Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Put Feet to Their Faith With a Project Through Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus - Special Van Project!

Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus is our "Put Feet to Their Faith" Ministry Focus for the month of April - in my post yesterday, I introduced this ministry to you and shared their project, Kidz Change Can Change Kidz as one way you could involve the children in your ministry with children in Belize. I also told about how you could actually take children from your church to Belize on a mission trip through Kidz Konnect. Today I want to share another way you could "Put Feet to Their Faith" and involve the children in your church in a project to help Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus. Michael Chanley is the founder of CM Connect and he has put together an opportunity to raise money with the purpose of purchasing a van for the Rhodes to use in their ministry in Belize. CM Connect will award on Grand Prize valued at $7,200 to the person raising the most support. You can find out all the details by following this link. The prize package consists of some pretty amazing items - I'll just highlight a few -

  • $800 cash for travel or other ministry related expenses
  • 2 tickets to the D6 Conference with an exclusive backstage tour from Michael Chanley - $860 - travel not included
  • a Kidmin 360 Children's Ministry Check Up
  • Volunteer and ministry training/evaluation with Michael Chanley - $2000
  • On-site training for your leaders and/or volunteer team
  • 4-lesson series from the What's in the Bible? Church Edition elementary program
  • and much more! 
In addition, Bobby Wells from Big Bible Town has developed a fun way for children and families to help raise money for the van. "Big Bible Town's main objective is to provide parents and Christian educators an effective way to capture a portion of a children from kindergarten through 6th grade's video game playtime and focus it on building Bible knowledge and Christian behavior." Bobby also wanted to, "build an online community which would enable the translation of kids' video game playtime into real world mission outcomes" and saw CM Connect's van project as the ideal opportunity to do exactly this! You can get all the details by following this link

The Rhodes want to show Jesus and His amazing love to the children and families of Belize. This project will give you the opportunity to involve the children and families of your church in "Putting Feet to Their Faith" by raising money for the van so the Rhodes will be better able to do exactly that! 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Put Feet to Their Faith With a Project Through Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus!

I am happy to announce our new "Put Feet to Their Faith" Ministry focus for the month of April - Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus! You have likely been more familiar with my previous "Put Feet to Their Faith" ministries, but I'd like to encourage you to take a moment to learn about this ministry . . . you'll discover a ministry with a strong focus on helping the children and families of Belize and three unique opportunities for your children to become involved! Since the Rhodes and their ministry may be unfamiliar to many of you, I'm going to quote from their website to introduce them to you.

Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus is the vision of David and Karen Rhodes from Florence, SC.  "Karen is the Director of Children’s Ministries at Cornerstone Baptist Church and David owns his own consulting company. In 2005 they felt led to do international mission work in a third world country.  After much prayer, God led them to a small country in Central America – Belize.  That spring they were able to join a short term mission team which immediately transformed their lives.  In addition to the traditional construction and VBS activities, they were able to spend considerable time at one of the few children’s homes in the country.  It was during this time at the children’s home they both realized this would not be their only trip to Belize. This two week trip confirmed the following:  their love for and desire to serve the Lord in this country, the foundational lack of biblically based churches led by trained pastors, lack of any organized children’s ministry, lack of availability of affordable secondary (high school) education and the need for the most basic of health care.  The Lord laid a heavy burden on their hearts about these issues.  Without the church, the people are eternally lost.  Without a basic education, the people cannot be productive and support themselves and without basic health care, children die from the simplest illnesses.  They returned from this second trip and immediately began praying for direction and next steps. The Rhodes were led to establish a non-profit foundation, Coastal Christian Missions of Belize. During the past three years they have been able to return twice a year, always spending time at the children’s home and school along with providing supplies and financial support, including scholarships at the school.  They have also been able to establish a network with local missionaries and pastors, to assist them in working together for a common cause and to support each other instead of being individual silos."

