Summer!

voilet in jar

We are on an eleven and a half day countdown until the end of school! June 10 (pending survival on field day.)

Exciting opportunities are coming this summer…

 

Questions about the Holland Summer Serve Play Groups? Click here! 

summer camp

About Proximity is joining kindness experts and host Sheila of Pennies of Time for Virtual Kindness Summer Camp.

This is a Facebook Group where great conversation will take place and lots of ideas will be shared about serving with our kids. About Proximity is sharing Talk Justice Play Groups.

We’d love to have you join in. Click here and request to be a part of the group.

 

I love that summer changes speed, and the space it makes for friends and family.

I love the bike riding, beach hanging, ice cream, and the kids Nerf squirt gun fights.

(The only thing I don’t love is our neighborhoods love affair with fireworks. All DAY and ALL NIGHT, yet only legal the day before, of, and after the ten federal holidays.)

I love being able to sit at my desk in my office/guest bedroom/kids creation zone and write. I will be working on two big projects this summer. They have been wake up at 4:00 a.m. freak-out projects, but I know that God is bigger then my fears.

  • Finishing up Changed for Life, a curriculum about entering into short-term missions as a long-term partnership, with respect and humility for the work already occurring in the host community. (I’ve been a co-writer on this project for some time, and I am so excited to see it moving to completion.)
  • 88 Playgroups that Make a Difference: Helping Children Engage Justice Issues that Really Matter. You can pray with me that this project might become more than a document on my laptop.

Also, I should clean my house.

Mostly, I share these things because I want to know what you are doing this summer! What are your plans, fun activities, the ways you are going to slow down, projects? What you are most excited about? 

 

 

 

Summer Serve Play Groups

playgroup dates

About Proximity is so excited to host Summer Service Play Groups in Holland, Michigan!

Let’s come out to make a difference as a community with our families.

 

Here is our Facebook Event Page. 

 

Printable PDFs to share with others. Included are the service opportunities for each week and all the activities we have planned! 

Summer Serve Play Group Schedule Summer 2015

June16: If the World Were a Village

iftheworldwereavillage

June 23: One Hen

OneHenHungerJune 30: The Red Bicycle

TheRedBicyclePlayGroup

July 7: Mimi’s Village

Mimi's Village Play Group

July 14: Planet Ark 

PlanetArkPlayGroup

Serve Projects: 

Bringing donations is completely optional! Even if you are unable to participate in the donation part of the service project, still come out to the play group! We’ll learn together and have fun. We want everyone to feel welcome. Click on the printable PDFs to see what we are gathering for each week.

A few ideas:

  • When shopping for donations for Holland Rescue Mission and Community Action House involve your kids. It’s a great opportunity to talk to them about needs families might have and what items can be a support and encouragement.
  • When bringing $1.00 donation for Shot@Life, World Vision, and World Renew encourage your kids to earn the money by doing a small job around the house, helping will feel even more meaningful to them.

 

Want to learn more about the organizations we are supporting? 

Holland Rescue Mission

Community Action House

Shot@Life

World Vision

World Renew 

All our stories are donated by Citizen Kid Books.  

 

We can’t wait to see you this summer! 

Questions? 

Email: Lisa Van Engen at aboutproximity@gmail.com 

 

 

 

Do NOT give up.

Do not give up

One evening this week my whole family had crashed asleep by 8:30. I sat up writing in the dark. I am a quiet girl, but it is funny what happens when we are left to ourselves. The doubt began as a little trickle and by 10:30 I was typing and crying at the same time. It’s the same mix tape that runs through my heart.

Everything I offer is not enough. I am not fully and completely good at anything. I am letting everyone around me down. I keep having dreams about owning multiple houses with countless rooms, so many I can’t keep them all straight. I keep forgetting that I am enough. We are all enough. It is not what we accomplish.

For three years, my one word has been kneel. I keep forgetting to do that. Then it comes quietly, don’t give up. Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. Kneel.

Those things I can do. Again and Again. I know that the tape will play again, it never really ever fully goes away, but it also doesn’t matter.

I won’t give up. I will keep clinging to what I can do, even if imperfectly.

 

Again and Again.

 

#TalkJustice: Race

talkjustice

Race. Not an easy topic.

