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I was moved at Movement Day Charlotte

 Attitude, Education, Family, Immigrants  Comments Off on I was moved at Movement Day Charlotte
Mar 192019
 

I went to Movement Day Charlotte this past weekend. The day when local church pastors, non-profit and marketplace leaders come together to get their marching orders, to quite literally keep moving. Six years ago, at the inaugural predecessor conference called The Justice Conference, I was profoundly moved to consider my movement into ministry. If you are wondering whether I got the big white phone call from God, I did… A month later, I went on my first mission trip to Haiti with my church, Forest Hill. A month later, I handed in my resignation. If you want to walk on water, you got to get out of the boat.

Joined by 1,000 pastors and ministry leaders yesterday, I was again reminded of why I quit my job to take a small role in the local mission field. It is an honor to serve our neighbors. We are a deeply divided city and the needs are ever present. The only key metric of progress since the prior Movement Day is literacy rates have improved by 1%. To 40%. That’s 4 out of 10 grade 3 students reading at grade level. The rate for our target audience is even lower, at just 24%.

Last week’s blog was about the value of persisting with reading over the long summer months. I am more convinced than ever that the benefits are more than just school reading grades. What I heard yesterday is that we have to put our words into action. Go do something…We are going to spend 30 days focusing on our literal and physical neighbors. Ask yourself the question “Do you know the names of the ten or so families occupying the households where you live?” Can we convince the families we work with to do the same? I’ll report back in 30 days. How can we fulfill the great commission to love our neighbors if we don’t even know their names?

Until then, I am

Brent Morris 

 Posted by at 7:56 am
Feb 162019
 

Holiday greetings from LHCC

 Attitude, Family, Immigrants, Positive Encouragement  Comments Off on Holiday greetings from LHCC
Dec 242018
 
 Thank-you for taking a minute to read our holiday greeting…
 
During this special time of year, with family celebrations, gifts to buy and meals to prepare, we hope you will take a moment to cherish the good news of great joy given us in the birth of our Savior. Because of Jesus and the mission He began when He came into the world, we are grateful to have the opportunity to share the good news of the gospel with everyone we encounter, from young children, their families, and our volunteers! May the message of our Saviors birth have special meaning for you this holiday season, as you count your blessings and praise the One who came to give us eternal life!

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

For the honor of serving Him,

Brent Morris

Executive Director 

December 24, 2018

Nov 252018
 

As we count our many blessings at the beginning of this festive season, we are very grateful for all of our supporters, volunteers, and of course, the families and children we have the honor of serving.  You are all tremendously important to Learning Help Centers of Charlotte.  2018 has been an exciting and transformative year as we have continued to serve many more families in our community. Especially gratifying is the growth in our south-side program at St Andrew’s, where two key changes have taken place. Firstly, we have engaged the whole family, with the result that more parent’s are getting involved in our organized activities and educational programming. The second change, which we did not make without prayer and discernment, was to discontinue transporting children to and from the program. The results have been an absolute blessing to behold. Parent’s are more vested in their children’s well-being, and are all bringing their children. It’s a win-win for all. Everyone benefits. See video

Parents were able to show their appreciation this past week and provided a hearty Thanksgiving meal for our awesome volunteers who pour into their children each week. The result? Family, fellowship, and of course food. It was a beautiful picture! Enjoy the festive season. Until next time, so much as it depends on you, be at peace with one another.

Oct 272018
 

Check out Britzia’s very own video 

We are very proud of all our students. Some have just started attending our programs this week, while others have been a part of the LHCC family of parents and students for over five years. Today, we introduce you to Britzia, a young 4th grade student who attends our after-school homework and reading program with her family of two brothers, along mom & dad. She is always ready to greet me with a hug and a smile, and just loves to hang out with her friends and all the other children, ages 3 to 13, before the program starts. She is precocious and always ready to share how the day at school has been for her. Then the homework comes out and the tutoring session begins… A little math today perhaps, a reading quiz some days, but regardless, a glorious opportunity to meet her where she is academically, and encourage her. She is paired with a retired school teacher, Ms. Bettie, who knows a thing or two about helping out. The partnership has been rock solid for over 18 months! Each homework session is followed by some much needed reading time. Last, but not least, some feedback for mom, so that valuable information can be exchanged between mom and Ms. Bettie on what she needs to work on. It’s what we call a cross-cultural exchange of thoughts, ideas, love and encouragement. This takes place for many of our students as well. Britzia is very grateful for the help, as is mom. Check out their very own video and see why. You see, there is something very special about this relationship and many others. It’s the strong participation of the parents in their children’s education and well-being, supported by active staff and volunteers, always ready with a word or two of encouragement!

