Thursday, June 18, 2015

"A Child Called It"

My son Tait, who is 13 years old, recently finished a book called "A Child Called It." This is a popular book about the true story of Dave Pelzer. I asked Tait a couple questions about the book and thought I would share his answers with you.

1. What book did you read and what made you choose to read that book?
I read the book "A Child Called It" and "The Lost Boy." I read these books because my sister had read some of them and told me about them, and they seemed interesting, so I decided to check them out from the library.

2. Give a brief description of these books.
"A Child Called It" is about a kid named Dave and how he was abused by his mother. She beat him, burned him, made him drink ammonia, and she even stabbed him. "The Lost Boy" is about when Dave entered the foster care system and all the challenges that he faced while in foster care. These books tell how he got through these really tough challenges. They also talk about what he was feeling at these times.

3. What are some of the emotions you felt as you read this book, and why?
I felt a lot of different emotions, some good and some bad. I felt mad and sad throughout the whole book. I also felt confused, not because the writing was difficult to understand, but because of the commitment the author felt towards his parents. I felt happy when things finally started to turn around for Dave.

4. Would you recommend this book to other teens, why?
I totally would recommend this book to other teens and to adults as well. Everyone can learn a lot from reading it.

5. What did you learn from reading this book?
I learned a lot from this book. I learned how foster kids might be feeling, and how hard it is for them to be known as a "foster kid."

6. If you ever had the chance to meet Dave Pelzer, what would you say to him?
If I ever have a chance to meet Dave, I would ask him "What was the hardest thing for you to get through?" and "Why did you not run away from your parents and go to the police?"

Summer Vacation!

If you are a parent, you have probably heard of the tv show "Phineas and Ferb." This is one of my favorite shows to watch with my kids because it is just as entertaining for me as it is for them. The show is all about two brothers deciding what to do with their time on summer vacation. Watch this video to see some of the ideas they come up with.

As a father, one of my goals is to help my children "see outside of themselves." One of the ways this can be done is by educating our kids about different "needs" in our community and around the world. One of the needs that we have identified is youth who are aging out of foster care. Did you know that between 36%-50% of youth who age out of foster care end up homeless within 18 months and that 64% of men who age out of foster care have been incarcerated by the time they turn 26? It is our desire to help these youth through a project we are calling Oasis. Check it out here.

I thought it would be fun to give you some ideas on how you can help make Oasis a reality and have some fun with your kids at the same time. 

1. Car Wash
What kid doesn't love to wash a car? This can be something you do in your neighborhood, and invite others to be a part and help out.

2. Lemonade Stand
Now this is a summer staple. Buy some lemonade, set up your stand, and start selling. You could also make it a competition and challenge your friends to do the same and whoever raises the most money, is the winner.

3. Garage Sale
This is another great way to raise money and get rid of that stuff you do not need. It is always fun walking your kids through the process of deciding what to sell and what to keep.

4. Collect Pop Cans
If you live in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, or Vermont, this is a great way to raise money. I have found that if you offer to come get the cans people will gladly let you have them, especially if it's for a good cause.

5. Bake Sale
If you have kids who like to bake, this can be a lot of fun. This can be a great learning experience for your kids as well. 

So if you have exhausted the ideas suggested by Phineas and Ferb, try one of these ideas and help us make Oasis a reality.

100% of all donations will go to Oasis, are tax deductible, and can be made here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Introducing...Rebecca Johnson

We are excited to introduce to you, Rebecca Johnson. Rebecca is our newest board member and we are so excited to have her on the Village to Village team.
Rebecca and her husband, Erik
We asked Rebecca a few questions to help you get to know a little more about her.

What are two unique things you like to do?
My grandma taught me to crochet and when I have free time, I like to make fun stuff for my friends and family. I also love to play soccer, I still get to play in an adult league.

What is your favorite meal?
I never grew up eating seafood, but now I love it and I never get sick of it. I especially like sushi! I also love Indian food - Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken with Naan bread. Yum!

What is your favorite movie?
Remember the Titans

In your home, where do you spend the most of your time?
In our living room curled up on our comfy couch, but lately I have been out in the garage working on creative projects.

What is something on your bucket list?
Travel to Thailand and ride an elephant, and while I am there be a part of the Thai Lantern Festival.

What are you most passionate about when it comes to caring for vulnerable children?
I want them to know that they are loved and have value. Everyone wants to be known and feel safe. Vulnerable children especially need this. I love being able to love on and invest in vulnerable children whether it means advocating for them through Village to Village, spending time with them at the Boys and Girls Club, holding them at the orphanage in India, or adopting (Lord willing, in our future). My hope is that through my actions they are able to realize the infinite love Jesus has for them and how unique and special He has made each and every one of them.

Where did you grow up?
Suburbs of Chicago, Naperville to be exact.

What college did you attend and what degree did you receive?
Indiana Wesleyan University, my degree was in Exercise Science.

How did you meet your husband, Erik?
We were both on the soccer team at Indiana Wesleyan.

Welcome aboard, Rebecca

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