Walls shot up immediately. Emotions high.

How can we talk about race in our families? Do just that… Talk. Learn. Listen. We would do well to humble ourselves and open up dialogue. Expose our kids to people from different parts of world, different cultures, different skin colors. Our lives grow wider and richer. Help them remember history and why hurt remain for cultures and groups of people. Listen.

Discussion Starters:

race conversation starters

Help Your Family Go Deeper: 

  • What is privilege?
  • Are there certain groups with advantages or disadvantages?
  • Why do you think race is such an uncomfortable conversation?
  • How can we do more listening?
  • Can prejudices go both ways?
  • Are some places or activities still very much segregated?
  • How are race and class connected?
  • How would it feel to carry a history of slavery as a people?
  • When you are judged on appearance how does it feel?
  • How do different cultures deepen our lives?
  • How can you respect people even when they don’t do things the same as you do?
  • What is a stereotype? How easy is it to move beyond a stereotype?
  • Do we tend to lump people together in groups without sifting out their unique qualities?
  • How often do you describe someone by their race or culture?
  • How often do you see people with different skin colors in television, movies, books?
  • How can you expand your global consciousness?
  • How honest are we about history? Are we honest about how that effects present day? Are we honest that we still have a long way to go?
  • If God created us all equally, should anyone be treated differently because of the color of their skin? or where they came from?
  • Is race a challenge everywhere in the world? Are there inequalities everywhere in the world?

Kids books about Diversity and Race

kids books about race

Lee and Low Books (a multi cultural publisher)

The Colors of Us by Karen Katz

Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester

What We Wear by Maya Ajmera

Delivering Justice by Jim Haskins

Same Same but Different by: Jenni Sue Koseckti-Shaw

I Lay My Stitches Down by: Cynthia Grady

21 Ways to Take Action

A Twitter Race list to follow.

Follow our About Proximity #TalkJustice Pinterest Board.

#TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. Invite friends! We will be exploring topics and making a difference in community, using a series of books donated to us from CitizenKid. Hosted by About Proximity (that’s me) and my Mom, a public school family advocate for two decades.

How can we listen more and talk less? 

#TalkJustice Health Care

talkjustice

Kids #TalkJustice Access to Health Care

Access to health care is an issue that really affects everyone. Even when families have insurance they may lack funds for co-pays, or still be in need of secondary services like vision, dental, and specialists. Beyond debates, because there is probably no country that has found the one-hundred percent correct answer to access, how can we understand and support access to health care in our communities and globally. Globally the situation is even more desperate as access to the simplest care is out of reach for many.

Health Care Discussion Starters:

health care conversation starters

Help your family go deeper:

  • The cost of health care is staggering… who can you help with this burden? Do you know families you can support?
  • Discuss specific illnesses with children. Help them understand what might go into care, what special equipment you might need, how often you might have to visit the doctor.
  • Talk about parts of world where you might have to walk miles and miles to get to a health clinic. If you are bringing a sick family member what challenges might that bring?
  • Talk about needing glasses, but having no way to acquire them.
  • In disasters how important is health care? What things change in moments of crisis?
  • What might be different about doctors offices around the world?
  • The disease of malaria can be prevented by a simple bed net, yet many do not have access to that. What other sicknesses might be prevented by something simple (clean water, sanitation, clinics.)
  • Do you have a free health clinic in your area? Is there anyway you can support their efforts?
  • How can your family take care of its own health?
  • How do you think health care where you live compares to other places around the world?
  • How can you support efforts to help people have access to health care?
  • Do you think this might be an important cause for communities to think about?
  • If you know someone going through an illness or has a chronic illness how could you support their family? How could you support a classmate?
  • Talk about root causes of heath care disparities: race, local resources, location in the world, poverty, immigrant or refugee, women in parts of the world.

Kids Books about Health Care:

books about health careI Lost my Tooth in Africa by: Penda Diakite

Mimi’s Village By: Katie Smith Milway

Nest By: Esther Ehrlich

The Lemonade Club By: Patricia Polacco

The Fault in our Stars By: John Greene

The Heaven Shop By: Deborah Ellis

16 Ways to take Action: 

immuzation banner

A Health Care Twitter list to follow.

