Grant Winners for 2011

100_1178Solutions for Change is an exciting, innovative ministry whose mission is to “solve family homelessness one family, one community, at a time.” We were impressed by the long-term commitment  (1,000 days) that is resulting in families breaking cycles of unemployment, poor life choices, and entitlement. We love the 3-stage housing that is provided, the professional counseling, the career and resumé direction, and the obvious respect with which the families coming off the streets are being treated. Pictured here is a converted office that provides intake housing for homeless, Escondido, CA, families. Here they get accustomed to early rising and plenty of KP duty (founder Chris Megison is a former Marine). When they’re ready, they are invited to move to the second stage housing in their own 1-bedroom apartment, sharing a kitchen with another family, not far away. After 1,000 days of working, training, finding a job, becoming established and building hope, they move to housing in the community.

SFC_VanOur SEEDS gift was used for a van to help get children to school, families to church, applicants to job interviews, etc. Look closely and you’ll see our name on the back of the lift gate. (Update, May 2018: The van continues to fulfill everyone’s expectations. It’s in use every single day!)

 

Global Hope Network used our SEEDS gift to support 12 Community Health Workers serving 4 Kenyan villages. While it’s sometimes more tangible to fund vans or buildings, we’ve learned that often the most helpful and sustainable project we can underwrite is a person who will be trained, who can then train others, who will train others, etc. Global Hope’s CHWs are “mamas” in rural villages who have been taught the core principles of holistic health. Because they are “one of their own” they are welcomed by the villagers and able to first identify the needs, then help address the 5 areas of sustainability—water, food, wellness, family income, and education.

Grant Winners for 2010

Several of our Board members were familiar with Reality Changers, a group making significant changes in the lives of local at-risk kids. Under the leadership of Chris Yanov, they have given themselves to the gargantuan task of challenging young teenagers from depressed communities to buckle down in their respective schools, to work on their people skills, and to cooperate with tutors to get through rigorous classes and college scholarship applications. The results? Since its inception in 2001, 100% of participants meeting the program’s expectations have been accepted to four-year universities, even though less than 3% of adult residents in Reality Changers’ locality have a college diploma.

Reality changers has become California’s leading college prep tutoring program, helping deserving students secure over $2,000,000 in scholarships. (The students have earned over $10,000,000 in financial aid from all sources.)

Mission Generation knocked our socks off with the power of their presence in Bolivia! They have created curricula to use in public schools (K-12) to cover the basics of a subject and interject, where appropriate, a biblical worldview and the Gospel. Students, parents, and teachers are reacting with great interest. The material is so well done that the Bolivian government has mandated its use in the public schools! For $1 we can buy one textbook for one student.

 

Grant Winners for 2009

Purple Palace’s request in their proposal was for a large van to ferry the kids in their care to school, to sports, to church, and to other activities. They are accustomed to making do with older vehicles and have mechanics who help keep them runing, but their ‘youngest’ van is 13 years old. We were so pleased when co-founders Tyler and Connie Youngkin confirmed that the gift SEEDS gave them will be enough to buy a really good, slightly used, van!

 

GogoGrandmothers requested funds to introduce a soy crop into a small village in Malawi. The grandmothers (and grandfathers) there, who are caring for their own and others’ orphaned grandchildren, grow maize (corn) primarily and are in need of a crop with greater food value – thus, soy, full of protein, easy to grow, but difficult to process. Gogo Grandmothers provides the seeds, the training, and the motivation that will not only provide this nutritious grain for these AIDS-orphaned children but will also introduce a new avenue for entrepreneurship.

Seeing LIFE in a High School

We have met incredible people over the years making incredible sacrifices of time, money, priorities, etc. Here is one memorable day:

A few of us visited a South Bay high school in early September 2012 (a site visit for one of our local ministry applicants for 2012) and sat in on a youth club that meets weekly over the lunch hour. We were impressed at how easily the games/worship leaders engaged the rest of the kids. (Get this for an ice-breaker: pair up into 2s, play “rock-paper-scissors.” The winner of each 2-some plays another winner, with the losers beginning to form a group behind them. When the final 2-some plays, the winning group gets . . . candy!)

The kids only had about 40 min. to eat (yea pizza!, provided by a church youth group connected with the school), play, worship, pray, and have a short message chock full of Scripture about not quitting, not being afraid, by one of their classmates.

A young couple walked in just before the activities, she great with child and he very attentive and caring for her. Afterwards, they introduced themselves, shook our hands. We asked about the baby–a little boy, due in November. “Thank you for not aborting that baby,” we said. “We know it will be hard.”

“It already is hard,” she said. And then, softly and somberly, “I hope I can be forgiven.”

“Oh, honey,” we said. “You ARE forgiven!”

Lord, please let her remember what we told her, how we held her hands, stroked her belly, smiled our forgiveness at her. Sometimes, just hearing words of forgiveness, even if they’re from an unaffected party, is so healing. Let it be so, Jesus!!!

Lisa’s Legacy

Lisa LiguoriYou might have noticed that we have a new committee member, Peggy Keck. (More about that soon.) But who’s missing is our Lisa Liguori! Lisa is moving on to family philanthropic activities. She is one amazing lady and helped us SO much to be where we are today. Anything electronic is because of Lisa and our voting procedure is because of Lisa. She brought a younger perspective to our meetings as we worked to get ourselves off the ground. And there was always a lot of laughter as she mentored us on the world wide web!

Lisa leaves behind a huge void. We love her, we miss her, and she tells us we can still give a shout if we get in too much trouble!  We all thank you, Lisa xoxo.

SEEDS in Africa!

You’ve really got to watch out when you join SEEDS.  Last year we voted to award one of our grants to GogoGrandmothers in Malawi, Africa. It really touched many of your hearts including MINE!  I am off to Malawi, Africa to visit some of the villages and bring headscarves, panties, sewing kits, knit infant caps and greetings from all of you! Thank you to so many who donated their time and prayers and resources for this adventure. We like to check out those who apply for our grants…we call them site visits and you are all welcome on any of them.  Well, I am doing a “site visit” after the fact and will report back.  Follow me on my travel blog Morales22.com, and meet the folk in Lilongwe, where my husband, Steve, and I will serve for several weeks, and then out to Gogos in and around Blantyre and Zomba!

Yesu, Amakokonda

(posted by Debbie Morales, 2010)