A few facts about Belize -
  • Belize is a beautiful, diverse country bordering Mexico to the north and Guatemala to west and south.  
  • English is the official language; though Spanish, Mayan and Creole dialects are common. 
  • Government sponsored education is only offered to grade 8 (4th/5th grade US education equal) thus putting most  14 and 15 year olds out on the streets.  
  • The traditional family structure is minimal and almost 50% of the total population is under the age of 18 (literally, “babies” are having babies).
  • Living conditions in most areas are well below poverty levels.
  • Health care for most (especially children) is non existent. 
There are three specific ways you could involve the children in your ministry and "Put Feet to Their Faith" by helping the children of Belize. I'll tell you about two of them today and then share the other with you tomorrow! First,          Kidz Change Can Change Kidz "provides a ministry opportunity for children’s small groups to have a consistent focus and impact on missions and other kids.  The first Sunday of each month kids will bring their change to small group and drop it into a Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus"change can".  Each church is partnered with a specific Belizean church or school or both.  The change cans permit the allocation of computers, large screens, curriculum, training, and supplies for each ministry and the continued maintenance.  Change cans, envelopes and ALL supplies needed to implement this vital ministry are provided." This is a project you "can" involve the children in your ministry with - a very "hands-on" project the children will understand and be able to participate in! You could even plan special "work" days the children could help with to raise the money to put in their cans, such as car washes, spring clean-up or cookie bake sales.

Secondly, if you have ever wanted to involve the children and families of your church in actually going on and participating on a real mission trip, Family Mission Impact Journeys may be exactly what you have been looking for! "It is the Rhodes' belief that children are called to be on mission.  Belize is an English speaking country which is easily traveled to.  Families are assigned to specific villages where American and Belizean families develop relationships which will encourage and provide opportunities for them to do life together.   Belize has much to offer in the way of relaxation and fun while being affordable.  Families will find an ideal balance of ministering, fun, and relaxation. Family Impact Journey packages are available upon requests."

I am looking forward to sharing more about the Rhodes' ministry tomorrow and all month and sincerely hope you will give serious consideration to how your church and your ministry may become involved with this ministry which is making a real difference in the lives of the children of Belize!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Look What We Will Be Talking About Next Week and Next Month on About the Children's Department!

It is hard to believe March is almost over . . . it has been an interesting month! This coming week I'll be introducing a new "Put Feet to Their Faith" Ministry Focus and project with which you could involve the children in your ministry! Ill also be covering a "potpourri" of topics as we end March and being April! Then next week I'll be focusing all week on curriculum with my curriculum reviews and the release of my side-by-side comparison chart! April is sure to be a busy and fun month!

Thank you for following About the Children's Department . . . feel free to let me know if there is a topic you'd like me to write about! Have a tremendous week! :^)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

THANK YOU Everyone Who Voted for About the Children's Department!

Thank-you everyone who voted for About the Children's Department in the Ministry-to-Children Kidmin Blog Madness Competition! We made it to the second round - the "Sweet 16" and it is both sweet and an honor to be among these 16 blogs! I sincerely appreciate your votes and I'm truly touched and encouraged so many people voted for my blog - I'm committed to providing information, ideas and resources to help you as you minister to the children in your church and community. 

Congratulations to everyone who made it to the "Final Four"! It will be fun to see which blog wins in the end!:^) Take a moment to check out the blogs in this competition - and be sure to take a good look around Ministry-to-Children as it is most certainly a place where you will find a true wealth of resources to assist you as you minister to children!

We Have Four Winners in Our Special Drawing!

We have four winners in our special drawing - Nathan Anderson won a HexBug Nano Bunny, Janice Tapia also won a HexBug Nano Bunny, Summit Kidz Won the Group Publishing Family Faith Celebrations Baby Blessings and Frank Tan won the See the Light the Crossmaker DVD! Thank you everyone for following my blog and thank you HexBug, Group and See the Light for sending your product for my review and for our give-aways!

Put Feet to Their Faith With a Project Through Angel Tree Camping

For the past month I've been encouraging you to involve the children in your church with a project through Angel Tree Camping to send a child to summer camp whose parents are in prison. I've shared information from Angel Tree on how to get involved, find a camp and a child to help as well as how to plan for this special project. Today I'm going to talk about follow up. I really like Angel Tree Camping because it gives you a tangible way to be involved in the life of a child who you may have helped provide gifts for at Christmas. By becoming re-involved in this child's life and sending them to summer camp for a week, you have the opportunity to build relationships with the child and with his or her caregivers. You will have a number of things to be in contact with the child and their caregivers before he or she goes to camp, but remember, after camp is over, your opportunities to connect only begin! 

