Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Life, New Beginnings - 5 Years After Katrina

Even 5 years after Hurricane Katrina, there are still glimpses of hope coming from the wreckage. A single mom and her three kids were recently highlighted in a USA Today article. It's a great story about the family finding their way home - even if it's 5 years later.

Learn how YOU can serve homeless families through CSM!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Planting Roots of Redemption and Healing in Oakland

I love the people that call this city (Oakland) home. I have a particular love for the neighborhood togetherness I see in West Oakland. I felt pressed on my heart, to get more deeply invested. In my past, I found students understanding redemption and healing through hip hop and spoken word. Whether listening to secular or worship hip hop, the beat of the rhyme so often speaks to the soul. Seeing youth articulate what is in their soul and transcribe it to words is powerful. I decided to send some curriculum and my resume to a West Oakland public high school proposing to lead a 7 week spoken word/ lyric writing workshop. Within a day I heard back and school officials scheduled an appointment with me.
During my meeting I walked down barren hallways. I entered a main office with bars on the windows, where to my surprise I found an abundance of students but no staff. The lights were out in the room and all the kids had been sent by their teachers. I was greeted by the afterschool teacher who informed me that 70 students were showing up to their new program and were hungry, angry and aching for attention. He told me that students were so in need of nourishment that they had been breaking into first aid kits to drink bags of water kept there. I wasn't shocked by this statement until we were approached by a student. The conversation went something like this: Teacher: “ How are you doing today”
Student: “Ah, I am feeling sick”
Teacher: “ This is the third day you have been sick, did you eat something bad?
Student: “ No I haven't eaten anything”
I will be starting to teach on November 29, 2010 at 4:30 PST. Your prayers would be appreciated. Due to the lack of staff the students have been using the pro tools and garage band equipment to make rap music with violent gang threats, slandering some of the students who have gotten involved in prostitution, and boasting on Money that they don't even have. A lot of my rap stems from the redemptive nature of my Lord and savior. I hope to bring that light into the studio. I pray that I can help focus their writing and structure it to flow from concepts, not lies. I cant do it without prayer. Please aid me.
- Tara, CSM San Francisco Bay Area Associate City Director
Teacher: “This is good, these kids need it, you have one thing against you, though”
Me: “What?”
Teacher: “You’re white”

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Do you want to do something to make a difference?

If you have served with CSM before, you know that our hearts are impacted by God's words to care for others. Romans 13:10 says, "Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." 

The way that we shop, the things we listen to and watch, and the way we vote can affect some of the oppressed in the world and show them love through our every day actions.  Here's a group of people who want to see the end to modern day slavery and oppression and are working to end human trafficking.  http://www.callandresponse.com/

-Robyn Elmore, CSM Washington DC City Director

Monday, November 15, 2010

Homeless Youth in Denver

Denver has been known for many things: sunny days, mountains, professional sports, etc. But the one thing that may surprise you is that Denver is also known for their street teen population. On any given night, there are roughly 1,500 young people on the streets between the ages of 14-24. This is a huge need for the city, and one organization is opening its doors for those that are in need.
Check out this recent article
-Adrienne Lamar, CSM Denver Associate City Director

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Denver!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Filling Stomachs and Hearts in New York City

When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of family, friends, and of course, FOOD. While you are craving turkey and pumpkin pie, think about the many people who are in need of food daily. Thanksgiving is a holiday where we seek to give thanks and enjoy filling our stomachs. One of our partners here in NYC needs help making sure there aren't any empty stomachs this Thanksgiving. If you are unable to help this mission in New York, please consider how you can helping make sure the people in your surrounding community have plenty of food this holiday season!
-Tracee Henneke, CSM New York City Director

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in New York City!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Washington DC's Chasm of Wealth & Race

When you come on a CSM trip to Washington, DC, one of the first things you may notice is the strong contrast between the wealthy professional world of DC and the poverty that exists elsewhere in the city.  This divide many times plays out as a racial divide too.  This Washington post article highlights how statistically Washington, DC is now considered the most affluent and well-educated city in America, while many African-Americans in the city don't seem to benefit from this.  Life expectancy in whites is the highest in the nation (83 years), which is 12 years longer than the life expectancy for blacks in the city (71 years).  Check out more on the chasm in this article...
-Kristen Erbelding, CSM Washington DC City Director

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Washington DC!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

In this month of gratitude...

We're wondering: what you do to make a difference in the lives of your neighbors in need?
Do you donate non-perishable food to a food pantry?
Adopt a family for Thanksgiving?
Volunteer at a local soup kitchen?
Invite an elderly widow/widower or an international student over for dinner?
There are so many ways you can be Jesus' hands and feet to your neighbors this holiday season. Share your ideas to inspire others!

Learn how YOU can serve through CSM!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Washington Post Tackles Tough Issue

Did you know that 72% of African-American births are to unwed mothers?  This is a complex issue with many contributing factors, and in our culture there are a spectrum of opinions about this fact.  Here is an interesting article in the Washington Post which presents several perspectives about the complex issues surrounding unwed mothers, in particular in the African-American community...

Thursday, November 04, 2010


One of CSM Washington DC's ministry sites (Food and Friends) will be selling their amazing pies to raise funds for their program. Choose from (get ready, taste buds!)...
Apple Crumb
Sweet Potato
US Airways Sky Pie (a Creamy Cheesecake covered with a Chocolate Ganache)
In addition to a pie (or two) for yourself, you can buy a pie to be delivered to their clients on Thanksgiving Day.
Also, each pie that you purchase will provide ONE FULL DAY of nutritious, life-sustaining meals for a child or adult battling HIV/AIDS, cancer or another life-challenging illness.
Buy some pies today!
**Available in the Washington DC area only**

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Washington DC!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

November is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month!!

There are over 1 million homeless youth in the US today! This month, many organizations are trying to raise awareness and give a voice to those kids.

Here are some great resources:
Virgin Mobile - they've put together some great videos of youth telling their stories.
PR Web Article - "National Homeless Youth Awareness Month"
Colorado Dept. of Human Services - includes resources and planned events.

Many of CSM's cities have ministry partners that serve the local homeless youth population as well. Come learn more!