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5 ways we’re reaching this fatherless generation´╗┐

5 ways we're reaching this fatherless generation: too many kids today grow up without a dad, and it's creating a culture of crime and poverty. What can be done to combat this epidemic? Find out at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com. It’s no secret that kids growing up without a dad are at a distinct disadvantage. In a study cited by fatherhoodfactor.com, individuals from father-absent homes were found to be 279% more likely to carry guns and deal drugs than peers living with their fathers. The presence of a dad is necessary for complete emotional development. Females need the security provided by their dad to properly navigate future male relationships. 

23.6% of children lived in father-absent homes in 2014 (fatherhoodfactor.com). If this many kids are living in such a way where their needs are not being met, how does this bode for our society? How can we expect a bright future for our culture, when the very foundation, our children, is almost 25% weakened?

5 ways we're reaching this fatherless generation: too many kids today grow up without a dad, and it's creating a culture of crime and poverty. What can be done to combat this epidemic? Find out at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com. Starfish Learning Center, a Christian non-profit organization in the inner city of Chicago, has been dedicated to reaching at-risk youth, many of whom are without a dad. Here are five ways we’re reaching this fatherless generation:

1.  Consistent male presence after school

Starfish is led by our male program director and our male executive director. Either one or the other are always present during our program hours. Having the same staff consistently available to speak into the lives of our kids grounds them in a way that is essential. In a transient world filled with fleeting friendships and broken family relationships, consistency is key. 

5 ways we're reaching this fatherless generation: too many kids today grow up without a dad, and it's creating a culture of crime and poverty. What can be done to combat this epidemic? Find out at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com. 2. Biblical teaching/mentoring

One of the deepest needs every child has is to grow in understanding of God’s Word. This is especially true of kids who come from a broken home and need the truth of God to repair and guide their lives. At Starfish we apply the Word of God to real-life scenarios in a regular setting during Bible study time. We teach the ways of God in a way that transforms broken thinking and patterns into a way of living that is fruitful and wholesome. 

5 ways we're reaching this fatherless generation: too many kids today grow up without a dad, and it's creating a culture of crime and poverty. What can be done to combat this epidemic? Find out at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com. 3. Educational support

Kids that come from broken homes are at risk for poor performance at school. Lack of support from home combined with the stress of a less-than-ideal home life threaten a child’s ability to succeed academically. At Starfish we make up for the lack by providing tutoring and resources to help our kids excel in school. Monitoring grades and report cards has shown that our students are excelling beyond their classmates. 

4. Partnerships with other organizations 

Students in our organization not only are impacted by our stellar group of staff and volunteers, but Starfish partners with other organizations like Grip and First Lutheran of Charlotte. Developing friendships with healthy and mature peers and adults helps to reinforce the positive teaching and mentoring that takes place during our program. Our kids are affirmed, challenged, and inspired to live according to God’s best for them. 

5 ways we're reaching this fatherless generation: too many kids today grow up without a dad, and it's creating a culture of crime and poverty. What can be done to combat this epidemic? Find out at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com.

5. Stable environment 

For many youth, their home situation is in a constant state of flux. They never know where or with whom they will be living with, and relationships are constantly changing. Starfish has been a permanent fixture in the neighborhood for twenty years. Our steady presence has been a consistent haven for over 1,000 women, children, and teenagers in crisis. Our kids can trust us and count on us to be there when times are good, and when times are rough. 

We can’t change the statistics or prevent families from being torn apart; we can only pray. However, God has called us to be a haven and a resource for the fatherless, pointing the way to Jesus and to wholeness. Our mission is to love, mentor, and educate at-risk youth in Chicago. We’ve done it for twenty years, and, Lord willing, we will continue for much more. 

If you want to become part of the solution, if you have a heart for reaching this fatherless generation, we would love to connect with you! Visit here to find out all the ways you can get involved. 

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10 small things you can do to change the world

10 small things you can do to change the world: find the list at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com.

1. Be kind to those that are rude to you

Our knee-jerk reaction when we are treated unfairly by others is to respond in kind. We are instantly offended. Unfortunately, this response doesn’t benefit anyone. There is pain and suffering in the world, but we don’t have to let it touch us, and we don’t have to be perpetrators. 

When we are meek and gentle with those who are rude to us, we help to interrupt their pattern of abuse AND we set ourselves on the pattern of greatness. Taking offense for petty things will destroy you, not build you up. 

2. Be thankful for your blessings rather than complain about your trials

In the good ‘ol USA we are spoiled by wealth and comfort. Unfortunately, this has done nothing to increase our gratitude, but rather lends us an air of entitlement. Not only is that ugly, but it keeps us from happiness! If we focus on the positive and keep the negative in proper perspective, we can influence others for good. 

10 small things you can do to change the world: find the list at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com.3. Share your triumphs to help others

Do you have a weight-loss story or were you miraculously set free from addiction to drugs and alcohol? Share your story! There are so many others struggling with the things you have triumphed over. Even if your journey isn’t finished, telling it to others, whether in person, through a book, or social media, can make a difference in someone’s life. 

