The 24-7 Justice Captain overseeing the upcoming Free Yard Sale is Alicia Camarata. She’s got a big heart for justice & mercy, & a great
passion to facilitate Free Yard sales that serve the needy. While this 1st Free Yard Sale is largely Justice Project focused, we are working toward hosting Free Yard Sales once a month during warm weather months. If you would like to join the team forming to effort this on a monthly scale, contact Alecia@: email@example.com
The Joneses'CLG visited Reid Park today. We took some sidewalk chalk, a kickball, boomerang, and other outdoor gear to the park at Glen Arbor Outreach Center Some of our Reid Park friends suggested that location for our next get together the last time we hung out at RP.
We had a wonderful time, hanging out with Shell, her family, and a few others at the park. Shell, a mother of four, and some of her children and extended family members spent a lot of time with us last month when our CLG brought hot food to the Amay James Rec Center. We were delighted that they wanted to hang out with us again today. We chatted, played games, and began to really connect with them. Shell was there with her son Leary (14) and her nephews Antonio (13) and DJ (about 10 months old). We also met three siblings and their father-- Sammy (11), Stephen (13), and Kayla (2)-- and a middle aged man named James Heath.
While Shell chatted with some of us, the kids played four square on the sidewalk with another group of us. Then we headed to the softball field to teach the kids (and James) how to throw a boomerang. After many good laughs doing that, we played a short kickball game. Shell played also, but complained afterward that the other team cheated-- "they kicked too hard," she said with a fake pout on her face.
We said goodbye after about 2 hours of hanging out, promising to be in touch again. Shell was also excited about the upcoming free yard sale.
Our new friend Paul Price was not home during our time at the park today. But he did call us later in the afternoon. He sounded genuinely sorry to have missed us. We talked with him about the painting he needs done and invited him to hang out with us the next time we visit RP, which we hope will be in two weeks, when we host an afternoon/evening cookout and softball game at the park. Paul said he was eager to meet us.
Based on our experience so far, we really believe that we can make a difference in Shell's life and in the lives of her family. She is related to so many people in the neighborhood. She and many of her family members have expressed a willingness, even eagerness, to get to know us. We have already established relationships with 10 of them. We will continue to reach out to Shell and her family. We have enjoyed them at least as much as they have enjoyed us, we think.
Every time you get time with your Reid Park resident... photo-journal it.
Wether you use your cheezy phone camera or a digital camera, take a picture. Then send a copy to: firstname.lastname@example.org It's a big part of holding the stories & history being made in the big & small spaces of the lives immeshed in this mad mission to bring a goodness revolution to the inner-city hood.
Have you ever heard of something referred to as a "white elephant"? The term derives from the sacred white elephants kept by Southeast Asian monarchs in Burma, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. To possess a white elephant was regarded (and is still regarded in Thailand and Burma) as a sign that the monarch was ruling with justice & authority, & that the kingdom was or soon would be blessed with peace & prosperity.
Here's where it goes awry: Because the animals were considered sacred & laws protected them from labor, receiving a gift of a white elephant from a monarch was both a blessing & a curse: a blessing because the animal was sacred & a sign of the monarch's favor, & a curse because the animal had to be kept & could not be put to practical use to offset the cost of maintaining it.
In our culture, the term white
elephant refers to a gift whose maintenance cost exceeds its usefulness.
Have you ever been given a gift that fits that description? It's a gift, but you think you can't use it to any good personal benefit & it cost you to have it around.
Whether it's an actual elephant or that tacky statue of a armless naked person with a belly-clock; when either a judicial law or cultural etiquette implies you can't give away the white elephant or put it to work, then it can then only serve as an unwanted decoration.
The Justice Project could easily be seen as a white elephant. They keep telling you it's a gift, so you can't simply throw it away. You may even feel guilty trying to see if others will take responsibility for it & therefore get it off your hands. And of course you don't want to keep it because you know it'll cost you the kind of maintenance fees you're really not wanting to shell out right now. What to do? What to do?
Seen through the wrong lens The Justice Project can viewed as a white elephant, that which is either more of a decoration or an annoyance than as one of the toughest, strongest, & most useful creatures when it comes to some of the roughest & weighty jobs in some of the most difficult & primitive terrain.
No matter how many times we've been told that this elephant is meant to be put to work, & that the rewards of the doing so will far exceed any maintenance cost, even to the meeting of some of your most deepest needs & those of others, it's still been hard for some of you to jump on in. Stuck somewhere in this tension between decoration & annoyance, some have found a strange compromise by feeding the elephant but not giving it any tasks (or none worthy of its strength). Ya know, sending it money or giving it canned goods every week, but not climbing atop it & actually heading into the assigned places of great need.
Here's the thing about elephants; they do not work on remote control. The require the personal presence of the human element. You can't simply feed one & tell it where you want it to go while avoiding the hassle or adventure of actually climbing it, & holding the reigns, & being actively involved in its forward motion & in its lifting of heavy burdens & bringing strength into weak places in the urban terrain of the lives of Reid Park residents. In the coming days, weeks, & months each individual will get to decide whether to see this white elephant called The Justice Project as a mere decoration or an annoyance or as a great vehicle to bring great change into a place of great need. And if the latter, than cross the line & take real ownership & personal involvment in forward motion, no matter your chosen speed or size of the steps.
To possess a white elephant was regarded as a sign that the monarch was ruling with justice
& authority, & that the kingdom was or soon would be blessed
with peace & prosperity.
So... If you've got one, (no can do from a distance) climb atop, head West, & start using it lifting heavy burdens.
RULZ:You must never give money to the residents you're serving. That's a hard & fast rule. But you can give directly to their utility companies. You can also give them gifts cards to grocery stores, Walmart, etc.Givingcan be an important part of serving. But helping a person feelvalued, heard, and understoodis of far greater value than any of your money could ever be.
On April 2 four people from our small group went over to visit one of our new friends in Reid Park. She told us that her immediate need was for a set of twin beds. She has four children of her own & is also taking care of her sister's four children when she left them. They had been sleeping on two mattresses on the floor. We set up the beds and gave her a new set of sheets & comforters for the beds. By the time I got back home I had a message on the phone from Ms. Ervin. She was crying & having a hard time composing herself long enough to speak. She expressed to us that bringing her those beds was like someone giving her a million dollars. -K