Serve Well Blog

Entries tagged 'Poverty: Urban US & International'

4.20.12

Service Leadership Update- A Voice for Justice

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Urban America, Arts & Culture, Community, Education, Faith/Theological Exploration, Poverty: Urban US & International, Sustaining Service

nikkita oliver, photo by Contina Kemp"Justice, like people, has living impact" writes Nikkita Oliver ('08), who currently teaches poetry, debate and biblical leadership, and runs the chapel program at the Seattle Urban Academy (SUA). Serving for two years as a chaplain and service provider at the King County Youth Detention Center, Nikkita accompanied youth struggling in the system, and listened to their stories. "...The law should work to the benefit of the people,"writes Nikkita, "In my experience, I have not seen the law work as such." These troubling encounters have strengthened her resolve to bring legal literacy and empowerment to her south Seattle community.

 

Colleagues Nikkita Oliver '08 and Laura Wright '11She has a track record of developing community youth. An active musician and spoken word artist, Nikkita facilitates community spaces for youth to give voice to their world. A member of the 2011 KF Conference planning team, also she used her artistic gifts to lead the worship service. This month, Nikkita received the exciting news that she earned a full scholarship to attend the University of Washington Law School. The KF community celebrates Nikkita as she takes the next step on her journey of service leadership.

2.12.12

Trise Moore | Krista Foundation GCA- Urban United States

Destiny Williams, The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Krista Foundation Press, Urban America, Community, Education, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life, Poverty: Urban US & International, Sustaining Service

Trise Moore Krista Foundation GCA Urban U.S.The Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship announces the selection of Trise Moore to be honored with a Global Citizen Award for embodying a life of service leadership in the area of Urban United States.

Moore leads the increasingly diverse Federal Way School District's community partnership initiatives to improve student achievement. Implementing innovative strengths-based approaches, Moore navigates intercultural and adaptive challenges, dismantling barriers and empowering parents to become effective partners in student academic success. Moore, who became Family and Community Partnership Advocate for the Federal Way School District in 2003, previously received national honors as chair of the City of Federal Way's Diversity Commission.

"The Krista Foundation is delighted to honor Trise Moore for her service-centered leadership in the diverse urban context of Federal Way," says Krista Foundation Executive Director Valerie Norwood. "Service that transforms communities is not a one-way path of giver to receiver. It must be mutually transformative. Trise leverages the insights of parents and other key stakeholders, together creating a model of family engagement that is gaining national recognition and making a positive ripple effect in Federal Way and beyond."

Moore is one of three mid-career professionals from the Puget Sound region to be honored by the Krista Foundation for exemplifying the qualities of Global Citizenship: service leadership that creates community and sustainable futures for people and the environment.

The 2012 Krista Foundation Global Citizen Award recipients will be formally announced and honored at a public event on Sunday, March 4th, 7:00 pm in the Campion Ballroom at Seattle University. The three honorees demonstrate the event theme: "The Ripple Effect: Service changes you. Service changes the world." Tickets for the event are available by contacting The Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship at 206-382-7888 or nissana@kristafoundation.org. This is an RSVP-only event.

Global Citizen Award recipients are selected for demonstrating the Krista Foundation values: intercultural competence, adaptive leadership, young adult empowerment, respect for spiritual values, global-local connection, and service as a way of life. The other 2012 Global Citizen Award recipients to be honored are:
Sharon London, Strategic Initiatives Director, EarthCorps (Environment)
Joseph Whinney, Founder & CEO, Theo Chocolate (Developing World)

About the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship: Founded in 1999, The Krista Foundation honors the life and vision of Krista Hunt Ausland who died at age 25 while volunteering with her husband in rural Bolivia. Through mentoring, a colleague community and re-integration services, the Krista Foundation helps young adults fully understand and employ the learnings from their service experience. A service year, when nurtured, becomes a life of service leadership. The Krista Foundation provides ongoing program connections for more than 200 Krista Colleagues and offers program development resources and services, including The Global Citizen journal, for local universities and volunteer service organizations.

Link to KF Ripple Effect Event Page

Link to KF Ripple Effect Facebook Page

Krista Colleague endorsement for Trise Moore by Carmetrus Parker

As a former AmeriCorps volunteer and Krista Colleague, I am so happy to see that Trise Moore is being honored with the Krista Foundation's 2012 Global Citizen Award in the area of Urban United States. I value the tremendous work Trise Moore is doing in Federal Way as a Family Partnership Advocate and I applaud Federal Way School District for taking steps in engaging parents.

As an AmeriCorps volunteer in the urban setting of Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood, I provided in class assistance to students and coordinated an after school program focused on literacy development in early readers. The after school program was housed at Trinity Presbyterian Church and the primary focus was of the program was on students reading below grade level. It became apparent to me that my students needed more than just an after school reading program and I soon found myself in the uncomfortable position of being an advocate.

