BrentM

May 102021
 

The CMS Board of Education recently viewed the CMS student proficiency scores report for the Fall of 2020, including the number of completed tests as compared to the prior school year. The results are not good, especially for black and hispanic students, whose math scores, for example, show a non-proficient percent of between 75% and 78% . These recent scores were at least 25% worse than the year prior. Yikes!

LHCC launched Connect Hub learning program this past September to address lackluster school attendance and the potential for sliding school grades and resultant proficiency scores. Connect Hub is our term for a safe, learning environment for students who sat at a desk, connected to the school learning platform under adult supervision and received two meals each school day. Our students completed learning modules, enjoyed outdoor time, and received healthy meals and snacks. Last week, our Connect Hub came to an end as schools finally return for five days of in-person tuition this week, just in time to wrap-up the school year at the end of the month. The past 15 months have been a challenge for so many. It’s been really hard on our younger kids for sure.

Summer is going to be very busy for our LHCC students. We have promoted Camp CMS to our parents to encourage participation, while they are away at work. About 75% of parents registered their kids for the six-week, school-side, four-days-a-week program, from June 14 to July 30. In addition, LHCC is providing Summer Enrichment Camps , with additional learning and extra-curricular fun for students from many of the Title 1 CMS schools close to South Blvd.

LHCC will once again be offering day-camps for seven Fridays, from Friday June 18 to July 30, as well as two five-day weeks of enrichment camp in August. Join us for the weeks of August 2 and 9 as we need volunteers and summer interns to help our students with daily enrichment.

As noted above, CMS has reported that school grades are down on prior year and while sustaining students through a combination of remote and in-person learning, with very mixed results, there is much to do over the summer, so that our students do not slide back even further, as compared to their English-speaking peers.

This summer, LHCC plans to add many fun activities liking swimming and outdoor adventures to the much needed summer learning curriculum. Come join us if you are able and experience the kind of kinship we have come to enjoy, as friendships develop between volunteers and families, one child at a time.

For more information, kindly email us and let’s make this summer special for all our students. Thank-you for reading to the bottom and for your support of our families

I am,

Brent Morris

Executive Director of Learning Help Centers of Charlotte

May 10, 2021

 Posted by at 8:02 pm

Día de César Chávez ~ 31 de marzo

 Hope, Immigrants, Kinship, Mexico, Racism, Relationships, Upward Mobility  Comments Off on Día de César Chávez ~ 31 de marzo
Mar 202021
 
César Chávez se ha convertido en un símbolo de esperanza para los pobres y los indefensos. Sigue siendo una inspiración para los latinos en todas partes y un defensor fuerte pero pacífico en la lucha contra el racismo en Estados Unidos. César demostró que las personas que se unen y hablan con una sola voz pueden ser mucho más fuertes cuando están unidas que cuando están solas.

Nació en Arizona en una familia de aparceros donde trabajaban como trabajadores agrícolas migrantes. Comenzó a recolectar cultivos a la temprana edad de doce años. En 1962 cofundó la Asociación Nacional de Trabajadores Agrícolas. Se convirtió en el activista latinoamericano de derechos civiles más famoso. Fue más que el comienzo de una unión; fue el comienzo de un movimiento: un grupo de personas con ideas afines que trabajan juntas para compartir una idea y lograr un cambio. Su lema era Viva La Causa - Larga vida a la causa. Abogó por mejores salarios de las organizaciones que empleaban a trabajadores agrícolas para que pudieran ganar un salario decente y mantener a sus familias.

Chávez se inspiró en un sacerdote católico que le inculcó la necesidad de que todas las personas sean tratadas con justicia y respeto. Estos aprendizajes incluyeron la vida de un líder político llamado Mahatma Gandhi, un líder político en la India que creía en la paz y la no violencia. Gandhi se interesó en la lucha por los derechos civiles mientras trabajaba como abogado en Sudáfrica.

Era tímido y no era un buen orador, pero era un hombre decidido y trabajador. Creía en sacrificar tiempo y dinero para ayudar a los demás. Creía en la protesta, pero siempre de forma pacífica.

El día de César Chávez fue declarado por el presidente Barack Obama, el 31 de marzo que también es su cumpleaños. Hizo un llamado a todos los estadounidenses a celebrar los logros de César Chávez en todo Estados Unidos, ayudando en sus comunidades. Qué gran legado y mensaje para inspirarnos a todos a amar a nuestro prójimo, ganar perspectiva y reavivar lo que uniría a todos. Hablar con una sola voz ... unidos, como se esforzó por hacer Chávez.