"It is important to connect with the Angel Tree families after camp is over.  You may want to consider having a post-camp event, where the children and caregivers are invited to come together to celebrate a great week at camp and share their experiences with one another, or with the church congregation as a whole.  Another great way to extend the connection with your Angel Tree families after camp is to start a Letter-Writing Club, where the children can get together and write letters to their incarcerated parents.  If you are interested in this opportunity, Prison Fellowship can help support you."

"Camping is a great way to get involved on a more regular basis in the lives of your Angel Tree families.  Your camp experience can encourage you to consider  additional ministry opportunities to this special group of people throughout the year.  For more ways your church can continue to build solid, lasting relationships, visit the Angel Tree website at www.angeltree.org"

Friday, March 25, 2011

Family Pick - the Voyage of the Dawn Treader DVD!

I'm very happy to announce our new Family Pick . . . the Voyage of the Dawn Treader DVD! This long-awaited movie releases on April 8, 2011 and will be available on DVD and Blu-ray. It is rated PG for "some frightening images and sequences of fantasy action". I found most of it was not "frightening", but the scenes where the "green mist" "consumes" a boat of people and the end scenes where the sea serpent is fighting Edmund, are intense and could be too frightening for a child.

While the directors certainly took some "liberties" with this story and added things you won't find in the original book, overall they stayed with the story and I enjoyed this addition to the Chronicles of Narnia! I especially appreciate the many opportunities it provides for parents to talk with their children about the important messages throughout the move . . . 
  • Edmund, in particular, is having a difficult time with his "real" life not matching up with his life in Narnia. Parents could talk with their children about how there very well may be times in our lives when things aren't going as we want them to, but even in those times the choices we make as to the attitudes we have and the actions we take really do matter.
  • Lucy struggles with wanting to be "beautiful" like her sister, Susan. Parents have a great opportunity to talk with their children about not comparing themselves to anyone else and follow up with Aslan when he told Lucy her siblings would not have found Narnia without her. In the same way, each child has an important role to fill in their own lives. There are people who they will be able to show Jesus to!
  • Eustace obviously is obnoxious in the beginning of the movie, but by the end of the story he is the one whose life undergoes the most change when he comes face-to-face with Aslan. Our lives also will change when we come face-to-face with Jesus!
  • Throughout the story there are instances where the characters are faced with various temptations and have to overcome those temptations - we can talk with our children and let them know Jesus truly wants to help us overcome our temptations!
  • And finally, there are those in the story who make good choices and this provides the opportunity for parents to talk with their children about the choices they are facing in their every-day lives, too!
I would have liked it if they didn't add the parts with the White Witch, green mist and the father and daughter who join the voyage as they really were not necessary for the movie to tell us an excellent story, but I am a fan of the Narnia movies and enjoyed this latest addition to the series. I would really love to see them make, "The Silver Chair" . . . my personal favorite of all the Narnia books and sincerely hope they do!

I'm delighted to say Fox/Walden Media is sending me an additional copy of the Voyage of the Dawn Treader DVD to give away in a drawing on April 1st!  If you have "liked" this blog using the tab in the "follow us on facebook" box on the right side of this page, then you are entered in the drawing for this movie! If you haven't "liked" us yet, take a moment to do so and you will be entered in the drawing! It is this simple! In addition, you may have a second entry in the drawing by "following" us with the tab to the right which says, "follow with Google friend connect". While you are doing these things, please also take a moment to vote for About the Children's Department in the kidmin blog madness competition - East Regional #4! 

Thank you Fox/Walden Media for sending me the Voyage of the Dawn Treader for review purposes and an additional dvd for my give-away!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the products of services mentioned above for free in the hopes I would mention them on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: 'Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.'"

Touch Bases on VBS - Decorate and Promote!

