Category Archives: Nonprofit Spotlight

Movie chronicles work of homeless shelters advocate Kathy DiFiore

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By Ginny McCabe
Special to ASSIST News Service

LOS ANGELES (ANS) – Based on real-life stories of hope and transformation, Gimme Shelter opened in theaters Jan. 24.gimme-shelter-poster

This new Roadside Attractions film celebrates the life and work of Several Sources Shelters Founder, Leader and Women’s Issues Advocate, Kathy DiFiore. DiFiore has worked hand-in-hand with Mother Teresa and her powerful influence changed the shelter laws in New Jersey. She has also been honored by three American presidents and recognized at the UN for her life-changing work.

Award-winning filmmaker Ronald Krauss directed the film and penned the movie’s original screenplay, while spending a year in one of DiFiore’s shelters for pregnant teens. His writing reflects upon their lives and chronicles the challenging journey. Based on a true story, Gimme Shelter centers on a 16-year-old pregnant teenager, Agnes “Apple” Bailey, (Vanessa Hudgens) who flees a drug-ridden mother (Rosario Dawson) in search of a better life of her own. Turned away by her Wall Street father, (Brendan Fraser) Apple is forced into a life on the streets. The film is rated PG-13.

“(Gimme Shelter) will remind young women that they have choices,” said the film’s star Vanessa Hudgens. “When we see someone like Kathy doing a great job serving others, we should recognize and honor them. We’re all in this together and when we embrace that we begin to come together as a community.”

What makes this inspirational drama so riveting is that DiFiore’s own life story and experiences are as compelling as any blockbuster film. As a suburban wife and mother, she escaped an abusive marriage, which left her herself homeless and on the street. In reclaiming her life, DiFiore’s recovery fueled a desire to help others turn their lives around. When she made her home a shelter for un-wed, pregnant women, the State of New Jersey raided it and levied huge fines for running an illegal boarding house. As a devout Catholic Christian woman, she decided to reach out to none other than Mother Teresa.

“Together they fought the state and managed to change the law,” said Ronald Krauss. “Now she runs five shelters in New Jersey that give people a chance to get back on their feet by providing them with education and helping them get jobs. Her shelters are run 100 percent on donations, without any public funding, for 35 years now.”

DiFiore first welcomed a pregnant teen in her own home in 1981. Since that time, she has tirelessly devoted her life to helping others. Her faith-inspired testimony continues to offer compassion and spread hope.

“Through God’s Grace, we save babies’ lives and shelter their young mothers while providing education and ongoing compassionate support services including our Pregnancy Sonogram Center. We further educate young people to make healthy life choices. We also shelter women who are homeless, sick and elderly as we help them to restore their dignity,” said DiFiore, about the primary purpose behind her life’s work.

“Women who go against the tide and have their baby become that child’s hero. It comes down to their choices, but it’s not always an easy road. Many of them are forced to leave their family and turn to a shelter. I can’t help but admire them. They are changing the ‘culture of death’ into a culture of life and I want to help them have a better life,” DiFiore said.

For more about the movie, or to find a theater near you, go to www.GimmeShelterTheMovie.com.

 

Eggerichs: How to get the respect you’ve wanted from your kids in ’14

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By Emerson Eggerichs, Ph.D.
Special to Inside The Pew

Years ago when I was a pastor, I was speaking at a Christian summer camp. I was about to give the evening message and my son David,Emerson Eggerich who was around age ten, was misbehaving because he wanted to do something that we did not have time to do at the moment. I distinctly remember feeling: This child is purposely defying me. He is showing me disrespect to retaliate for not getting his way.

I took David out to our car, where I hoped to reason with him. He sat in the backseat; I sat in the front. I tried to get him to talk but got only cold silence, which made me feel more and more disrespected. Finally, I angrily bawled him out for his disrespect, but that only made David more convinced I was being unfair and unloving. He stared out the window with no remorse or apology—only silence—and it ended in a stalemate. I had to speak in a few minutes, so I had David accompany me to the auditorium, where I addressed the crowd as best I could, all the while feeling like a complete hypocrite because of my horrible parenting.

