I will be writing several blogs on examples of activities that build peoples self esteem or move them forward to beginning to do things for themselves through the coaching of others.
Christmas Gift Store
Many churches use an Angel Tree approach for Christmas gifts for poor children. But instead of doing it that way they cam up with a different version then above of a Christmas Store, Churches members still bought gifts for kids but they are delivered as an unwrapped gifts to a location in the neighborhood where the poor came to choose Christmas gifts for their kids. The prices are set at about 10% of retail value so the prices are low. The store is someplace in the neighborhood, in a church in the neighborhood or in the elementary school
The parent picks gifts they think their child would like and takes it home to wrap it and give it to their child at Christmas. Sometimes instead of paying cash a person agrees to work in the store for say two hours for each gift. Therefore even if the parent has no funds they can choose, wrap and deliver gifts to their kids. Imagine the difference in how a parent feels by being able to be the giver of that gift to their child
Back Pack Give A Way
A church in Colorado donates backpacks full of supplies at the beginning of the year for families who cannot afford them. This year, the school Family Resource Center set up a “Time and Talent” program for these backpacks. Every family that accepted a backpack agreed to give two hours of their time back to school in some form of volunteer work. Schools know that if they can get a parent to the school for a positive experience the learning and attention of their child improves. As of January, 100% of the parents had completed this commitment. Parents dignity and feelings of self worth is strengthened as they have been able to provide for their child’s school supply needs instead of being dependent on others.
Those Served Become Servers at a Church Soup Kitchen
New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church is located in Over the Rhine, a community just outside downtown Cincinnati. New Prospect serves a mostly African-American population in a neighborhood that has been left behind. Many of Cincinnati’s homeless live in Over the Rhine, and for many years New Prospect has attended to their nutritional needs through a soup kitchen in the church basement. Several years ago, a group of ministers and lay leaders in the New Prospect congregation decided to re¬examine the church’s relationship with the people it was “serving” in its soup kitchen.
The congregation designed a “Gift Interview,” of assets to explore the unknown talents of the people coming to the soup kitchen. They asked questions about the gifts and abilities people were born with; they asked about skills and the things people liked to do. They also asked about dreams and provided an opportunity for each person to express what they would do if they “could snap their fingers and be doing anything.”
What they found astonished them: here were carpenters, plumbers, artists, musicians, teachers, and caregivers, all coming to the soup kitchen at New Prospect. Here were gifted and talented people, people with dreams, and people with things to contribute. As the interviews proceeded, the people being fed blossomed as they realized they had something to contribute. As the pastor said, “Folks were telling us, ‘We don’t want to stay over here on the receiving side of the table. We’re not just recipients. We want to cross over to your side of the table, the blessing side of the table. We want to cook and serve, too. We want to belong by contributing.”‘
More and more, the original soup kitchen recipients served the food and those who had once been servers, accepted the role of recipient. They received food and sat at the tables developing relationships with those they ate with. When everyone involved in the soup kitchen could function as a server and a recipient of the gift of food, the power once associated with being the server disappeared and real reciprocal relationships began to blossom.