Each month until Summer I will "Touch Bases on VBS" and provide some tips, ideas and info which will hopefully be helpful for you as you plan your Vacation Bible School for 2011. Today I want to encourage you to begin meeting with your decorating and promotion teams. Once you determine which VBS is the best "fit" for your church and ministry, it is time to begin thinking about how you are going to decorate and promote your VBS. Think about the following questions -
  • Do you have any props and/or resources at your church which will help you create the atmosphere you want for your VBS? 
  • Do you know anyone who is particularly "crafty" and/or who is able to build sets and props?
  • Which areas of your church you want to decorate and how you want to decorate each area. 
  • Do any of the ideas for decorating VBS in your director's manual "fit" your church?
  • Are there any business in your community who might donate supplies and/or materials for your VBS?
As you consider these questions, be sure to think about how your decorating and promotions teams can work together - 
  • Does your community host a "community days" type celebration with a parade? If so, could you sponsor a float to promote your VBS and decorate the float to fit your VBS theme?
  • How might you decorate outside your church to promote your VBS while also generating enthusiasm for your VBS?
  • Which flyers and promotional materials do you want to use and how can they "fit" well with your decorations?
  • Will you make use of the internet with web information and pre-registration for your VBS?
These are just a few things to get you thinking about decorating and promoting your VBS. I also want to remind you to check out VolunteerSpot.com to help you with your VBS recruiting. They enable you to quickly mobilize and coordinate volunteers in your church with their simple sign-up to make it easy for your church members to say "Yes" to volunteering! VolunteerSpot plans to release their special features for VBS soon, but check them out and see how they can help you organize and recruit for VBS 2011! And, if you haven't determined which VBS resources are the best "fit" for your church and ministry, it isn't too late to do so! Check my VBS posts - reviews and side-by-side comparison chart to help you find your best "fit"! Next month I'll focus on one of the most important parts of your VBS preparation . . . finding your team of prayer partners!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Countdown to Your Volunteer Appreciation Dinner - Menu, Timeline and Invitations!

Today we will take a moment to think about where we need to be in our planning if we are giving our volunteers an appreciation dinner this Spring. In December I encouraged you to plan a volunteer appreciation dinner and said to set your date, determine your budget and decide what type of dinner you want to have. Last month I reminded you to think about how you will decorate and to plan your entertainment for the event. If you have done these things you need to touch bases with everyone to see where they are, plan your trip to purchase the food, check with whoever is cooking to go over the menu and timeline as well as send invitations.
  • Touch bases with your decoration committee - be sure they know the location of your event and what time they need to arrive to decorate.
  • Touch bases with your  entertainment committee - be sure they also know the location of your event and find out if there are any technical needs for your entertainment . . . do you need sound people, do you need a tv/projector so you can show your appreciation video, will your entertainment need to rehearse, etc.
  • If you are doing the food shopping, schedule it on your calendar.
  • Touch bases with your cooking team . . . be sure they know what time to arrive, what time the dinner begins and go over the menu with them.
  • Decide how you will invite your volunteers . . . are you mailing invitations? Will you follow up with an email reminder? Will you personally invite your volunteers? When do you need the invitations to arrive? Are you asking for a RSVP?
I'm a strong believer in the value of taking time to thank your volunteers . . . and an appreciation dinner is a wonderful way to do so! Take care of these things and most importantly, enjoy the opportunity to thank those who volunteer their time to build relationships with children and their families and in so doing, make a tremendous difference in so many lives!

Tomorrow I'll announce our next "Family Pick" . . .  I'm happy to say it is something pretty wonderful and I have one copy to give to one of our facebook friends! If you haven't already "liked" us on facebook, take a moment to do so and then tell the people you know about us so they can be in the drawing, too!

Celebrating Milestones - Welcome Little Ones to Your Children's Ministry!

For the past few days I've been posting about celebrating milestones and reviewed two amazing resources to help your church do exactly this . . . Legacy Milestones and Group's Family Faith Celebrations. Both of these resources provide the information and tools you need to help the parents in your ministry understand their God-given role as the primary faith influencer in their child's life and to involve your entire church in celebrating milestones - Baby Blessing, Faith Commitment, First Bible and Preteen Passage . . . all important moments in a child's and family's life and most certainly worthy of celebrating! 