For information on volunteer opportunities check out our volunteer page. Finally, if you missed our last blog, we featured our Fall fundraiser to seed our year round work. Read it here

Until next time friends, have a blessed weekend and thanks for reading and sharing our blogpost

Brent Morris

Executive Director ~ Learning Help Centers of Charlotte

October 26, 2018

Sep 242018
 

“You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family.”

As I become older and perhaps wiser, I have come to realize that spending time with family is one of my favorite pastimes. You see, Caren and I have three delightful daughters. The apple does not fall far from the tree, they say, and we see our personalities in each of them. I feel honored that these three American-born girls call me Dad. They call me other things too, but that’s another story …

Immigrants and their U.S.-born children now number approximately 86.4 million people, or 27 percent of the overall U.S. population, according to a national survey, taken in 2017.

One of the greatest blessings we have is our immediate family. I realize this more as an immigrant, living in the U.S. far from the rest of my extended family in South Africa. This situation is no different for the refugee and immigrant families we serve. Their families, usually, still live abroad. Visiting home is equally infrequent, so we have to nurture friends, and build new families state-side.

As believers in Jesus, we have a family who are related spiritually because of our common faith. This family includes mature men and women who love God and each other. Living in community, is to love one another, as hard as that may be at times. 1 Thessalonians offers some ageless advice in this regard:

  • Be at peace with everyone
  • Strive to do what is good for others
  • Encourage the disheartened, help the poor, be patient with everyone

So, even if we did not pick our family members, we can still find ways to love them, even when they may not deserve it. We can also add to our families, those that are like-minded, and who we can do life together with us.

For our upcoming blog posts, we will start to feature some of the families we serve, as part of an ongoing series, to learn more about their U.S. experiences living in Charlotte, and their children in our programs.  

Brent Morris

Executive Director

Learning Help Centers of Charlotte

September 22, 2018

How does Racism in the US compare with an Apartheid South Africa

 Immigrants, Racism, Social Capital  Comments Off on How does Racism in the US compare with an Apartheid South Africa
Aug 052018
 

RACE RELATION SIMILARITIES BETWEEN SOUTH AFRICA AND AMERICA

Guest Post by Lauren Morris

Lauren is the eldest daughter of our Executive Director, Brent Morris and spouse Caren. Lauren recently completed her first year at college and wrote an insightful history paper on racism, and interviewed her South African immigrant parents to get their perspectives.

The blog post that follows is a summary of her paper, with findings and parent perspectives:

The United States of America and the Republic of South Africa are the only two countries which employed legal segregation at some point in their histories. The way that segregation came about in each of these countries is vastly different, however, the effects that we are seeing today are interestingly similar. In America, legislation such as Jim Crow Laws were put in place in the late 19th century after slavery was abolished to keep African Americans separate from white people in the south. Jim Crow Laws forced Southern blacks to use separate public facilities and put them at a severe disadvantage by limiting their education and ability to vote. In South Africa, similar segregation laws were in place from around 1950 until the early 1990s under the apartheid system. Even now in the 21st century, both America and South Africa are still reaping the consequences of these laws through the racial tension between people groups within each of their countries.