When kids do not listen to parents, at some level, parents feel disregarded and disrespected. But what else is going on from the child’s perspective? I want to give you a game plan for raising your kids, no matter what their age. To help you build this game plan, there are two basic principles to understand and apply to all ages and stages:

  1. Kids need love
  2. Parents need respect

The parent-child relationship is as easy, and as difficult, as love and respect.

When frustrated with an unresponsive child, a parent does not declare, “You don’t love me!” Instead the parent concludes, “You are being disrespectful right now.” A parent needs to feel respected, especially during conflicts. When upset, a child does not whine, “You don’t respect me.” Instead, a child pouts, “You don’t love me.” A child needs to feel loved, especially during disputes.

The good news is that when children feel loved, they are motivated to respond positively to parents, and when parents feel respected, they are energized to be lovingly affectionate with their kids. When these needs are met, good things happen in the family.

But, of course, the reverse happens all too often. An unloved child reacts negatively in a way that feels disrespectful to a parent. A disrespected parent reacts negatively in a way that feels unloving to the child. We might say that every negative action in the family has an equal and opposite negative reaction. This dynamic gives birth to the Family Crazy Cycle: without love a child reacts without respect; and without respect, a parent reacts without love.

Parents need and want the respect that Scripture plainly says is their due: “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12) is one of many passages where children are clearly told to honor and respect their parents. And children need and want the love and sensitive understanding that Scripture teaches parents to give them. See Titus 2:4, Ephesians 6:4, and Colossians 3:21 for just a few examples of where parental responsibilities are mentioned or described.

As I reflect on that scene where I blew it with David, it never occurred to me that he may have been feeling unloved. Perhaps he just wanted time with me and was feeling left out. If I had addressed the situation with that understanding, could this conflict have been avoided? It is hard to be sure, but one thing is for sure: my angry outburst accusing him of being disrespectful did not help him open his heart to me. I could have decoded him much better, but I did not know then what I know now. What I had to learn, by trial and error, is that parenting is for adults only, and as adults we need to learn to decode what’s going on between us and our kids.

For example, there’s not always a clear-cut “yes or no” answer to the question, “Is my child feeling unloved?” It is entirely possible that he is acting this way out of childish irresponsibility, selfishness, or even open defiance. He is unhappy, he is just not getting his way, and he is letting you know it. On the other hand, there are times when parents can start the Family Crazy Cycle by overreacting to kids just being kids. Our rigidity and negativity are perceived as unloving to our children, who then feel unfairly judged, and now we have entered the Family Crazy Cycle.

All we may want for Christmas is respect…but demanding it from our kids all year long will not help them to feel loved. In fact, it will have the opposite effect and the Family Crazy Cycle will keep spinning! As parents we need to decode and make the first move. As we begin to see love and respect as basic family needs we will be able to stop this cycle of conflict and work towards harmony in our home.

Emerson Eggerichs is the author of Love & Respect in the Family: The Respect Parents Desire, the Love Children Need (Thomas Nelson Publishers). Eggerichs, a resident of Grand Rapids, Mich., is founder and president of Love & Respect Ministries and holds 30-plus years of pastoring and counseling experience and extensive scientific and biblical research. Eggerichs earned a master’s degree in divinity from Dubuque Seminary and a Ph.D. from Michigan State in child and family ecology. He has been married for 40 years and is the father of three grown children.

The Mission Continues in Houston: Post-9/11 veterans train to serve local communities

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Bravo Service Project participants

Special to Inside The Pew

Veterans from across the country are reporting for duty in Houston to begin the next chapter of serving their country: leading theirBravo Service Project participants communities at home. More than 80, post-9/11 veterans will gather in Houston Oct. 25-27, for a weekend of leadership training and community service as part of orientation with The Mission Continues, a national nonprofit organization that empowers veterans to serve their country in new ways.

These latest recruits will join more than 700 other post-9/11 veterans who have worked with The Mission Continues to navigate the transition to post-military life by reconnecting to their communities and their sense of purpose through volunteerism.

Houston residents may join The Mission Continues in action volunteering at Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School of Houston on Oct. 26 and also witness all 80-plus veterans pledging an oath of service to the community before each returns home to spend the next six months volunteering with local nonprofits.