Today I'd like to encourage you to celebrate another moment in a child's and family's life most certainly worthy of celebrating . . . when a child leaves the nursery and enters your children's ministry! Let's welcome children into our children's ministry . . . and use this moment to introduce their parents to the children's ministry in a way which will be proactive and potentially engage those parents from the "get-go"! Use this opportunity to . . . 
  • Introduce parents to your curriculum. Explain the scope and sequence and the reasons you use the curriculum you use. Walk the parents through any materials their child will bring home and help them fully understand how to get the most out of those resources by talking about them with their child.
  • Explain any children's ministry policies . . . what are your policies for dropping off/picking children up? How do any of your policies differ from those they are used to in the nursery?
  • Introduce the parents and the children to the volunteers and the new classrooms.
  • If you regularly involve the children in service projects to "Put Feet to Their Faith" - explain this aspect of your ministry to the parents and let them know which service projects their child will be involved in and give them some ideas of how they and their child might work together on those projects.
  • Share your vision, passion and plan for the children's ministry and how you want to come alongside the parents to help equip them as their child's primary faith influencer!
Too often we overlook this important moment, this milestone in a child's life and yet it is a wonderful opportunity to further equip parents and warmly welcome children to your children's ministry! Consider the following ideas for welcoming children to your children's ministry . . . 
  • Decorate the Three Year Old's Classroom with photos of the children who are entering the children's ministry!
  • Decorate the classroom with balloons (as long as there aren't any children with latex allergies), streamers and bright colors!
  • Have volunteers ready to warmly welcome children and invite them into their new classroom!
  • Plan a class time of "get-to-know-you" activities.
  • Invite parents to stay the first week so they are able to participate in the welcoming party as well.
  • Provide a special welcoming treat - something special for this important day!
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Make this moment, this milestone, something special as it is the beginning of a relationship with these children . . . a very important relationship in a very special place! We truly want to join with the parents in introducing their children to the most special relationship they will ever have . . . a personal relationship with Jesus! Most certainly worth celebrating!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Family Pick - "joy'n the family" from Rob Biagi!

Don't forget to check out our "Family Pick" . . . Rob Biagi's new cd - "joy'n the family"! Rob Biagi writes and performs Christians songs for kids and their families. In January of 2010 he released his third CD - "joy'n the family" - Rob spelled it this way, "because you are invited to join the family of God, repent and put your trust and faith in Christ for forgiveness of sins, and there is joy in the family of God - we sing, dance, worship and have a blast telling others about His wonderful kindness and love!" joy'n the family has 13 songs - 
If you'd like to hear one of Rob's songs you can watch this clip for "God is workin' on me"!
Rob's songs are sure to get kids and families moving and singing! I like Rob's music because strong messages are the most important thing kids "get" from listening to his cds! The theme to "joy'n the family" comes through loud and clear . . . join God's family and experience the joy in the family! Kids and families will love these songs and enjoy singing them together! Tremendously well done, Rob! Thank you for sending me this cd for review purposes! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Special Family Pick - See the Light - the Crossmaker Easter Story & Art Lessons!

I'm delighted to have the opportunity to share with you an amazing resource from See the Light . . . and let you know about a special drawing I'll be having where I have one to give away!

See the Light is the unique series of Bible stores created by Pat Holt where they come to life as gifted artist Gloria Kohlmann, "develops a colorful canvas of chalk art. Then, at the story's climax, an ultraviolet light reveals a hidden picture which reinforces the story with a truly memorable moment." The Crossmaker DVD features a story about the crossmaker, Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection! But this is only the beginning! You will find three step-by-step art class lessons which a child, class of children and/or adults may follow along with to learn to draw with colored pencils, chalk and water-colors . . . all built around the excitement of the glory of the resurrection! In addition, you will be able to follow along as Gloria explains how to draw her lovely chalk art of the Easter Lesson or watch while she draws and listen to music performed by "Breathing Room"!
This dvd is far more than just a story for children and families to watch . . . the message of the cross and Jesus' death and resurrection is clearly presented in a way many have never experienced before! The Crossmaker dvd could be a wonderful addition to your children's ministry Resurrection Sunday!

I especially love how See the Light artists so clearly and so simply take those watching step-by-step through learning how to draw, not just one project, but three interesting and fun projects; showing anyone can learn to draw!

Thank you See the Light for sending the Crossmaker for my review! I highly recommend it! Thank you also for making another copy available to give away in a special drawing! If you have "liked" this blog using the tab in the "follow us on facebook" box on the right side of this page, then you are entered in this special drawing for the Crossmaker Easter Story & Art Lessons! If you haven't "liked" us yet, take a moment to do so and you will be entered in the drawing! It is this simple! In addition, you may have a second entry in the drawing by "following" us with the tab to the right which says, "follow with Google friend connect". And special for this drawing, you may have a third entry if you take a moment to vote for About the Children's Department in the kidmin blog madness competition - East Regional #4! Just send me a message or email to let me know you voted and I'll enter your name an extra time in the drawing as a thank-you for voting!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the products of services mentioned above for free in the hopes I would mention them on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: 'Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.'"