Dios lo bendiga

Brent M
LHCC
Marzo 2021
 Posted by at 2:16 pm
Mar 192021
 

Who was Cesar Chavez and what did he have in common with Mahatma Gandhi?

Cesar Chavez has become a symbol of hope for the poor and powerless. He remains an inspiration for Latino’s everywhere, and a strong yet peaceful advocate in the fight against racism in America. Cesar proved that people who come together and speak with one voice can be much stronger when they are united than when they stand alone.

He was born in Arizona to a family of sharecroppers where they worked as migrant farmworkers. He began picking crops at the early age of twelve. In 1962 he co-founded the National Farm Workers Association. He became the most famous Latino American civil rights activist. It was more than the start of a union; it was the beginning of a movement – a group of like-minded people working together to share an idea and bring about change. Their motto was Viva La CausaLong Live the Cause. He advocated for better pay from the organizations that employed farm workers so that they could earn a decent wage and provide for their families.

Chavez was inspired by a Catholic priest who instilled in him the need for all people to be treated fairly and with respect. These learnings included the life of a political leader by the name of Mahatma Gandhi, a political leader in India who believed in peace and nonviolence. Gandhi became interested in the struggle for civil rights while working as a lawyer in South Africa.

He was shy and not a good public speaker, but he was determined and hard-working man. He believed in sacrificing time and money to help others. He believed in protesting, but always in a peaceful manner.

Cesar Chavez Day was declared by President Barack Obama, March 31 which is also his birthday. He called upon all American’s to celebrate the achievements of Cesar Chavez across the United States, by helping out in their communities. What a great legacy and message to inspire us all to love our neighbor, gain perspective and rekindle what would bring everyone together. To speak with one voice … united, just like Chavez endeavored to do.

God bless you

Brent M

Learning Help Centers of Charlotte

March 2021

 Posted by at 11:28 am
Mar 092021
 

In the book, Peaceful Neighbor, the author eloquently described how some people get so wrapped up in consumerism and materialism, the trappings of life, that they lose what is real. He is of course referring to a quote by Roy Rogers who made the TV show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood famous in the 80’s. Rogers’ overwhelming desire was to help children realize that deep and simple are more important than shallow and complicated and fancy.

As promised in the February post, I want to introduce you to Tucker. Three days before the start of summer camp programs, in the middle of a pandemic, I received a phone call from Tucker. She is a dear lady with a heart of gold, and a dog handler with four trained pups of her own. She is associated with Invisible Pawprints, a wonderful organization that trains therapy dogs to provide hope to children and folks in hospital.

Tucker had learned of our LHCC ministry and was calling to inquire about bringing the pups and their dog handlers to our program to interact with our campers. My first reaction was “it’s too late”. The host church would probably give me a hard time about bringing dogs onto the campus. Besides, I would need to request further permission and amend our contract. There simply was insufficient time before the start of camp. Tucker explained that the pups had not been out to hospitals and schools since March and needed to put their therapy training into practice. As Tucker continued our phone conversation, it dawned on me that the pups needed the excursion outlet as much as the students needed the distraction from their reading chores. Our students genuinely needed their daily reading time. The dogs surely needed reading partners. The rest is history and we have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with all the handlers and their pups ever since. You see, Tucker and her volunteers, along with their cute pups of course, have faithfully returned each week of our program

It really is a beautiful partnership, and one that extends from camps last summer and continues to this day. Our church partner, St Andrews United Methodist, is also very gracious and never hesitated to welcome our new so-called readers. The pups are the catalysts that brought an 80-year young lady and her crew together with our young students.

Greg Boyle, the author of Barking at the Choir and Tattoos on the Heart, and the biggest proponent of kinship I know, made a lot of great points about what it takes to reach kinship relationships. Fostering trusted relationships are what we seek. They are what Father Boyle refers to as the hallway to the ballroom. The ballroom where both parties are liberated and discover relationships that may lead to kinship, sometimes in unlikely places.

 Posted by at 10:25 am
Feb 172021
 

For centuries Christians have faithfully removed stones, plowed the field, and sown the seed of the Gospel. We are in a season of harvest. Not because of what we have done, but because the Lord moves in the  hearts of people, perhaps based on our testimony and willingness to actually love our neighbor. 

