Are you crazy busy? More to do than hours in a day to get it all done? Might we take a time out? Read on for a simple challenge this week …
A recent LHCC summer blog post called out neighboring as an art. We shared this concept with our LHCC families this past summer and the results are in. Summer camper families grew closer. Volunteers got to build deeper relationships with families and children. Parents invited other parents to our program and we got to enjoy an end of summer celebration together. It was awesome.
When serving our neighbors, are we trying to look good or do good? Inviting others to our program or opening our homes to others is a great way to show hospitality. Weary people may join us to share a meal and conversation and hopefully leave feeling refueled and refreshed. It can be stressful and awkward for both hosts and guests. We get worked up, tidying up and fed up, focusing perhaps on appearance rather than good ol’ southern hospitality.
In Luke 10, Jesus pointed this out to Martha when her sister Mary was feasting more on the friendship than faffing about the food. Christian hospitality has more to do with good fellowship than good food. In the book Crazy Busy, the author points out that there is a fine line between care and cumber. Less ado would serve better. “Feed people, not your pride.”
How about a little challenge for the coming week:
Slow down your hurried life. Go out of your way to greet and chat to a neighbor.
Be present with our family ( aka put down the phone?), and
Make time for daily meditation and devotion. 15 to 20 minutes, tops. This might just be the one thing strong enough to pull you away from your busyness, so you can be intentional about becoming a good neighbor.
Peace to you, take it easy and have a Mary-like week
In 2017, an independent report comparing four CMS schools for year-round consideration, compared with the rest of the CMS schools brought unexpected results, in my opinion. Neither the shorter summer breaks nor the extra time produced measurable academic gains, after three years. I am referring to the March 3 Charlotte Observer article, entitled “Concerns over year-round school benefits led to board’s decision“, well written as always by Ann Doss Helms. I was dismayed. Actually, I was self-evaluating how these results could possibly be true, as I weigh up everything I have learned and experienced from delivering summer enrichment camps for the past six years with Learning Help Centers of Charlotte. The video below speaks to the value of bridging the gap for low-income children, who would otherwise experience limited learning, not to mention reading encouragement during the long summer months.
I will not argue or refute the results of the multi-year study of the sample four schools from West Charlotte, included in this study. These schools no doubt have many challenges before students even sit down in class to learn. High levels of absenteeism in July, when other CMS schools are still out enjoying pool-time or vacation. What I will argue is that I disagree that additional summer literacy interventions and a shorter summer vacation are not beneficial for our young English Language Learning students. I have seen first-hand the extraordinary benefits of summer learning activities. I know that the parents of the children we serve expect us to be the encouragement for their children over the 11 weeks of summer. I also have it on good authority that teachers spend anywhere between three weeks and an entire fall semester reteaching their elementary school students what they have forgotten over the long, hot summer months. Case closed… At LHCC, we remain optimistic about the what we do and the potential value of year-round schools. We know that the 11-week summer vacation is highly disruptive for continuous learning. Therefore, we will continue to promote summer literacy camps, along with a fun learning experience during our summer program. We are pleased to be offering summer camps again in 2019, for our seventh year. Who’s going to support us in offering this invaluable program to our awesome children?
We appreciate your comments and support of our families
When you think wisdom, do you envision an old man with grey hair sitting on a stool imparting his worldly knowledge? Perhaps someone you know who has lived a long time, gained experience and therefore acquired untold insights that have resulted in what we call wisdom?
Franklin said: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy,
wealthy, and wise”. It is a saying that is viewed as a commonsensical
proverb. This proverb actually originated long before Franklin’s time. It was
seen in print as early as 1496, in a piece called “The Treatise of Fishing with
an Angle” where it is referred to as an old English proverb: Also, whoever
wishes to practice the sport of angling, he must rise early, which is profitable
to a man in this way. That is, to wit: most for the welfare of his soul. For it
will cause him to be holy, and for the health of his body. For it will cause
him to be well, also for the increase of his goods, for it will make him rich.