“Each veteran who volunteers with The Mission Continues is driven to serve others,” said Spencer Kympton, U.S. Army veteran and president of The Mission Continues. “With the support of engaged communities like Houston, we can empower veterans to have a positive impact here at home.”

As part of Delta Orientation, the new veteran recruits and Houston-area alumni of the program will team up with volunteers from Shell and Boeing, as well as project sponsor Benjamin Moore Paints to transform the campus of Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School. The volunteers will rebuild the school’s bleachers, plant new gardens and landscape grounds, and remove an outdated performance stage. The site improvements will support the school in its mission to empower students of all backgrounds to reach their full potential.

“The Mission Continues’ veterans are living examples for our students that leadership, determination, and service to others offer a path to empowerment and success,” said Dan Walsh, interim president, Cristo Rey Jesuit. “We’re excited and truly honored to welcome The Mission Continues to the Houston community.”

Through their service experience in Houston and throughout their six-month fellowships at home, veterans learn to translate military abilities into civilian skills, gaining valuable work experience and pursuing a defined post-fellowship goal: full-time employment, pursuit of higher education or a full-time position of community service.

Additionally, The Mission Continues is launching a Houston-based veterans’ service platoon led by fellowship alumnus Brian Wilson. Wilson, a former U.S. Army medic, spent his fellowship volunteering with the Lone Star Veterans Association as the Communications Director and has since enrolled as a full-time student pursuing a degree in communications. As Houston platoon leader, he’ll recruit local veterans to support a mission addressing community challenges in the Houston area through monthly organized service events.

“My fellowship helped me reconnect to that same fire and passion that I felt while serving my country and I want to make sure other veterans have a chance to experience that – even if just for a weekend,” Wilson said. “We’re excited to start recruiting and identifying a long-term mission that will make a difference to people in Houston.”

New Salvation Army world leader wants spiritual focus

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By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

LONDON (ANS)Taking over a global organization best known for its social service work, the Salvation Army’s new internationalGeneral Andre Cox leader said in an interview he wants the Christian movement’s religious work to take center stage for the 1.7-million member church.

According to the Washington Times, General Andre Cox, 59, said from London in one of his first interviews since his election Aug. 3, “The reputation of the Army has been won over generations because of the hard work of the people who day in and day out get on with the ministry.”

He added, “One of the concerns I share  is to ensure we are rooted and confident in the word of God, and we want to obviously reflect on the authority of Scripture, what it means to us. I want to see an Army on prayer, and I also want to see an Army that reflects the mind of Jesus.”

The Zimbabwean-born Cox, formerly the organization’s chief of staff, assumes his command at a moment of unusual organizational uncertainty for The Salvation Army.

The Washington Times reported that two months ago his predecessor, Gen. Linda Bond, abruptly relinquished her position and retired, with the organization citing only “personal reasons” for her departure. She had held the Army’s top post only since April 2011 and had given no prior notice of her intention to step down.

While not addressing Bond’s motives for leaving, Cox said of his former boss, “I have seen a woman of great courage, great faith, and great vision,” saying her vision statements for the Army “will be a lasting legacy.”

Formally operating in the United States since 1880, 15 years after its founding in London’s East End, the Washington Times said the Salvation Army’s social services have sometimes overshadowed its evangelical Christian roots and mission.

Those services encompass disaster relief, adult rehabilitation centers serving those with substance abuse and other problems, aid to families needing food and other assistance, and ministries to those in or leaving prison as well as after-school programs.

Religious programs underlie Salvation Army services at each of its installations, but have been less visible in the public, and Cox said he wants to see that change.

“One of the things that h as challenged me, particularly in recent years, is the f ct we are a people who have received grace from God. We’re grateful for His love and His transformation in our lives, but it’s more than theory, it’s got to take root in us and it’s got to be visible,” he said.

At the same time, the Washington Times said, Cox emphasized “the focus on the poor and the marginalized. I think that is our constituency and I want to see a strong emphasis on that.”

Cox, the son of Salvation Army ministers who until his election held the number two position at the group’s international headquarters, said the movement’s operations in Britain offered an example of balancing social work and spiritual outreach.