LHCC has begun a new initiative in 2021. Something very exciting, even extraordinary, that we see as synergistic with our existing program service offerings. In short, it is our belief that people generally want to love their neighbor, make an impact and build relationships across cultures all across the city. We are referring to the launch of our new Kinship initiative. Click here to learn more. We believe that mutually fulfilling cross-cultural relationships are the recipe for joy and happiness in the lives of our team members, volunteers and program recipients. 

LHCC has been providing scholastic, spiritual, and social support to students and their families since July 2012 through homework assistance programs, enrichment activities, summer camps, and family stabilization services. We have learned that the most effective and helpful vehicle for change is mutually beneficial relationships which are based on trust and mutual respect.  Each party beings something of value to the relationship, and each receives something of value. We know that a hand up is better than a hand out; even better are hands together, working to achieve a common goal. This is the essence of Kinship. Kinship that is pleasing to the King and king of kings. 

During COVID-19, out of necessity, we pivoted away from our traditional programs and took some new approaches to serving our students and their families, including support of on-line learning and food support. We were able to provide income to one of our families by utilizing their home-based catering services to provide meals in for our families in addition to meals from CMS and other charities.

In closing, I’d like to share a reminder from the apostle Paul that we “were in darkness, but now we are the light in the Lord. Live as children of light” Ephesians 5:8. This verse means taking an interest in the well being of others, conforming to God’s standards, not the ways of the world and following the truth of scripture. It’s a testimony of goodness, righteousness and truth. That’s also the essence of kinship and of loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Our next blog post will focus on just such a picture of mutuality, between an eighty something year young lady, her pups and friends and our students, and what binds them together. 

Until next time,

Brent M

February 2021

 Posted by at 7:39 pm

Kinship for the King

 Connect Hub, COVID-19, Kinship, Kinship Kitchen, Neighboring  Comments Off on Kinship for the King
Feb 062021
 

For centuries Christians have faithfully removed stones, plowed the field, and sown the seed of the Gospel. We are in a season of harvest. Not because of what we have done, but because the Lord moves in the  hearts of people, perhaps based on our testimony and willingness to actually love our neighbor.

LHCC is embarking on a new initiative in 2021. Something very exciting, even extraordinary, that we see as synergistic with our existing program service offerings. In short, it is our belief that people generally want to love their neighbor, make an impact and build relationships across cultures all across the city. We are referring to the launch of our new Kinship initiative. Click here to learn more. We believe that mutually fulfilling cross-cultural relationships are the recipe for joy and happiness in the lives of our team members, volunteers and program recipients.

LHCC has been providing scholastic, spiritual, and social support to students and their families since July 2012 through homework assistance programs, enrichment activities, summer camps, and family stabilization services. We have learned that the most effective and helpful vehicle for change is mutually beneficial relationships which are based on trust and mutual respect.  Each party beings something of value to the relationship, and each receives something of value. We know that a hand up is better than a hand out; even better are hands together, working to achieve a common goal. That is the essence of Kinship. Kinship that is pleasing to the King and king of kings.

During Covid-19, out of necessity, we pivoted away from our traditional programs and took some new approaches to serving our students and their families, including support of on-line learning and food support. We were able to provide income to one of our families by utilizing their home-based catering services to provide meals in for our families in addition to meals from CMS and other charities.

In closing, here’s a reminder from the apostle Paul that we “were in darkness, but now we are the light in the Lord. Live as children of light” Ephesians 5:8. This verse means taking an interest in the well being of others, conforming to God’s standards, not the ways of the world and following the truth of scripture. It’s a testimony of goodness, righteousness and truth. That’s also the essence of kinship and of loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Next post will delve into just such a picture of mutality between an eighty years young lady and her friends and our students, and what brings them together each week.

Until next time,

Brent M

February 2021

 Posted by at 1:41 pm

The space between us

 Attitude, COVID-19, Encouragement, Kinship, Mutuality  Comments Off on The space between us
Jan 202021
 

I’ve been looking forward to writing this post for some time, but first, let me start by saying that today, more than ever, I pray for unity in our country. As our new president and vice president are sworn in at noon today, my hope that we are more accepting of our kin and our neighbors. This undoubtedly starts in our homes, schools and workplaces. Whether or not you voted for President Biden, we are called to respect our elected officials and the authority that their offices represent.

Now on to my thoughts on the road forward, and a question to think about. Have you wondered how you’ll respond when we get the post pandemic all-clear? I think I’m going to go hug 50 people … from the physical distance of the pandemic CDC guidelines to invading that infamous 6 foot distance and show some compassion and care, sans the mask.