Follow our About Proximity #TalkJustice Pinterest Board.

#TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. Invite friends! We will be exploring topics and making a difference in community, using a series of books donated to us from CitizenKid. Hosted by About Proximity (that’s me) and my Mom, a public school family advocate for two decades.

What are your thoughts? 

 

 

#TalkJustice: Creation Care

talkjustice

Kids #TalkJustice Creation Care

Recycling, using energy efficient light bulbs, saving endangered species. Kids are pretty good at protecting the environment. How can our families dig deeper, see the big picture of caring for God’s creation, and strengthen our impact? It is important for our kids to know our consumption habits effect the world around us. The environment is a facet of our lives that really connects us globally to the rest of the world. We have a responsibility to care for what God created.

Creation Care Discussion Starters:

creation care conversation starters

Help your family go deeper: 

  • Could you add a new habit each month this year?
  • What about the drought in California? How could we be proactive even if we don’t live there?
  • If we don’t care for the environment now, how might that effect our future?
  • Could your habits effect someone in China?
  • How can we reuse things?
  • What things do we buy local? Is there anything we could add?
  • Do our efforts make a difference? How could we share what we do to help others contribute too?
  • Does our church have any green habits? Could we begin any?
  • Does our school have any green habits? Could we begin any?
  • Are there any local projects we could get involved in?
  • Do we support our local farmer’s market?
  • Are there any global projects that protect the environment we can be involved in?

Kids Books about Creation Care:

earth day

The Curious Garden, Compost Stew, Curious George Plants a Tree, Michael Recycle, The Magic School Bus Climate Challenge, Fancy Nancy Earth Day is Everyday, Biscuits Earth Day Celebration, and Gabby and Grandma Go Green.  

 

 

 

19 Ways to take Action: 

 

A creation care twitter list to follow.

Follow our About Proximity #TalkJustice Pinterest Board.

#TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. Invite friends! We will be exploring topics and making a difference in community, using a series of books donated to us from CitizenKid. Hosted by About Proximity (that’s me) and my Mom, a public school family advocate for two decades.

What is your family’s best green tip? We’d love to hear about it! 

 

 

 

#Talk Justice: Human Trafficking

talkjustice

Kids #TalkJustice Human Trafficking

The topic of human trafficking can be a difficult one to breach with children. You definitely want to be sensitive to age and personalities. This topic is actually where this series originated. My friend and writer Amy Sullivan had an experience when this topic was brought up in a classroom. Not everyone was as open to their students knowing about the realities around them.

Amy and I were talking about how we believe we do no favors to our children if they do not understand injustice. In opening up dialogue we develop empathy, compassion, and the ability to make a difference.

Increasing their awareness also makes them safer. A sad truth is that child labor and sex trafficking don’t just happen across the ocean. It is happening in our own communities. Take a look at this United States map from Polaris Project showing locations where human trafficking has been reported. According to Exodus Road 3 out of 4 victims are trafficked on-line.

Start small and work your way to all the truths we encounter as your children’s age progresses. You can begin teaching young kids about the history of slavery, human rights and child labor.

Human Trafficking Discussion Starters:

human trafficking conversation starters

Help your family go deeper: 

  • What are some root causes of human trafficking?
  • poverty- parents needing to pay off debts, not being able to afford to care for children
  • gender inequality where women are not as valued
  • racial discrimination, caste system where some lives are not as important as others
  • government or political corruption where the laws do not protect
  • undocumented immigration status
  • demand for cheap goods and labor
  • Where is there more vulnerability? 
  • drug and alcohol addiction
  • homelessness, runaways, abuse
  • women and girls
  • those affected by poverty
  • How do our choices of what we buy affect the demand for child labor?
  • What organizations could we support that focus on human trafficking?
  • What do we need to do as a family to be safe on the internet?

 Ways to Take Action! 

For parents the National Trafficking Hotline: 1.888.3737.888

human trafficking Twitter List to follow

Follow our About Proximity #TalkJustice Pinterest Board.

#TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. Invite friends! We will be exploring topics and making a difference in community, using a series of books donated to us from CitizenKid. Hosted by About Proximity (that’s me) and my Mom, a public school family advocate for two decades.