Hi all! It's Giving Tuesday.
I don't know if it is clear yet, but my entire subsistence is off of donations. Super exciting, I know. I sometimes feel like the world of non-profits and donation acquisition and grant acquisition is the most painful way to make a living. There are so many worthy organizations competing for so few dollars. And some organizations compete and bash one another until they are unrecognizable, one is bloodied, or they both walk away losers.
That is not my way.
In building the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition, a program of the Church Council of Greater Seattle, I have made collaboration, co-existing, and building one another up a cornerstone of my platform. (The writer in me wants a "c" word for building one another up--can you help me out?).
The Youth Chaplaincy Coalition works within the state of Washington to bring traditional chaplaincy, mentoring, scripture study, worship services, weekend retreats, holiday gift drives and giving, group sessions, advocacy and more! to youth in the state of Washington. I am currently working on a project that would be to make an online class of our MAP mentor training so that those in other locations can learn from my 11 years of experience with incarcerated youth and 16 years of experience with people affected by incarceration. Yep, I started when I was a baby. 😀 I suppose I should also note that while I am a Christian, this project is ecumenical and inter-faith in nature.
Seriously, I started working with those affected by incarceration in 2003 when I first walked into Monroe Correctional Center. I still remember that day. It was a celebration in a church. We were mingling and talking with the men afterwards and a young man said to me, "I wish my mom was like you."
That broke my heart! He knew me all of 5 minutes. What he liked about me was (1) I showed up, and (2) I had a blue streak in my hair. Yes, I did.
My work continued from that small volunteer moment to building a movement that spreads across the state of Washington.
Today, I have about 150 volunteers. We kicked off three new things this year--an internship at Naselle "Youth Camp", LGBTQIA+ group at Echo Glen, and Muslim Prayer Service. Somehow, new things keep popping up and somehow, I keep adding them onto the ministry that we do.
At Echo and at Naselle, I have had children show up that I worked with in King County. At Naselle, simply recognizing a youth and remembering that he loves to play the piano was enough for him to know that he has been seen. At Echo, it was the surprise of seeing a young man in our group who I have known for what seems like years--and being able to connect with him as he figures out how to navigate being gay in a hostile environment.
So many stories! And I couldn't do it without the immense efforts of my volunteers and my volunteer team leads. And you! I need every single person that can donate to the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition to do so.
If you feel so moved, please donate to the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition this giving Tuesday by following this link: https://thechurchcouncil.ejoinme.org/MyPages/ChurchCouncilDonation/tabid/941881/Default.aspx
You can select Youth Chaplaincy Coalition in the drop down box next to this: "I would like to designate my gift for a specific fund/purpose."
We are headed into a difficult time--the holidays that for many of us celebrate the joy of having loved ones close to us. I will be present with them along with many volunteers. At Naselle Youth Camp, we will be joining with Ebenezer AMEZ's Men of Zion choir to bring presents and worship on December 22. On December 23, the choir from First AME (FAME) in Seattle will be caroling and giving a message of hope to the young folks at King County Juvenile Detention Center. On December 25, in the wee hours of the morning, a choir, Mr. & Mrs. Santa, and I will be joining the staff at King County Juvenile Detention Center to hand out gifts from the community (that is organized by Unna Kim of KCJDC, not me! I'm just along as the official photographer!).
"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." --Helen Keller
Thank you for indulging me! And peace be to you and all the world.
Organizations that are vital to my work that you may consider donating to:
J Mase III who donates much time: https://www.gofundme.com/black-trans-prayer-book
REST (Real Escape from Sex Trafficking): https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/REST/donateform.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiA8_PfBRC3ARIsAOzJ2uq_DgZ7BPTLDat0CtKvh2yqhvq-Yj39eutpg0qxAZAJzVTdvVbLidgaAstsEALw_wcB
Urban Impact: https://www.urbanimpactseattle.org/donate/
First AME: https://pushpay.com/g/fameseattle?src=hpp
Ebenezer AMEZ: 1716 23rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
Consejo Counseling: http://consejonew.consejocounseling.org/how-to-donate/
Rev. Terri Jane Stewart
YCC-Chaplain @ thechurchcouncil.org