“In the United Kingdom, with the economic crisis at the moment, local churches are more in the front line of providing support in many practical ways to the communities we serve. I think that recaptures something of the original calling,” he said.

Of the Army’s signature “red kettles,” used to collect donations during Christmas and on other occasions during the year, the Washington Times reported Cox said he’d not heard of any plans to abandon their use in the face of rising concerns about security for those manning the kettles.

The well-known red kettle that sits outside of stores during the holidays is kept locked and hangs from a five foot metal stand. The stand is meant to keep thieves from running off with it, but it doesn’t stop everyone.

On Christmas Eve 2009, Major Philip Wise, a Salvation Army pastor in Little Rock, Ark., was shot and killed by robbers after picking up kettles in his area.

“Security becomes a problem,” Cox said of the kettle effort. “It would be sad if we were forced to” curtail the program, he added, saying it was “also important from a visibility point of view to be present on the streets and to be seen.”

Losing the kettles, he said, “would be a loss in many ways. They’re great opportunities to engage with people.”

La. nonprofit job assistance program expands to 200 faith-based charities

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Special to Inside The Pew

MATAWAN, N.J.–  It was an innovative idea that took shape just two years ago, a faith-based non-profit utilizing iCIMS’ Recruit ApplicantICIMS Tracking System (ATS) as a job placement database, allowing the state’s unemployed to have access to a listing of available jobs through local ministries in the area. Now, iCIMS is proud to report its customer, Faith Employee’s Employment Data (FEED), is expanding its program.

“The response has been amazing. Our church participation has grown by leaps and bounds, from just 13 churches when we first started to nearly 250,” said FEED CEO, Bill Stanton, “The iCIMS Talent Platform has helped us provide a strong and robust job placement database to churches and businesses throughout Southern Louisiana. Local businesses love the idea. By the end of 2013, we expect to have a total of 480 businesses in our network. Our goal is to cover most of Louisiana by summer and possibly expand to other states.”

FEED worked with iCIMS Inc., a leading provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) talent acquisition software solutions for growing businesses, FEEDto create a uniquely configured Talent Platform that acts as a job placement database. The database connects the unemployed and underemployed of FEED affiliated faith-based organizations with participating businesses that post job openings.

“Thanks to the success of the program and the number of new churches signing on, we predict job fulfillment will increase by more than 400 percent this year,” Stanton said.

Each participating employer organization is given system access to post job openings as well as filter through the pool of candidates who have applied for positions. In turn, the unemployed and underemployed can search and apply for jobs by submitting resumes, employment applications, and cover letters through an online career portal.

“We are so proud to have the opportunity to work with FEED to help create the ideal platform aimed at decreasing the unemployment rate in Louisiana,” said Adam Feigenbaum, CEO and iCARE Ambassador at iCIMS. “Because iCIMS Talent Platform is a highly configurable SaaS solution, we were able to customize FEED’s account to fit their unique workflow and allow multiple faith-based organizations and participating businesses to access the platform at the same time. As FEED expands, we will be there to accommodate their growth and ensure their efforts are successful.”

To find out more about FEED’s efforts visit http://www.feedjobplacement.com/index.html.

‘The Father Effect’ allows indie filmmaker to reshape his life

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"The Father Effect"

By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

Four years ago, John Finch was a broken man. Today, he is a changed man all because he forgave his father."The Father Effect"

When Finch was 11 years old, his father committed suicide. For decades, Finch didn’t understand how to handle life like a man because he didn’t have a male figure in the home to guide him. This loss came to an end when God intervened.

Finch said a friend brought to Finch’s attention that he had some unresolved issues with his father’s death that led to his scattered view of what it is to be a man.

Based on this experience, Finch said he created The Perfect Father. He said the nonprofit organization exists to create awareness in fathers and realize their impact in what they say and do as dads.

To emphasize the role father’s play in the lives of children, Finch created a documentary based on his personal trials, “The Father Effect.”

“The movie came out of my own life story,” said the husband and father of three girls. “I never understood the full impact until a few years ago. I bought into what societyJohn Finch wants for a man.