As the old English proverb says: “Whoever will rise early shall be holy,
healthy, and happy.”
wife, Caren, gifted me this Christmas with a “Wisdom for Each Day”
inspirational quote calendar. She must surely think I need it, right? Well, who
would turn down a daily dose of wise counsel from a trusted theologian and man
of God like Rev. Billy Graham, along with its numerous quotes from the holy scriptures?
also recently came across an excellent read called Gospel Fluency, that
contains a remarkably insightful chapter near the end on growing in love and
wisdom. The book concludes with the premise that wisdom doesn’t actually come
from our education after all.
my study I have learned that wisdom isn’t just increased knowledge. As the book
illuminates, knowledge without grace leads to pride, and pride leads to
destruction in our lives and the lives of others. Wisdom is knowledge applied
so that we do the right thing, at the right time, with the right motive, in the
right way. I like that perspective a lot. Knowing what to do at the right time,
and having our motives in check is an improvement on merely having the
knowledge. To expand upon this truth, wisdom is gracious, loving, kind and
the new testament, Paul instructs the church in Colossae: “Walk in wisdom
toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be
gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each
person.” Colossians 4:5-6. Wisdom is a gift and all who have it are a blessing.
I reflect upon the past six years with Learning Help Centers of Charlotte, and all
the relationships we have established, I contemplate the many ways to help the communities
and families we serve through LHCC. There are many opportunities to collaborate
with community partners, donors and volunteers. If we get it somewhat right, we
will enjoy another beneficial year for everyone. We can do our tiny part to
enhance the lives of all community members, who cross our paths, in the two regions
of the city we call the “ends of the crescent”.
for one, can and will take heed of the wisdom insights gleaned from my latest
read. I also eagerly anticipate the wisdom truth reminders contained in my new daily
devotional calendar. One of my goals this coming year, is to gain greater perspective
and also seek wisdom, by firstly praying and secondly, being present, rather
than simply doing what I usually do. Might I rather seek to walk in wisdom, and
show care and kindness, toward others, as I endeavor to be loving, gracious and
gentle, just as Jesus modeled for all of us. This is the wisdom that I will
aspire to acquire in 2019!
Wisdom perspectives and
comments adapted from Gospel Fluency by Jeff Vanderstelt chapter 15, Grow in
Love and Wisdom, pg. 197
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!
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.
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
Executive Director ~ Learning Help Centers of Charlotte
Hurricane Florence brings both devastation and opportunity. We pray daily for everyone’s safety, especially those on the coast and evacuated from their homes. Perhaps we are reminded by who really is in control. It is also an opportunity to draw close to family, as we gather together and ride out this storm. It is also encouraging to see how much good comes from events like this … helping neighbors, public schools converted to shelters and making provision for those displaced or seeking shelter.
Speaking of families drawing near, my daughter Lauren came home from college in Boone on Thursday. It’s a blessing to have time together at home, hunkering down and being a complete family again.
We are excited to see our extended families again soon. Our board is energized and ready for another year of promoting the mission and vision of LHCC. I refer of course to those we serve each week, in our various programs. We will recommence our after-school homework and reading programs again at the beginning of October. In addition, we have a community event, called a Potato Drop, on Saturday, October 6, hosted by Pineville Neighbors. Check out our current events for more information. Until then, be safe and enjoy the things that matter most. Family. Our next blog post will feature an update from Britzia, one of our awesome students. Watch her short video as a teaser.
They say that when the world sends you lemons, make lemonade.
When I watch Shark Tank, I am always inspired by the innovation of entrepreneurs This short clip is about a company called Game Face However, there is a meaning hidden behind the mask, so to speak. When your optimism wanes after say a tough week, challenges persist, and trials get you down, it is easy to get angry and discouraged. But you can’t always show your emotions when you have children and their parents to serve. You have to keep your game face on.
I, along with our staff and volunteers, have been serving predominantly immigrant and refugee families and children through LHCC program services for the past six years. We do everything from after-school to summer camps, community events, and services for adults. It is easy to get to a point of saying enough is enough… Then you remember why God has you here. This is a calling. A calling to do for others what they can’t do for themselves. This is a labor of love and a lot of hard work, with plenty of sacrifices to be made. You gotta keep that game face on for the benefit of others, even when you don’t have the kind of day that justifies it. That’s called sucking it up, and trying hard to make every situation a blessing for others. If local ministry were easy, everyone would be doing it.
When the lemons are obvious, make lemonade. Promote and encourage optimism and a positive can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune. We have much to be grateful for (as compared to so many of our immigrant and refugee neighbors) in our midst who have nothing to be happy about) even when we get sent lemons!
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;