Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What are we looking for in others?

Have you seen the video where a couple of teams are passing around a basketball and the viewers are asked to count the number of passes between one of the teams? If you haven't I'd highly recommend it. You may view it on YouTube .

While this short British video was produced as part of a campaign to encourage people to watch out for bikes I think it also serves another purpose. It reminds us of how when we focus on certain things we're looking for we might miss other very important or obvious things.

Its easy for us to look at young people from disadvantaged circumstances and see all that might be lacking in terms of social skills, etc. When we are looking to reinforce our world view and stereotypes of "at risk" youth may miss the wealth of assets and strengths they bring. The same might also be true of our peception of our elders.

In our interactions with others let's focus our attention on the unique strengths and abilities they have to share with the world. Next time you're at the mall or see some teens hanging out, I'd encourage you to greet them with a smile! It might even help reduce their negative stereotype of adults.

I'm thankful for all the mentors, coaches, teachers and active neighbors who are helping young people realize their God given potential!

Oh yes, let's also watch out for bikes too! I was hit earlier this year by a car while riding my bike. The driver simply didn't notice me.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sharing Christmas joy with Kinship families

Over 800 children and family members are going to be receiving specially purchased gifts this Christmas through Kinship. This is being made possible thanks to many partners including Ameriprise, Best Buy, Target, Calvary Lutheran Church in Golden Valley and scores of other groups and individuals.

We are also most appreciative of Brookdale Covenant Church for hosting both the Adopt-a-Family program and our Kinshoppe. Last week 180 kids were able to shop for Christmas gifts for their family members. Generous contributions were received from groups like the Minnesota Truckers Association and many others.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Giving while we can still enjoy seeing the gift

A foundation is in the process of being established from the estate of a wealthy individual which will have two billion dollars in assets. My first reaction to hearing this was wow, think of all the great things that will be supported as a result of this newly developed foundation. Then I got to thinking about how this deceased person is going to miss out in the joy of the distribution of her assets.

Clearly we can't take anything with us once our days are over on this earth. However while we are here why not experience the joy of living and giving fully? I've been inspired by someone who's goal is to come to the end of their days just as they expend the last of their financial resources. This requires financial planning. With such planning it can help us to realize when we've saved enough so that we can more joyfully and freely enjoy the benefits of giving to the causes and charities of our choice during our lifetime.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Successful Minneapolis CARES mentor recruitment kickoff

Pictured above: Darrell Thompson, Executive Director Bolder Options, Gloria Lewis, Executive Director Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities and Dan Johnson, Executive Director Kinship of Greater Minneapolis

The kick off for Minneapolis CARES was held December 10th at the International Market Square. Kinship of Greater Minneapolis was pleased to partner with two other leading area mentoring programs, Bolder Options and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities to work on a shared recruitment campaign for African American mentors. Support for this campaign is also provided by the MADD Dads, Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota, General Mills, the United Way and the City of Minneapolis. This shared effort is coming under the local umbrella of Minneapolis CARES and the National CARES movement headed by Susan Taylor.

Ms. Taylor gave a moving keynote address, sharing of the importance of mentoring in the lives of youth. She strongly encouraged the African American community to become engaged in mentoring the next generation by joining one of the local mentoring programs featured at this event. Nancy Torrison, Kinship of Greater Minneapolis' Recruitment and Communications Director was a primary planner for this event and serves on the Minneapolis CARES steering committee.

Pictured at right: Dan and Susan Taylor