Coming to America

South African culture and history have always been fascinating to me because I am the daughter of South African immigrants. For this {college} project, I had the opportunity to interview each of my parents about their journey to America, how South Africa is different from America, and what the racial situation was like in South Africa. My parents, Caren and Brent Morris, were married in August of 1991. Two weeks later, they made the 18-hour flight to Tulsa, Oklahoma so that my dad could “undertake a work transfer or 18-month secondment to receive international training.” Once their temporary work visas expired, they returned to South Africa for just less than four years before immigrating to America permanently in February of 1997. They made the tough decision to move to America for many different reasons. My dad, Brent Morris, said they decided to come to the U.S. “to secure a better future for our children, and ourselves, where they could be safe, get a good education, and find decent employment.” My mom, Caren Morris, added that they came “to get away from South Africa’s new government with its corruption and affirmative action.”

Once they arrived in America, it did not take them long to notice some distinct differences between South Africa and their new home. They were both amazed by seemingly simple things such as how large the vehicles in America were and the huge selection of grocery items and clothing.They also noticed how inexpensive everyday items were compared to South Africa. My mom was fascinated by the fact that homes did not have walls or fences around them for protection. Instead, they were open and had beautiful gardens with grass and flowers for all to see. My parents both enjoy living in America and became U.S. citizens in 2007. However, there are still some things about South Africa that they miss. Both of them said that they miss family and friends as well as the beaches and the tropical climate. My mom mentioned that she missed the “South African sense of humor” while my dad said he missed the South African food and sports and visiting game reserves and holiday destinations. Unfortunately, life in South Africa is not always picture perfect. The country suffers from much rising racial tension and problems following the end of apartheid.

Apartheid 

In 1948 during apartheid, “4.5 million whites, 11% of the population, govern the country of 40.9 million. Whereas the 2.5 million Coloreds (people of mixed ancestry) and the 900,000 Asians have some parliamentary representation, the 33 million blacks have no voice whatsoever inside the government.” This whole situation was destined for disaster for many reasons. First of all, the black people living in South Africa, referred to as “Africans,” were the indigenous people. The whites in South Africa came as Dutch (1652) and English (1820) settlers to what was at the time British territory. Eventually, this white minority formed their own government and began to enforce their laws on the black majority and gave them no say in the matter.

In 1991, the government under President F. W. de Klerk started to repeal the legislation that allowed apartheid to continue in South Africa.16 By the 1994 election, blacks were given the right to vote and Nelson Mandela was elected as President. Ever since that election, the African National Congress (ANC), which is mainly composed of Africans, has been in control of the South African government. This may seem like the way the government in South Africa should have been the whole time. However, this change of power is now causing reverse discrimination against whites. With quota systems that are currently in place, it is much harder for white citizens to find well-paying jobs, regardless of their education. Jobs are not allocated based on skill or education but based on the color of the person’s skin.

“The collapse of the apartheid system in the 1980s and 1990s sparked a (primarily white) exodus from South Africa” because of the lack of opportunities and the change of power. Between 1987 and 2001, about 310,000 people emigrated from South Africa and went to the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. Of those South African citizens who left the country, about 50,000 of them had professional qualifications. White South Africans began to realize that their “. . . whiteness might be a disadvantage in contemporary South Africa.” Not only did it become much harder for them to find jobs, but there was also a lot of racial tension and increased violence towards whites and they began to feel “increasingly threatened.” Thus, the end of apartheid and the transition of power resulted in the emigration of many educated, white South Africans, like my parents. This has come to be known as the “Brain Drain.”

Although legal segregation in America ended quite a few years before apartheid collapsed in South Africa and “nonwhites are the overwhelming majority in contemporary South Africa but a relatively small minority in the United States,” there are similarities between the issues each country has faced or is facing. African Americans have suffered through oppression ever since the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of slaves. Many slaves left the south and moved to the midwestern part of America after the Civil War to escape the Jim Crow Laws and intense racism. Unfortunately, “for some African Americans, even Kansas could not provide sufficient safeguard from Jim Crow’s touch, with many opting for emigration to Canada, Mexico,the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa as safer alternatives to life in the United States.” Even in America today it can be much harder for African Americans to get decent, well-paying jobs and have the same opportunities as white Americans. One of the reasons this is the case is because African Americans originally came to the country as slaves. Therefore, they did not have many opportunities to begin with. This could also be due to strict laws and stereotypes of African Americans which has caused so many African American males in particular to be incarcerated. In addition, some employers may be prejudiced against African Americans which can make it hard for them to land a decent job. Therefore, it can be much more difficult for African Americans to find good employment opportunities, in their own country, than their white American counterparts.