I did not understand what being an education advocate meant. I was confronted by frustrated parents that truly wanted the best for their child. Some parents felt they were not getting their concern heard, let alone addressed. Others didn't see school as a safe place and turned to the "girl at the church" as a confidante. Many more respected the program and viewed the church as a place of integrity. Whatever the reason, parents came to me. I soon began having conversations with teachers and principals that ended in uncomfortable eye and leg shifting.

I began to ask hard questions. It seemed the more questions I asked, the fewer answers I received. I began to research and seek answers independently. I discovered resources that I never knew existed! As a parent, I soon realized how ill equipped I had been to advocate for my own children. I was not only ill equipped, but ill informed. I began sharing information on student and parent rights and responsibilities. I requested information and brochures from the Education Ombudsman. I referred parents to advocacy trainings and encouraged them to contact their assigned school director when a situation could not be resolved at the school level.

In AmeriCorps, my primary function was to serve when and where I was needed most. I never imagined that I would become an advocate for families, yet I am proud and honored for being called into this role. I recognize that there was a deficit within the system and a need that was not being fulfilled.

It is obvious that Trise Moore has a heart for families and a true desire to serve her community through her role as Family and Community Partnership Advocate. Her vision for family engagement resonated with me because it shifts from blaming parents to empowering them. I have often felt that I was not a partner in my children's education. Trise Moore is committed to ensuring that all parents have an opportunity to KC Carmetrus Parkerparticipate and, ultimately, become partners in educating their children. In a society focused on individual achievement it is refreshing to see a collective approach to ensuring success for all. Focusing on family engagement in our schools is an approach that is often not a priority in public education. The benefits are countless, as issues of the ever-widening achievement gap can be more readily addressed, and increased parental involvement is an invaluable resource to students and teachers alike.

Hats off to Trise Moore and her colleagues in Federal Way for prioritizing and focusing on family engagement, and recognizing the ripple effect it has on student achievement.

Carmetrus Parker is a 2009 Krista Colleague, Program Coordinator at Tacoma Urban League, and Director of Community Relations and TAP at Trinity Presbyterian Church.

6.24.11

Walking Alongside in Sitka

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Urban America, Poverty: Urban US & International, Sustaining Service

Liz Purdy carves totem in SitkaLiz Purdy’s enthusiastic heart for service has taken the Seattle native to the far corners of the nation. In 2010, she spent five months teaching English to refugees at Jubilee Partners, an intentional Christian service community in Comer, Georgia. Last Fall, she moved from the southeastern United States to the southeast of Alaska to work in the town of Sitka. As a participant in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, Liz is a women’s advocate at Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV) working alongside survivors of domestic violence. At SAFV, Liz assists with housing applications, connects women with pro-bono legal work and public assistance, prepares protective orders and accompanies women to court if so desired. “We are women willing to help other women navigate an often challenging legal and social service system that is rarely ‘user friendly,’” Liz said. She appreciates the philosophy of SAFV, saying, "We never tell a woman what we think she should do, but we let her know what her options are, offer objective feedback, and inform her as best we can about the tools she has at her disposal.”

This year, Liz has come face to face with the complexity of helping women in a cycle of abuse, and she has learned accompaniment in the process. “It’s hard to have women come in and ask for help, just to go back to dangerous situations or to feed their addictions. They may come back the next day, the next week, or never,” Liz said. This harsh reality reinforced for Liz that not only is she not called to fix anyone’s problems, but also that she couldn’t if she wanted to. Rather, her role is to listen and to support these women who struggle to make sense of their situation and try to move forward. Some days the positive change is hard to see.

At times, Liz misses the more measurable progress of teaching English back at Jubilee, and she often wonders where she'll find herself when her JVC-Northwest term is over. A concept Liz heard from former KF Keynote Father Greg Boyle has particularly resonated with her throughout this time: “We’re not called to be successful, we’re called to be faithful.” Focusing on the present, Liz is better able to walk alongside women struggling with feelings of hopelessness, helping them take the small steps toward healing and hope. 

Be sure to check out Liz's blog at www.lizpurdy.wordpress.com.
Special thanks to Annie Mesaros (09') for contributing this piece.

4.6.11

Future Physician Learns Healthcare Challenges

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Urban America, Healthcare, Poverty: Urban US & International, Sustaining Service

Mike advocates for AmeriCorps"When most people discharge from a hospital stay, a family member takes them to a warm home where they can rest and be fed," Says new Colleague Mike Alston, who serves with JVC - Northwest in Portland, Oregon. "Homeless patients head out the front door with only a bus ticket." Though deemed "medically stable" Mike has noticed people leave tired, sore, and stressed. Through the innovative Recuperation Care Program, Mike helps homeless clients transition from the hospital to housing and recovery, beginning by driving them to a building with food and a warm bed.

