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Religious Education

RE-Flections: Children and Youth Vote for the May Share the Plate Recipient on April 2!

Share the Plate

By Beryl Aschenberg, Director of Religious Education

Share the Plate

Share the Plate is a bold program of radical generosity.

Giving away 50% of our weekly collection allows our church community to significantly deepen our social justice mission by connecting us to the people and organizations that are shaping our world in ways that align with our congregation’s mission and values. From the beginning of this initiative at First Church, our children have been offered the responsibility to choose the recipient of our congregation’s donations for the month of May. We have three terrific choices for their vote on April 2: (listed alphabetically)

Kids Matter, Inc. was founded in 2000, inspired by the compelling need to improve the lives of the many Milwaukee County children involved in the child welfare system. Far too many of these children are not thriving or finding permanent, loving homes. Many have been abused, neglected, lost a loved one to homicide, witnessed domestic violence or experienced another trauma. This organization offers caregivers access to people who will help them navigate complex systems (child welfare, criminal justice, family court, and children’s court.) These people work with extended family caregivers to enhance their resources, skills, coping strategies, social supports, and access to resources within their community; provide advocates for abused and neglected children in Milwaukee County Children’s Court; and distribute care packages to children and youth in our county’s Child Welfare System.

Next Door Foundation (NDF): Metcalf Park is a Milwaukee neighborhood located less than two miles from our church, but the neighborhood could not be more different than where most of us live. 43% of the families here live in poverty; because of this, children don’t always get to the doctor when they need to or get the help they need at school, and are often surrounded by violence. NDF is in the heart of this neighborhood and is committed to making a difference! They offer free preschool, safe afterschool and summer programs, free books for kids and teachers; and adult education programs including high school diploma preparation and parenting classes.

Summer Camp for Burn Injured Youth is a statewide effort to provide a memorable experience for young people aged 7-17 who have endured significant burn injuries. The purpose of the camp is to provide for the unique needs of burn injured youth while offering them opportunities to have fun, make friends, and develop both coping skills and self-esteem. It also gives them a safe place to explore and share their feelings with others who have had similar experiences. The camp offers activities such as fishing, hiking, swimming, horseback riding, and arts and crafts.  It is held annually during the second week of August at Camp Timber-Lee just outside of East Troy, WI. Also, known as the “Summer Burn Camp” this event is sponsored by the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin Charitable Foundation (PFFW-CF).

The concept of Share the Plate and the organizations chosen to vote on will be introduced on March 12 or 19 during Children’s RE class time. Voting will take place during our RE program’s First Sunday activities on April 2. All K5-12th graders present that day will get to vote on the organization to receive our church’s donations from the May offering plate collections.

More information about these organizations will be provided in “kid friendly” language to both children and parents in the weeks ahead. Limited classroom time will also be used to help inform the young people of their options. I invite parents and guardians to take some time to research these groups before April 2 and talk your child through the pros and cons of supporting each one with their vote. This is a great opportunity help children learn that their vote and voice can truly make a difference!

Questions? Contact me at 414-273-5257 ext. 204, or email at beryl@uumilwaukee.org

 

By Beryl Aschenberg, Director of Religious Education

 

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