  Two of the guests touched my heart, and I look forward to getting to know them as we continue to volunteer this winter. 

After all of the guests had eaten, we cleaned up and left around 8:45 pm.

If you have the time, another need at the shelters is for overnight volunteers.  Overnight volunteers serve from 9 pm until 6:30 am.  Two volunteers are needed.  One volunteer stays awake to monitor while the other volunteer sleeps.  Then the volunteers can alternate shifts. 

If you would like to help, but do not have the opportunity to serve, the shelters also need blessing bags.  Blessing bags contain essential items for the guests, such as toothbrushes and toothpaste.  A detailed list of items needed can be found here.  
If you are interested in serving or learning more about the overflow shelters, you can get information here.  

Sunday, December 6, 2015

This Weekend ...

I know this is a busy time of year, but I am really looking forward to this coming weekend ...

Yes, I know weekends are good anyway

But this one is going to be extra special, I think ...

We are having our first annual Holiday Bazaar at Project: Re3 on Saturday, Dec 12 from 10am to 2pm!

All the proceeds will go to support our upcoming trip to Uganda!

There will be vendors for you to take care of getting some unique gifts!

We will also have baked goods for sale to satisfy that sweet tooth!

And homemade chicken stew to help you warm up on a cold winter day!

And we even have photographers coming for Christmas mini-sessions outside!

Did you know there will also be lots of games, free face painting, and activities for the kids too?

This is also a way for us to introduce ourselves and our new home to the community!

I look forward to seeing you there!

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Lauren Reel or 336-409-0705

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Fields of Dreams Uganda Hygiene Kit Drive

As we approach Christmas, we are also approaching the annual Fields of Dreams hygiene kit drive. A group of five of us from Project:Re3 will be traveling to Uganda to distribute the hygiene kits in February. We would love it if you would consider sharing this with your friends or donating to this cause here.

In Uganda, girls face unique challenges as they strive to achieve their dreams.  Did you know many Ugandan girls miss up to 20% of school because they don't have the necessary sanitary supplies for their monthly cycles? Fields of Dreams Uganda strives to ensure that no girl falls behind in the classroom or on the field by equipping each of the mature girls in our 10 partner schools with a hygiene kit.  Fields of Dreams Uganda purchases these hygiene kits from AFRIpads, a local Ugandan social enterprise employed by a workforce made up of 90% women, that creates cloth pads/hygiene kits which are eco-friendly, cost-effective, and sustainable (for up to one year).

It is the hope of our organization to distribute 2,500 hygiene kits during the 2016 calendar year. We will distribute these kits at our 10 partner schools, through friendly matches in the communities we operate, and through a Hope Cup Soccer Tournament that is open to any teams throughout Uganda. Do to our generous and passionate donors, 1,200 kits have already been accounted for over the 2015 calendar year. This is in large part to a substantial grant received from the Raymond B. Preston Family Foundation specifically for our hygiene kits. This leaves our goal for our Holiday Hygiene Drive of raising enough support to purchase the remaining 1,300 kits at a cost of $22,120.

During the distribution of our hygiene kits our Ugandan staff have seen multiple changes on our partner campuses. The attendance rates have improved on our partner campuses (at Bungatira Primary School alone, 100 girls returned to school because of these life-changing kits), the cleanliness of the dormitories and school grounds has increased, the school drop-out rates have decreased, the hygiene kits have opened up conversations about other health topics on the campuses and have helped to build trust between our Ugandan staff and the girls that we are serving.

While distributing these life-changing hygiene kits, the girls receiving these items are also empowered through girl empowerment workshops on character, self-defense training, sexual assault prevention, and anti-trafficking education. The courage of these young girls has also helped spearhead a character and integrity training for the young men at our partner schools to stop any future perpetrators, and create a more comfortable and safe learning environment for these future leaders of Uganda. 

*Fields of Dreams Uganda was awarded the 2014 International Sport for Health Award by Beyond Sport for its Girl Empowerment Program.

What's In The Kit:At just $17 the purchase of a hygiene kit ensures that each girl can attend classes and train on the soccer field by equipping them with the following:
             5 washable, durable pads
             2 Pad Storage Bags
             2 Large Bars of Soap
             1 Wash Basin
             1 Drying Rack
             3 Pair of Underwear           
             1 Kit Storage Bag
             And most importantly a new sense of dignity and self-respect!

Kit Distribution:                                                                               
Laroo Primary School (Northern Region) = 267 kits needed                                           
Pageya Primary School (Northern Region) = 201 kits needed
Koro Primary School (Northern Region) = 159 kits needed
Gulu PTC Demonstration Primary School (Northern Region) = 178 kits needed                                   Bungatira Primary School (Northern Region) = 279 kits needed           
Wakiso Children’s School of Hope (Central Region) = 156 kits needed                                                     New Kabaale Busega (Central Region) = 133 kits needed
Vision For Africa (Central Region) = 104 kits needed
Humble United Methodist School (Central Region) = 123 kits needed
St. Kazito Primary School (Central Region) = 125 kits needed

If our goal of $22,120 is exceeded, all additional proceeds will be used towards our Girl Empowerment Program including our soccer and educational programming at our partner schools. With the focus of the majority of these funds being used to build new and clean changing rooms at our partner schools in Northern Uganda.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

And I could not get it out of my mind ...