Though Mike majored in International Economic Development, he's become discouraged about economic disparity closer to home. "There simply aren't enough slots for those who genuinely want help. The whole city is strapped. It makes it hard when someone wants to move forward and make good choices, but the best they can do is be on a waiting list." Still, he tries to hold on to the success stories: "It is great when clients defy your negative expectations. One woman came to us cycling through the emergency room, in a wheelchair, and her life was falling apart. Still, she discharged into permanent housing, and has been walking and sober for months-and keeping regular appointments! It's hard not to become jaded, but sometimes clients defy your expectations in a positive way."

Set to begin Medical School at the University of Washington this fall, Mike is gaining valuable insight into a medically vulnerable population and the medical care system through his service at the hospital. He plans to use his Krista Foundation Grant funds to attend the Northwest Regional Primary Care Association's Spring Conference "to better prepare for... a career (as a physician) and to better understand the various issues surrounding healthcare delivery to poor and vulnerable populations." Mike also plans to bring lessons from the conference back to Old Town Clinic in Portland.

As a volunteer in the presidential motorcade, Mike was recently able to meet President Obama. Mike took the opportunity to remind the President that AmeriCorps funding was critical to his work, but that the House had passed a budget with significant cuts to the program. The President affirmed his concern, and thanked him for his service.

11.18.10

Teach for America Coming to Puget Sound

Destiny Williams | Service In The News, Urban America, Education, Global Citizenship, Poverty: Urban US & International, Preparing To Serve, Sustaining Service

From cities to towns across the country, the national educational system is struggling, and people are trying different approaches to fix it. Of the growing numbers of college graduates looking to "give back" through meaningful service, some choose to serve in education, either as teachers or in after-school programs.  Teach for America (TFA), founded 20 years ago to address the achievement gap, is one program which places college graduates into paid teaching positions in struggling classrooms. TFA is in the middle of a major national expansion effort that has reached Puget Sound (Seattle & Federal Way).

A Seattle Times Article: "Teach for America seeks foothold in Seattle area" (Nov. 3, 2010) includes background and some opinions from various constituencies impacted by this shift.

A goal of the Krista Foundation is to encourage healthy dialogue and work toward best practices in the broad field of service volunteerism. Whether technically "volunteer" (unpaid/stipended) or vocational (paid), intercultural service should be done with care for the volunteer, and with care for the community where service is done. We appreciate the way TFA's model can be a platform to discuss best practices for service and vocational work by young adults who want to make a difference.

Quick summary of arguments:
Critics note:

  • TFA gives participants only 6 weeks of training before placing them into difficult classrooms.
  • TFA teachers flood a market where even certified teachers aren't getting hired, and then, after the 2-year stint, 2/3 move on, increasing staff turnover.
  • Former TFA teachers tend to have mixed feelings about the program, and site higher rates of burnout and disillusionment. (see NY Times Amanda Fairbanks, and "Teach for Awhile" Seattle Times 11.16.10, or)

Supporters note:

  • TFA teachers make up for not having a teaching credential by bringing vitality and innovation to help turn classrooms around, and site that students of TFA teachers perform as well as those with certified teachers.
  • TFA teachers take classes toward a certification, improving their skills as they work. TFA is one of several non-traditional programs for teacher certification.
  • Some teachers later move into leadership roles in schools and school districts, impacting educational policy.

 

Read the article for more.

Also consider reading Taking Care: The Quest for an Ethical and Mutual Approach to Service, an article by the Krista Foundation's Executive Director, Valerie Norwood.

Are you connected to or passionate about this issue? We welcome and value your experience and reflections. Please post your (moderated) comments below.

11.3.10

Global Citizenship: U.S. Halts Visas for Some Int'l Adoptions

Destiny Williams | Service In The News, Developing Nations, Global Citizenship, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life, Poverty: Urban US & International

serve well blogWhether on a short-term immersion, or long-term service experience, many of us have held children in an orphanage. It is hard not to be moved to try to help improve their lives in some way. Discerning a call to global citizenship, some have gone on to work in international adoption or have chosen to become parents who adopt internationally.

The Seattle Times recently featured the story of Jenni Lund, the now-legal mother of two-year-old Pukar. They wait in Nepal alongside other parents and children, as US visa regulations won't allow her to bring Pukar to her home to central Washington without clear proof that he had been abandoned. Such documentation is virtually non-existent there. Meanwhile proof exists that some orphanage directors, who benefit from getting children adopted, have threatened local parents to forfeit their children.

Stopping visas puts pressure on Nepal to improve documentation in hopes of reducing the influence of child trafficking. In the meantime, children remain in orphanages, and the prospective parents, many of whom are deeply invested (financially and emotionally), are left with dim prospects. 

Read Nancy Bartley's Nov. 1 article Nepali adoptions investigated; U.S. parents agonize.

Do you have a connection or experience related to orphanages or international adoption? Please share your thoughts and comments below...

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