Conclusion

By comparing and contrasting cultures and racial issues in America and South Africa, one gets a deeper insight into the components of American culture that we would not otherwise think about unless we look at a culture that is different from our own. Through hearing of the struggles that many white South Africans face as the minority in the country, we can begin to get a feel for what it is like to be an immigrant or African American in a country where the majority of the people are white. In addition, we can see the numerous detrimental effects that racial segregation can have on countries regardless of their varying histories. It is also important to learn from the history of South Africa and America in order to better understand emigrants in America, as well as African Americans and ongoing challenges that each of these minority groups face.

Published with permission of the author

 

All kids are our kids ~ Welcoming the Immigrant

 Immigrants  Comments Off on All kids are our kids ~ Welcoming the Immigrant
Jun 242018
 

So much news this past week about immigrants on our southern border. Did you know that many border detention centers are for-profit prison businesses that are paid over $100 per day to hold a prisoner while requiring that prisoner to work for below minimum wage? GEO is the largest for-profit prison business in our country.  Southwest Key Co. runs large child detention centers in Texas. Both receive enormous government contracts. That’s one aspect of the storyline. The other is that there are real human beings behind all the numbers and news headlines.

According to the latest Pew Research, 58% of Americans say that having an increasing number of people of different races, ethnic groups and nationalities in the U.S. makes the country a better place to live; just 9% say it makes the country a worse place to live

As believers, we ought to recognize that our faith dictates how we are to treat the ‘foreigner’ and ‘sojourner’ We ought to be praying for all people in need and study what the sacred texts tell us and shape your perspective.

This past week, we started our first week of summer camps. We have a great time with over 45 children each day, from ages 4 to 17, from various countries including Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Chile. It was a blessing to see these children integrating, playing and having fun, together. We started each day in a large circle, along with over 20 student volunteers holding hands signifying a big multi-ethnic multi-generational family. We prayed together, learned about creation together, and went swimming together. We love on all our kids. We also love their parents who participated right alongside us. We love the diversity. And our children love the facility to learn, read, develop life skills and enjoy their freedom in a safe environment. Please pray for all families seeking asylum around the world and those seeking a better future for their children. The two main reasons for Central American immigrants coming to the US? Escape violence, including drugs and trafficking, and the inability to earn a decent wage to support their family. Which parent wouldn’t go to extraordinary lengths to provide a safe environment for their children?

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our program sponsors, partners, mission groups, volunteers and interns for supporting our first week of summer enrichment programs for the under-served in our city.

Brent Morris

Executive Director

Learning Help Centers of Charlotte

June 24, 2018

Jun 042018
 

                                                                    Image result for child and adult holding hands

In order to have a thriving garden, one must start with caring for and nourishing each and every plant they have. Each plant is essential for bringing the garden together to create a beautiful landscape, therefore, they must be able to grow properly. With this said, no garden is perfect. Some plants may be left quenched and simply in need of more attention (and water). Like these plants, we believe the children of our nation should be granted the opportunity to flourish in their education in order to grow and contribute to what should be a wholesome beautiful landscape. However, we find that some children are left behind. Like a single plant, a child must rely on that of a provider to feed them with the necessary and vital elements that will grant them the opportunity to sprout. 

Here at Learning Help Centers of Charlotte, we find it imperative to improve the literacy rates for children who may not have access to all the resources necessary to help them learn. We find that when assisting a child with their reading skills that many other skills improve as well since all subjects entail some form of reading. 

We are seeking to expand our team of volunteers and interns this summer that can be those helping hands for these children and be the guidance they need. We are looking for high school/college students who are interested in pursuing English, Spanish, or Education to join us as we continue throughout the summer with a handful of summer camps that entail enrichment activities that will further the children’s reading skills. 

We hope that you will help us cultivate our garden of children to grow.

If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity please click on the following link for more information;

Intern and Volunteer Opportunities

 Posted by at 4:32 pm