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fun Extra Family Pick Give-Away . . . HexBug Easter Bunny Nanos!

Just for the fun of it, I'm happy to announce I'll be giving away one HexBug Easter Bunny Nano to two people on Saturday! Families will have lots of fun building their own "mazes" to race their nanos . . . you could find a variety of fun ways to utilize a nano in your children's ministry as well! Children of all ages love these little "robots" . . . for good reason . . . they are truly loads of frenzied fun!

You will find these little "bunnies" at Radio Shack . . .  they sent me two for review and give-away purposes; so if you have "liked" this blog using the tab in the "follow us on facebook" box on the right side of this page, then you are entered in this special drawing for an Easter Bunny Nano! If you haven't "liked" us yet, take a moment to do so and you will be entered in the drawing! It is this simple! In addition, you may have a second entry in the drawing by "following" us with the tab to the right which says, "follow with Google friend connect". And special for this drawing, you may have a third entry if you take a moment to vote for About the Children's Department in the kidmin blog madness competition - East Regional #4! Just send me a message or email to let me know you voted and I'll enter your name an extra time in the drawing as a thank-you for voting!

Thank you Radio Shack and HexBug for sending these little special edition Easter Bunny Nanos for my review and give-away!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the products of services mentioned above for free in the hopes I would mention them on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: 'Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.'"

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"Put Feet to Their Faith" and Involve Your Children in a Project with Angel Tree Camping!

Are you beginning to plan for summer camp for the children in your church? Camp is an unique opportunity for children to develop relationships with adults who care and with other kids. Children at camp often make important and truly life-changing decisions . . . some become Christians and others learn to grow in their walk with Jesus! Camp is a truly worth-while part of a child's life and children do benefit from going to camp! This is especially true for children whose parents are in prison. Angel Tree Camping can help you expand your summer camping program by helping you include a child from your community whose parents are in prison and who otherwise would not be able to go to camp. You might think it is too difficult or complicated to include an Angel Tree child in your camping ministry, but Angel Tree Camping has simple steps for you to follow . . . this is an opportunity unlike any other which allows you to truly impact a child from your community who is genuinely in need of spending a week at camp. So, as you make your plans for summer camp, plan to also include one or more children with Angel Tree Camping! 

Angel Tree can help you identify a child in your community who qualifies and after you have confirmed which children will be attending camp, you can contact Angel Tree to order tote bags and Bibles for each camper. Once your church receives these materials, members of your church may fill the bags with basic camp necessities - such as toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, sunblock lotion, bug spray, etc. Assist your Angel Tree child(ren) as they - or their guardians - fill in their camp registration form and any other paperwork the camp and your church requires including medical forms, etc. As the camp date approaches you will want to make sure all the details are finalized and the caregivers are aware of the things a child needs to bring, transportation arrangements, drop-off and pick up times and location, contact information if they need to get in touch with their child while at camp, etc. Making sure everything is in place and the communication lines are open will help ensure a smooth and comfortable camping experience for everyone involved. 

I love Angel Tree and the opportunity it provides us to give a gift at Christmas to a child whose parents are in prison, but Angel Tree Camping allows you to build a relationship with the child(ren) and their caregivers and potentially help them receive the most important Gift they will ever receive - the gift of Salvation and a relationship with Jesus! Check Angel Tree Camping out and pray about how you may involve the children and families in your church with this ministry this summer!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What Will We Talk About Next Week . . . and What Do I Have Planned for the Month of April?

Next week I have some interesting and fun things planned! We will be talking all week about celebrating milestones with the families in your church! There are some wonderful resources available to help you make milestones in a child's life a true celebration and I'll be holding a special drawing for a give-away of one such resource! Be sure to take a moment to "like" this blog using the tab in the "follow us on facebook" box to your right!

In addition, I'll be having a special drawing for two HexBug Easter Bunny Nanos! Just for fun! These nanos are so much fun for families . . . I'm sure you could find a way to have fun with them in your ministry, too! Have kids build mazes and race their nano . . . again, be sure to "like" us on facebook to be entered in this drawing!

Plus, on Friday I'll be announcing our next "Family Pick" and give-away . . . it is something pretty special!

And for a look ahead into April . . . I'll be releasing my curriculum reviews and side-by-side comparison chart! These reviews and charts will follow the same format as my VBS reviews and chart did, so be sure to check back in April for these resources!