“Essentially my problems were rooted in anger for my father. I had this father wound and I need to take care of that. I had to practice forgiveness and understand the power of that. Until I forgave my dad, I could not be the man, the husband, and father that God wanted to me.”

The first 30 minutes of the film is Finch’s story and testimony. The remainder of the film showcases counselors, pastors, and ordinary people discussing the importance of a father’s presence in the lives of children. Interviews from John Eldridge, best-selling author “Wild At Heart And Fathered By God” and Meg Meeker, author of “Strong Fathers Strong Daughters” are included in the documentary.

“I feel that other men needed to hear these stories,” the Denton resident said. “Most men don’t understand the power and influence they have as a men. When someone experiences this, you are going to have a wound, whether you are man or a woman.

Finch said the organization is in the process of completing the full-length film, but additional funds are need to make the full-length version a reality.

The documentary’s filming process has helped Finch become more appreciative of his family and his daughters.

“I walk in a daily awareness,” he said.

To view the short film, visit Vimeo or the movie’s YouTube Channel.  Learn more about The Perfect Father and “The Father Effect” at http://www.theperfectfather.org/.

Colt McCoy, Austin pastor throw support behind military nonprofit

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By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

A nonprofit that addresses the needs of active military has received two more celebrity supporters for its boot campaign.

On May 23, the Boot Camp Campaign announced that NFL quarterback Colt McCoy and Matt Carter, pastor of The Austin Stone Community Church, are featured on theMatt Carter, left, and Colt McCoy and organization’s official photo. According to a press release distributed from the Boot Camp, the photo release coincides with the release of McCoy’s and Carter’s book, “The Real Win: A Man’s Quest for Authentic Success.”

“The real win means trusting the Lord and walking with Jesus no matter what,” write Colt and Matt. “That kind of faithfulness is possible for any man who follows God with all his heart. No matter what circumstances threaten him, a faithful man is the most truly confident man in the room.”

McCoy was drafted by the Cleveland Browns during the 2010 NFL Draft. In April, the quarterback was traded to the San Francisco 49ers. As a Longhorn, McCoy led the University of Texas Longhorns to the 2010 BCS national championship against Alabama. Carter oversees the flock at the 8,000-member church in Austin and is an author and speaker at conferences around the nation.

The Boot Camp awareness campaign has enlisted more than 300 actors, professional athletes, musicians, politicians, and other celebrities who have laced up combat boots for the cause.

Boot Camp, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization based in Austin, Texas, is a patriotic movement raises awareness of the challenges active military men and women face upon returning home. The nonprofit was founded by five Texas women in 2009. Proceeds from sales of the boots help wounded military and their families with job placement, mortgage free homes, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) counseling, and adaptive clothing.

To purchase boots and read information about the needs of active military, visit http://www.bootcampaign.com/.

Goodwill Industries names Houston man 2013 Achiever of the Year

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By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

Tyres Dickson’s dream of becoming a college football star at the University of Texas ended when an accident with a drunk driver left him paralyzed from the chest down. Life after the 1998 accident has had its ups and downs. But, a chance opportunity of securing employment with Goodwill has helped him rebuild his confidence. The Houston native was recently named Goodwill Industries 2013 Achiever of the Year for his efforts to redefine what makes a successful work life.

Dickson, 35, will be honored during Goodwill Industries’ annual Delegate Assembly meeting in June in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“I was either going to end up on government assistance or make a way for myself,” Dickinson said. “This award validates the struggle. After I got out the coma I decided that I would stay with God and persevere through the adversity. I have many solitary, heavy moments. Then, I made it to Goodwill to see there are good people. Working for Goodwill has been good for my soul and spirit.”

For the past four years, Dickson has worked as a traffic dispatcher for Goodwill Industries of Houston.

After the accident, Dickson spent 18 months of recovery in the hospital and eight months learning life skills to deal with limited mobility. He then re-enrolled at UT to continue his education, but was unable to attend classes due to difficulties related to his paralysis and he moved back to Houston, to live with his mother. Compensation from the accident allowed him to pursue his own audio and sound mixing business, but the theft of his audio equipment in December 2008 left him without the means to earn a paycheck.