God loves to use people that others seemingly overlook. Maybe that’s you, if you consider that you, yes you, can be the encouragement that others need. Perhaps put your, and their isolation and discouragement, to bed. Maybe reach out to the worker at the hotel, or the attendant at a gas station. Over the past two weeks, being the start of 2021, I have tried to put myself out there. I have two examples to share. The first instance was at a breakfast place where Jim was sipping coffee at the kitchen bar, minding his own business. We simply struck up a brief conversation. Delightful old man, with lots to share. The second was Robert, who I had seen previously at an out of town coffee shop. The quintessential village coffee shop greeter and PR guy. Interesting as all get up was Robert, single, never married, strong believer in Gods grace and mercy, who moved to Ashe county six months ago to be near to his niece, whose hubby is a local church pastor. Both these new friends were alone, and remarked that they were lonely, which is why they were out in public. Both were, however, strategically placed there for more than coffee. This is how God uses people to put a smile on someone’s dial, and make a new acquaintance, just by being out there and looking for divine appointments. People who have more to offer than receive. That could be you as well, if you, like me, take the time to slow down and listen. These are the beginnings of kinship relationships. All who wonder are not lost, but perhaps on a mission to improve life for someone else.

Whose quiet faithfulness has made a difference in your life? Do you wonder how you can perhaps serve God by serving someone else today?

Lord God in heaven, thank you for never overlooking me. I am thankful You can use me to make a difference wherever I am. Use me to show the love You have shown me as I seek to help your people, here on your mission field. Amen

God is not unjust. He will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people” Hebrews 6:10

May this year be filled with many conversations, with overlooked strangers, friends and neighbors, whether physically distant or not …

Brent M, LHCC

Adapted, in part, from a daily devotion by Our Daily Bread, written by James Banks, January 2021

 Posted by at 10:50 am
Jan 082021
 

Happy New Year to all our blog readers and friends. Let’s be praying that we, as a nation, will start the process of uniting and showing respect for everyone we come in contact with, without bias or discrimination. Starting with those under our roof would be my recommendation, and I speak from real-world experience … Education and respect surely start in the home…

So we have a “Big Idea” for this New Year. LHCC has seen over the past 8 years that the zest for school seems to dissipate with our graduating fifth graders, as they move on from elementary school. Too often, it’s a downward slope of discouragement and disengagement.

A Gallop poll undertaken some years prior to the pandemic, found a disturbing slope in the wrong direction for fifth- to twelve-grade students in the US. Only 6 in 10 middle school students reported being engaged in school. That number goes further south, 4 in 10, for high schoolers. That metric started out at almost 8 in 10 for elementary school students. Gallop defines engaged as students who feel involved in the learning process and who have positive connections with teachers and the school. Feedback included the view that disengaged students felt they did not get the chance to do the things they are best at doing. Students will stay engaged if the encounter frequent successes, are given chances and have more positive interactions with adults.

LHCC is looking for practical ideas to help our secondary school students in 2021. By this I mean helping middle and high school students find their voice, show them that they matter, and can be trusted. As in-person school attendance has been very limited, or frankly non-existent for most secondary level students this school year, we are looking for ways to motivate them, to help them discover their passion for what they enjoy. We are therefore introducing a different perspectives on academics.

Creating a culture of Leadership

I love this quote by Sir Ken Robinson, from The Element. “The fact that given the challenges we face, education doesn’t need to be reformed. It needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions”

Learning is surely more that going to school and getting an education. Other vital dimensions of growing up include cross cultural exposure and learning life skills. Non scholae sed vitae discimus. We learn, not for school, but for life  ~ a sign in a high school entrance declares.

We are dreaming about a LHCC Leadership Academy for secondary school students

Ways to give our students a chance to be leaders. We believe that giving them responsibility can surely change their maturity. Make a concerted effort to ask their opinions and focus on listening and giving them a voice, and teaching them to use it

Pair our younger students with our older student leaders. Ask them to read to their younger siblings or play board games. Let them practice the language they will be graduating from American school, usually different from their home language

We are planning to develop a curriculum that is not just academic, but rather focused on skills like problem solving, public speaking and debating (kindly)

In closing, let me provide two more quotes by folks who are much more versed than I in weighing in on this topic of academics.