I have been on a mission trip before ...

But not since I was a teenager ...

I have been overseas before ...

But not since I was a teenager ...

I have been enjoying attending Project: Re3 ...

But I felt like something was missing (and it is not being a teenager) ...

One Sunday, I heard Beth G. talk about the Girls Empowerment Trip to Uganda ...

And I could not get it out of my mind!

So I said that I wanted to go ...

Before I even knew much about it ...

But the more I have explored and learned, the more I want to go!

I am truly a teacher at heart and strive to help others explore possibilities for learning. My passion is all about building people up and helping them achieve things they never thought possible. That is why the mission and vision of theFields of Dreams Uganda organization appeals to me so much:

·         Mission: The mission of Fields of Uganda, Inc. is to provide hope for the orphaned and vulnerable children of Uganda through the vehicles of soccer and education.
·         Vision: We envision communities in Uganda where orphans and vulnerable children can reach their full potential as compassionate human beings

In Uganda, girls face unique challenges as they strive to achieve their dreams. Fields of Dreams Uganda is proud to offer creative and empowering programming to help bring those dreams within reach. An investment in the girls of Uganda will go a long way in impacting the communities where these girls live, and in turn the nation of Uganda as a whole. Supporting this initiative ensures the following benefits for one girl enrolled in one of our nine partner campuses:

·         A hygiene kit to ensure that each girl can attend classes and train for soccer during their monthly cycles
·         Coaching that ensures confidence building and life skills training
·         Educational guidance and counseling services from our highly skilled Education Advocates along with DREAMS training
·         Access to FoDU soccer programming, tournaments, and training
·         The reassurance that their life matters, and they have a purpose

Here is the part that hooked me: When girls in Uganda get old enough to have their monthly cycles, they stop going to school for that week each month because they don't have anything to prevent them from messing up their dresses.

That time away from education and opportunities impacts their future!

That is why I am going on a Girls Empowerment Trip!

Our group will be involved in the distribution of hygiene kits and girl empowerment workshops at all nine partner schools.

Here is a great video about the Girls Empowerment Project from the Field of Dreams Uganda website:

Be on the lookout for ways you can support our trip, both through fundraisers and specific prayer opportunities!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

We have a new home, but we have not reached our final destination

We have a new home!  Sunday November 8 was an exciting and amazing day for Project:Re3.  The first Sunday in our new missions hub/church was the two year anniversary of Project:Re3. 

Two years ago we asked a few friends to come dream with us, and almost 80 people showed up at our home.  God had led Mike to read Isaiah 58 again and again.  From that verse, we found our mission – to restore, rebuild, renovate, and make the community livable again (hence the name, “Re3”).  After that first Sunday, we had the blessing of worshiping at River Landing at Sandy Ridge.  We are so grateful to River Landing for allowing us to grow and worship with them. 

Although we loved River Landing, we knew that was a temporary location, and we longed to have a permanent home that would allow us to do even more ministry in our community.  We found a property in Walkertown, and spent months and months updating the property.  The Project:Re3 community spent finances and put so much work into a property that we ultimately would not use.  We encountered road block after road block, and there were times when we were discouraged.  We wondered why things were not working out.

Then, Mike saw a sign that Good Sheppard Moravian Church was having their final worship service.  Mike contacted the Moravian Church and indicated our interest in the property.    The Moravian Church was amazingly gracious and worked with us.  We purchased the property that was formerly Good Shepard Moravian Church, and quickly prepared for our first worship service. 

While preparing for our first service, Mike found the first bulletin for Good Sheppard Moravian church.  The first Sunday for Project:Re3 in our new location would have been Good Sheppard Moravian Church’s 28th anniversary.  This solidified for us that we were exactly where we needed to be, and that God’s timing is perfect.    

Our first worship service was nothing short of amazing.  There was so much energy and I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. 

Although we have found a new home, we know that we have not finished our journey.  While we are grateful for a more permanent location, we know that in the end, a building is just a building.  Our community is called to break the chains of injustice, to get rid of exploitation in the workplace, to free the oppressed, and cancel debts.  We are to feed the hungry, invite the homeless into our homes, and put cloths on those that have none. (Isaiah 58, The Message)  If we are to fulfill this mission, we cannot rest in the comfort of a new building.  We must be out in our community and out in the world. 

If we are faithful, God has promised us in Isaiah 58 that we will use the old rubble of past lives to build anew.  We will rebuild the foundations of our past, and we will be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again.    

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"10:4 Good Buddy"

"10:4  Good Buddy"

This statement used to be spoken to acknowledge something or show agreement.

See if you agree with Proverbs 10:4

Proverbs 10:4(NIV)

Lazy hands make for poverty,
    but diligent hands bring wealth.

Lazy hands make for poverty,
-Negligent to the necessities of others, according to their abilities; or slothful in their business. 
but diligent hands bring wealth.
-Blessings of God to those who are sharp and acute, careful and industrious, mind their business, and do the honest part. 

If you take these words to heart and acknowledge this verse, then know that you are in the right place. 
Project: Re3 has a list of exciting opportunities and we will start posting these opportunities here. We will give you the chance to reach out and find the right fit for you and help you find your passion and opportunity in the world to help praise GOD and share his glory. 

** This is one of my favorite verses and I remember this verse by telling myself "10:4" and acknowledging God in my everyday life.