Dick Taylor, a UT alum and football booster who’d met Dickson almost a decade earlier, heard about the theft. Taylor was a friend of Steve Lufburrow, president and CEO of Goodwill Houston, and called him immediately and set up a meeting between Dickson and the CEO.

Lufburrow saw promise in the young man and hired him as the agency’s transportation dispatcher. When he learned Dickson didn’t have a way to get to work, LufburrowDicksonWork enlisted help from others at Goodwill, including Emily Conner, who worked in the Goodwill’s human resources department and was paralyzed in a diving accident. She helped Dickson access the job readiness supports that helped him succeed on the job.

Dickson has also used his experience as a platform for speaking engagements. He said he has spoken to several business groups, Christian schools, and Camp LT, a preparatory academy established by former NFL running back LaDainian Tomlinson

Interestingly, Dickson said his job allows him to use quarterbacking skills because he has to strategize and dispatch trucks to Houston-area stores.

“The job gives me a sense of accomplishment. I help send the trucks that are delivering products to destinations intended to help people who otherwise would not be able to afford items.”

Goodwill Industries International’s Achiever of the Year is a person who has shown great progress and accomplishment in overcoming challenges to finding employment, and who still benefits from the Goodwill work environment or receives services to support employment at a community site.

Faith Comes By Hearing receives 4-star rating from charity evaluator

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By Jeremy Reynalds
ASSIST News Service

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS) – Faith Comes By Hearing audio BibleJerry Jackson, left, and his wife, Annette ministry has again been awarded the prestigious 4-star rating from Charity Navigator – a charity evaluator.

According to a news release from Faith Comes by Hearing (FCBH), being recognized for the sixth straight year elevates the ministry into the top 3 percent of all charities.

 

Charity Navigator said this means FCBH “demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.”

FCBH said in his notification letter, Charity Navigator’s president and CEO Ken Berger wrote, “We are proud to announce Faith Comes By Hearing has earned our sixth consecutive 4-star rating. Only 3 percent of the charities we rate have received at least six consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Faith Comes By Hearing outperforms most other charities in America.”

FCBH said the recognition is especially meaningful, as “Charity Navigator evaluates 10 times the number of charities than (its) next closest organization, and draws more visitors to (its) website than every other charity evaluator combined.”

Jerry Jackson, FCBH’s founder and president, said in the news release, “It has always been our priority to be good stewards with every donation given to complete our mission. The best way to ensure accountability is to be open with our finances.”

He added, “As an outside and impartial evaluator, Charity Navigator’s continued recognition of our transparency and fiscal responsibility is testimony to our current and prospective donors that they are giving to a ministry that is using their funds wisely.”

For more information go to www.fcbh.org

Congregations to observe Blue Sunday on April 28, pray for victims of child abuse

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By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

Each year, hundreds of churches around the country partner with Shepherding the Next Generation to bring awareness to the thousands of children who are victims of abuseBlueSunday and neglect.

This year, on April 28, congregations will do the same. Shepherding the Next Generation, a network of 250 evangelical pastors and ministry leaders, is working with churches to promote awareness and action. According to the organization, an estimated 611,000 children who were victims of abuse and neglect in 2011, and the 1,570 children who died as a result.

“Children hold a special place in the Savior’s heart (Matthew 19) so doesn’t it stand to reason we should care deeply about them also?” said Steve Mays, pastor of Calvary Chapel Southbay in Los Angeles, and member of Shepherding the Next Generation.

On the last Sunday in April, churches commit to pray for the victims and their rescuers. Participating congregations may also hold toy drives, host community forums, or commit to volunteer in ways that support at-risk children and families.

“Pastors have unique insights about their congregations, and a strong sense of the challenges young parents and families are facing,” said Tom Pearce, the national director of Shepherding the Next Generation. “As members of Shepherding the Next Generation, they know that preventing child abuse and neglect is essential for healthy families.”

Pearce said that proven strategies to prevent abuse and neglect include parent coaching, and encouraging mentoring and discipleship relationships within the church.

Jay Dennis, senior pastor of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Fla., said, “When God’s people are shown a need, the only appropriate response is to fill that need just as He would.”

To learn more about Blue Sunday, visit www.joinbluesunday.org.