I am starting to think that perhaps I am a bit of an odd ball. I am finding that I really enjoy serving on boards. I find that these board meetings awaken my passion!
Currently I am serving on the Rescue One Board (http://rescue-one.org/)
Rescue One provides tuition for the local Christian school, clothing and a daily meal for each child we serve. Most children return to their families each day. Some live in an orphanage for the school week, returning home with additional food on the weekends. Sometimes having their child fed and educated allows parents to keep their child at home and not release him/her into the Restavec system. By limiting our program to one child per family, we are able to have an impact on many families.
The children also have an opportunity to attend a week of Christian summer camp where they learn life skills, receive health care and sex education, and enjoy a week of fun.
The churches use their contact with the families to show Christian mercy, provide educational information, and enfold the family into their community of believers.I serve on the Open Hearts Ministry Board. (http://www.ohmin.org/) Love God, Love Eachother. One story at a time Open Hearts grew out of a response to the pain of sexual abuse that surfaced in 1988 after the presentation of Dr. Dan Allender’s “Wounded Heart Seminar” in Kalamazoo, MI. Groups formed and stories of abuse, long hidden, were brought to light. The learning curve was high in those early years as a biblically based curriculum was developed and group leaders gained experience. Soon others were asking for training so that they could take this ministry to their communities. SALTS was birthed in response to this need in 1993. Originally focusing on women, the men’s program was added in 1997. By 1998 organizational needs had grown to a point that a charitable 501 (c) 3 was established and Open Hearts Ministry grew rapidly to include men and women with a focus on recovery and restoration from all kinds of soul harming experiences. Today a network of leaders scattered around the world offer Grace Groups to their communities. Training and curriculum resources are offered for starting groups, continuing groups and for couples who want to extend what they are learning as individuals to their marriages and families. I serve on the Ready For Life Board (http://www.rflnetwork.org) RFL is a passionate non-profit that fosters inclusive communities, thus cultivating opportunities for people with disabilities to grow, learn, achieve, and experience everything life offers. There is a work and skills program: “To empower adults with developmental disabilities by providing community based work and life skills training in order to help each individual achieve their greatest level of independence and promote inclusion.” There is a social skills program: Ready For Life Horizons is an inclusive recreational, leisure and activity service for community members aged 18 years and older experiencing physical or developmental disabilities. Ready For Life is partnered with Calvin College Residence Hall Beets-Veenstra (BV) to coordinate and host one to two large social events each month from September through May. Events range from holiday parties to movies to bowling, and much more. And there is an education program at Hope and Calvin College: “To educate and empower adults with developmental disabilities by providing a supportive and structured college experience in order to help each individual achieve their greatest level of independence and promote inclusion.” And Friday I will have coffee about one more board that is very near to my heart. And so each board has a different mission but there is a common theme I am passionate about: ADVOCACY
I believe I was wired to be an advocate. I used to believe I had to be doing the advocacy. I have learned about the benefit of doing it and being involved in the strategy and accountability of the services offered. I have learned so much through Open Hearts Ministry about loving and leading well. About speaking with honesty and grace and listening hard. I have learned that we all need to be reigned in at times and we all need to be drawn out at times. I have learned that people are resourceful and resilient and will achieve all they believe they can. I don’t believe advocacy is about rescue but about vision. I am thankful for those who had vision for me when I couldn’t find my glasses. I wonder who you are casting vision for this week…I wonder who has cast vision for you….. Where is your passion and what boards would you like to serve on if the opportunity arises. I believe my passion for the causes keeps my heart beating for true life!