What students need to succeed in the 21st century is an education that is both academically rigorous and “real world” relevant. This objective of rigor and relevance is not just for some students, it is for all students  ~ Dr. Willard Doggett

The research is abundantly clear: nothing motivates a child more than when learning is valued by schools and families/communities working together in partnership … these forms of involvement do not happen by accident or even by invitation. They happen by explicit strategic intervention ~ Michael Fullan

At LHCC, we desire to inspire and motivate greatness in all our children … one child at a time … After all, the woods would surely be silent if no bird sang but the best. We’d love to have you join us in a united chorus of encouragement and hope as we bring in a new year.

Brent Morris

ED of LHCC

January 2021

 Posted by at 6:53 pm

I missed my turn and ended up in Tent City … Charlotte

 Community Service, COVID-19, Neighboring, Social Capital  Comments Off on I missed my turn and ended up in Tent City … Charlotte
Dec 052020
 

I had good reason to travel to what used to be called the Urban Ministry and Men’s Shelter, off N Tryon yesterday. You see, I was on a mission, so to speak, to collect some food items for our LHCC ministry, that the renamed Roof Above were seeking to donate, but that’s another long story for another blogpost. My GPS had me locked in on the correct address. As I drew nearer I was shocked to see what I saw on both sides of the road. Charlotte’s thriving tent city. As I proceeded, I missed my turn … because I was thinking, “my destination surely can’t possibly be down there”. This is my way of stating that I lost my concentration and thought for a brief 90 seconds car ride that I was once again in a third world African country. Back to the task at hand, I’m in the Queen City, and looking for the now hidden and seemingly distant Roof Above.

A very recent WCNC article reported ‘There are places in the third world where refugee camps are more habitable’. It’s not that simple because I know that many organizations and kind folks are helping our cities citizens, like our friends at Roof Above. Their world also turned upside down in March when people showed up along with the thousands of food packages gifted by kind neighbors. Quoting the WCNC report “What’s more a local property owner has filed a lawsuit against the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The lawsuit alleges the city and county are herding homeless into tent cities that line the sidewalks, rights-of-way. It also goes on to read that the tents have crept onto private properties and parking lots along North Tryon Street.”

My point of this blog is that it’s hard to believe we’re in Charlotte, NC. While there is reportedly capacity in vacant Roof Above facilities and temporary room housing available, many of our unfortunate neighbors apparently still choose to stay in encamped in tent city. Barriers to entry into a temporary facility include COVID screening, behavioral restrictions and curfews, seemingly hurdles not low enough. There is no mass exodus from tent to housing, even with the promise of heat and utilities.

Maybe there is truth to the sentiment that your future is determined, not by your DNA code, but by your zip code. President Obama, once claimed “In this country, of all countries, a person’s zip code shouldn’t decide their destiny.”

If you need a road trip and have never seen tent city, not on TV, but live, right outside your car window, go take a drive to Roof Above, at 945 N College Street and see tent city for yourself. I am confident you’ll come away with more questions than answers. Oh, and trust your GPS and keep your eyes peeled. Count your blessings and thank the Lord you have a roof over your head this day. Thousands, not 10 miles from you, are not so fortunate tonight.

I am

Brent Morris

Executive Director, LHCC

 Posted by at 8:19 am

Volunteer – LHCC Family Christmas Event

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Volunteer – LHCC Family Christmas Event
Nov 242020
 

Thank you to everyone who signed up! We had an incredible response and we are all set on volunteers for the event. For more volunteer opportunities please visit https://www.lhcclt.org/get-involved/

We are currently seeking volunteers for our annual Christmas event. The event will be a time of fellowship and fun. Will be giving away coats, shoes, clothes, and toiletries for LHCC families and community members.

Volunteers will help with set-up and breakdown as well as be assigned a designated position for the event.

Positions available include monitoring stations, helping hand out food, sorting clothing, and assisting families as they move through stations.

Families and volunteers will be asked to wear masks and temperature checks will be performed upon arrival.

Event Info
Event is Rain or Shine
Saturday, December 5th
The event will take place from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. We are asking that volunteers arrive at 10:30 am to help with setup and we will head out by 2:30pm.

If you can’t make it for the whole time but can make it for part of the time, please let us know as we’d love to have you!

To sign up, either fill in the form below or contact Rebeca at rebeca@lhcclt.org. Please don’t hesitate to reach out as well if you have any questions or if you know someone who would like to volunteer for the event. Thank you!

If you have trouble viewing the form please follow this link to open it in a new page:

https://forms.gle/xct2YiLBzaCr8rQeA

 Posted by at 8:23 pm