I'll also be releasing my Safe Nursery reviews in April, a new "Put Feet to Their Faith" ministry focus and more "Family Picks" and give-aways! April will be a full and fun month!

Please take a moment to vote for my blog in the kidmin blog madness competition - East Regional #4 seed - About the Children's Department! I need each and every one of you who read this blog to vote for me! I most sincerely appreciate your support!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Children and Domestic Violence.

Sadly in far, far too many homes around this country and around the world children witness and often experience domestic violence. This is a tragedy which passes from one generation to the next as children who experience this violence often grow to experience it again as an adult, or to go on and become an abuser themselves. Those of us who serve in children's ministries need to be aware of what to look for so we can reach out and help children and adults whose lives are marred with this hideous violence. These children are often in our midst . . . we must do what we can to help.

Actual and accurate statistics are difficult to find as so many cases of domestic violence go unreported, but on the Shasta Women's Refuge website I found the following information . . . 

  • A woman is beaten every 15 seconds. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between ages 15 and 44 in theUnited States - more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. Battered women are more likely to suffer miscarriages and to give birth to babies with low birth weights.
  • Battering is the establishment of control and fear in a relationship through violence and other forms of abuse. The batterer uses acts of violence and a series of behaviors, including intimidation, threats, psychological abuse, isolation, etc. to coerce and to control the other person. The violence may not happen often, but it remains as a hidden (and constant) terrorizing factor. One in five women victimized by their spouses or ex-spouses report they had been victimized over and over again by the same person.
  • Women of all cultures, races, occupations, income levels, and ages are battered - by husbands, boyfriends, lovers and partners. Approximately one-third of the men counseled (for battering) are professional men who are well respected in their jobs and their communities. These have included doctors, psychologists, lawyers, ministers, and business executives.
  • Women who leave their batterers are at a 75% greater risk of being killed by the batterer than those who stay. Nationally, 50 percent of all homeless women and children are on the streets because of violence in the home. There are nearly three times as many animal shelters in the United States as there are shelters for battered women and their children.
  • Domestic violence occurs every nine seconds in the U.S. 
  • 1 in 4 women in California will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
  • Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.
  •  In California 134 homicides resulted from intimate partner violence in 2006. 110 of the victims were women, 24 were men.
  • 1 in 5 female teenagers experience physical or sexual dating violence.
  •   Girls experiencing physical and sexual dating violence were 4-6 times more likely to become pregnant than non-abused peers. They were 8-9 times more likely to have attempted suicide in the previous years than non-abused peers.
  • 9% of girls and 6% of boys have already experienced some sort of dating violence before they reach the 9th grade.
  • A study of nearly 2,000 8th and 9th grade students revealed that 35.5% of dating adolescents reported being a victim of at least one nonsexual dating violence act, and 10.7% of these students had been a victim of at least one sexual dating violence act
Children are profoundly affected by witnessing family violence. As the statistics above stated, boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to go on to abuse their own spouse and children. And no child should live with the intimidation, violence, pain and fear which comes with domestic violence. Know the signs to watch for and then watch for those signs . . . 
  • unexplained injuries
  • changes in behavior
  • returning to earlier behaviors
  • fear of going home
  • changes in eating
  • changes in sleeping
  • changes in school performance and attendance
  • lack of personal care or hygiene
  • risk-taking behaviors
  • inappropriate sexual behaviors
For more details on these signs, check your local women's and children's shelter and find out what you can do to be aware and how you can help children and families in crisis. Be sure to regularly train your volunteers so they know what to watch for and know what steps to take when abuse is suspected.

I'm very proud of my brother-in-law, Curtis Chipley. He is participating in the "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" fundraiser tomorrow, March 19th, in Redding, CA. Participating in this event means Curtis will be wearing a truly "stunning" pair of bright red, glitter encrusted 3" platform shoes while he literally walks a mile to raise money for the Shasta Women's Refuge! Yes, Curtis is a brave man! If you would like to donate to Curtis' fundraising endeavor, you may do so by following this link - just be sure to input "Curtis Chipley" when prompted to do so. 

Whether you participate in an event like Curtis is, or sponsor those who do, or not . . . we must do all we can to notice if a child is being harmed and then take the steps necessary to help these children and families where domestic violence is occurring. This is an evil we can and must do something about.