Posted by Little Lights Urban Ministries at 01:05 PM
Over 130 wonderful people joined us, this week and last, for Little Lights’ Hope for the City breakfast series! It was a privilege for us to be surrounded by so many people who care deeply about our city and the people served by Little Lights. Thanks to all of you who came!
We held one breakfast in the District at the Hill Center, and another in Northern Virginia at McLean Presbyterian Church. At each event we unveiled a new documentary video presentation about our work and heard from Dwaine and Crissy, two young adults who went through our programs and shared about how Little Lights has shaped the course of their lives.
Another focus of the breakfasts was to make an exciting announcement about the future expansion of Little Lights and ask our faithful partners to support us financially as we broaden the reach of our programs. We will be sharing that news with everyone soon, so stay tuned!
At both events combined, you contributed more than $20,000 to Little Lights! We are grateful to have so many kind and open-handed supporters – thank you!
And we also want to extend our thanks to our generous sponsors: Rick Miller and SWBC Mortgage, the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, and Ben Lin of B.Lin Catering.
Sometimes the issues and challenges affecting the kids and families we work with can seem overwhelming, but these breakfasts reminded us of the great things that can happen when committed and caring individuals work together on behalf of their city.
You reminded us that, with people like you alongside us, there is definitely hope for this city.
Posted by Little Lights Urban Ministries at 01:21 PM
In celebration of Mother’s Day and all of the outstanding moms connected to Little Lights, our very own Josie Ortega spent a few minutes talking to our Associate Director, Linda Rice, on the topic of motherhood.
Linda, Josie, and Josie’s daughter, Mary Tobin
Mother’s Day is coming up, and you play the role of mother to a lot of the staff, kids, and the parents in the Gardens, and the volunteers. In that case, what is your best parenting advice for me?
My best parenting advice? Definitely, don’t try to raise your child without Christ. Because it’s impossible. It’s impossible because kids are pretty demanding. And to always have a positive outlook. And to know that even on your worst day when they just get on your last nerve, that they’ll grow up one day and you can pass on wonderful qualities, if you just have patience and love them through those rough periods.
I know that there’s a Parenting Class here in the Family Center. Do you think the parents in the Gardens face the same challenges as our volunteers and our donors who are parents? How are the challenges the same and how are they different?
Well, I would say: the same---it’s stressful raising a child, no matter what situation. But I would say [different] economically---a lot of the parents here . . . it’s very hard if you don’t have a job. You’re trying to get a job. You need a baby sitter. You don’t have money to pay a baby sitter. So a lot of times you’re faced with maybe letting someone babysit, and it may not be quality care and you would prefer your child to be in a nursery. So some of them can get vouchers, but sometimes there’s a waiting list.
You just can’t get the quality of care . . .
Might not get the quality care you want. Then it’s enhanced if you’ve got more than one child. And you’re needing diapers. We can only help with 50 diapers a month. We can’t be their main diaper supply.
So a lot of times, I would say, volunteers more so have a support network to help them out. A lot of the moms here, it’s just them on their own.
Do you think the Family Center has helped moms in that situation?
Definitely. We have some who have found work, and then we have moms who are learning how to parent stress-free, learning how to rely on God. They’re coming regularly for Bible study, so at least they’re learning not to yell at them---the damage of cursing at your child because maybe you’re upset with the father, you’re upset that you don’t have money. Learning how to parent differently. So to see those parents, and then to see the kids---to see qualities changing in the kids---is really a blessing.
Posted by Little Lights Urban Ministries at 09:13 AM
Last week our staff sat down together and shared exciting and meaningful moments we had experienced during our time at Little Lights. Sara, one of our program assistants, told us this story about Ja’Shaun:
“Why do you always wear that weird upside down light bulb shirt?! What does it mean anyway?” This was asked of me during Math Heroes in the middle of a tutoring session with JJ. At first I was really amused that she decided to ask me about the meaning of my shirt, a shirt she sees staff wearing every time she is at Little Lights, but then I saw how just two questions could be used as a teaching moment, as long as I was willing to engage with JJ and ignore the math lesson for a moment.
I asked her what the name of this place was and she rolled her eyes and said, “Little Lights, but I don’t really get why there is a light bulb or what it is supposed to mean.” I began to try to explain to her that the light bulb can be a symbol for how we can all be God’s light, how a light can help people see or find things and that we can help others see and find God by how we act. I also explained that others can help us see and find God by how they act and treat us.
She then told me we can only see God at church and that is the only place to go if you want to see him. I told her that it is possible to see God in other places other than church, like during Bible study at Little Lights, when we pray with other people or by ourselves, in something we find beautiful in nature, or in the love and care that people show us. After I was done explaining this she sat very still and I could tell she was thinking something. Just as I was beginning to think I had lost her and this conversation was over her first grade understanding, she said to me, “I think seeing God everywhere would be a really cool thing AND I really think I want to be a light bulb by being nice to people!”
It was really neat to have this conversation with JJ and to see her desire to not only see God but also to play a part in helping others see God by how she acts and treats others. This experience with JJ was a really great reminder of the faith and understanding children are capable of having. It was also a great reminder of how important it is to make myself available for these kind of conversations and to have a willingness to answer random questions and see them as teaching moments. Moments like this make me very thankful that Little Lights is a Christian organization because something as secular and mundane as a math tutoring session became a faith moment for a child.
Posted by Little Lights Urban Ministries at 09:10 AM
Over spring break fifteen of our students got out of the city and headed for Gore, VA and Camp Hope!
Each year Chinese Bible Church of Maryland hosts Camp Hope for our students, which is a week-long camp full of fun activities, games, arts and crafts, as well as a time to teach the kids about God. This year’s theme, “God’s got it,” came from Philippians 4:6.
We sat down recently and talked with some of the kids who went to hear what they thought about Camp Hope!
Favorite part: The counselors. My counselor was Mr. Steven. He’s an engineer and he’s funny. I liked one-on-one time with Mr. Steven. We talked about basketball, football, and God.
One thing you learned: Don’t use God’s name in vain, cause it’s like saying God did something wrong.
Three words to best describe Camp Hope: Fun. Exciting. Awesome.
Anything else you want to say: Yes, next year the boys are going to dominate the dance competition!
Favorite part: My counselor, Ms. Hannah. Going to the gym, going to assemblies and singing songs. The hike where we went across a bridge!
One thing you learned: Don’t take God’s name in vain. It’s like disgracing God.
Favorite part: Counselors! I can’t remember the name of mine though. The campfire with, like, the marshmallows. The crosses… we put five things we are thankful for and things we want to change on them.
Three words to best describe Camp Hope: Fun. Cool. Nice.
Favorite part: Gym! Playing buddy tag and amoebae tag. One-on-one time with Mr. Calvin, he taught me how to race, but I beat him every time.
Three words to best describe Camp Hope: Gym. One-on-one time. Dinner.
We’re so thankful to Chinese Bible Church of Maryland for giving our students this opportunity each year! It’s a tremendous blessing to our students.