4. Volunteer at a local charity

It may not seem like much, but if everyone would volunteer just a few hours a month even, the impact we could make on the needy in our community is staggering. If you are local to the Chicago area, consider volunteering at Starfish Learning Center, where we provide tutoring and other services to at-risk youth. If you are interested, contact us here or visit starfishchicago.org for more details. 

5. Consider the impact of small decisions 

Every day you are contributing to something. It could be garbage to a landfill, emissions to the atmosphere, or pounds to your waistline. If you take the bus instead of your car, you lessen your negative impact. If everyone made small decisions for the better of society, our world would look significantly different in the next twenty years or so. 

6. Give what you can to the needy

Even if it’s just a small amount, it’s the habit that counts, especially when people are watching you. Are you afraid to share what you have because you think you won’t have enough? God provides supernaturally for those who are generous. Whether it’s a buck to the homeless person on the street, or a small one-time donation to Starfish Learning Center to help at-risk youth, your sacrifice makes a difference in their lives and yours. 

7. Choose a career that directly helps others

When you’re deciding on a career, obviously you don’t just want to choose the biggest moneymaker. You also want to pick something that will bring you fulfillment, especially since it is likely you are going to spend a lot of time on this activity. Meeting the needs of other people is one of the most satisfying things you can do. Sure, people aren’t always easy to get along with, but particularly if you are making a big difference in someone’s life, your work can really be worth it. Deciding to work for Starfish was one of the best decisions of my life. Seeing the impact I make on inner city youth has been extremely rewarding. 

10 small things you can do to change the world: find the list at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com.8. Reach out to your neighbors

It’s so easy to live closed-off in fear, not approaching the people we brush against every day. However, it’s a huge investment to reach out and build a relationship. It’s best to do this the first time you move in or start a job. Bring over some homemade cookies, or pay them a compliment. Let them know they can trust you. It works in your favor, in case you ever need them to be favorably-disposed towards you, but also, this world  needs more friends and fewer neighbors who ignore each other. 

9. Thank the people who help you

People help you every day, at the grocery store, online, on the phone, in your house. Don’t forget to thank them. It brings a little sunshine to their day, helps them treat you favorably, and it helps craft in you a heart of gratitude. It doesn’t take that long, and it’s definitely worth it. 


10 small things you can do to change the world: find the list at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com.10. Raise children to be kind

The greatest impact most of us will have is through our children. You are crafting the kind of people they will be and how they will treat others. If you model to them that it’s okay to be impatient and rude, you are sowing into the world a crop of inconsiderate people. If you teach your kids to serve others selflessly with joy, they will each impact many for good. It’s not just how they interact in your household, it’s how they will interact when they leave your home and interface with others. Train them to be kind. 

It’s easy to think that one person can’t make a big difference in the world, but your choices impact you and the people around you. Choose wisely and selflessly, and you can change the world, even if it’s in a small way. 

Uncategorized, Volunteering

A day in the life of an at-risk youth

A day in the life of an at-risk youth: the story of today's inner city kids. Learn how you can help change their future. Read it at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com.

“Chris” gets up early for school like any other kid. If he’s lucky he’ll grab a sugary breakfast on his way out the door. He’s excited to see his friends, but a little apprehensive about facing his teacher. He didn’t understand his math assignment, but as his mom works late, she couldn’t help him. She doesn’t understand the stuff anyways. 

On his way to school, Chris crosses the street even though it’s out of his way, because the kids sitting on the corner are part of a local gang, and he doesn’t want any trouble. He gets to class on time and sits in his chair. His mind wanders as his teacher talks, thinking about his dad, who’s in prison for beating his mom. He misses him. 

A day in the life of an at-risk youth: the story of today's inner city kids. Learn how you can help change their future. Read it at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com. During lunch there’s a hushed buzz around school as his friends discuss a former classmate, Johnny. Johnny was walking to the store yesterday when he a bullet caught him in the back. He didn’t make it. Johnny was in two of his classes. He also wasn’t Chris’ first friend to die prematurely. 

Chris is starting to understand math a little more. He stays after school to get extra help, but it’s only an hour, and there are so many students and so few tutors. He’s really smart and just needs a little help, but finding motivation is difficult. His classmates are in the same boat as him. Their parents work late, many never graduated from high school, had children young, and either live off welfare or a minimum-wage job. 

A day in the life of an at-risk youth: the story of today's inner city kids. Learn how you can help change their future. Read it at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com. As Chris heads home, he ducks his head low. It’s not quite spring yet, so it gets dark early. The worst times to be alone on the street are after dark and summer. He’s hungry, but his mom doesn’t cook until she gets off work at ten. Maybe there’ll be some chips in the cupboard. 

The doorman nods at Chris as he lets him in the building. Chris keeps his eyes down as he doesn’t want to interrupt any drug deals going on in his building. He lets himself in his room and gets right to his homework, as he is a good kid. He hears gunshots outside, and exhales softly, glad he didn’t hang out at the store today. Payday isn’t until tomorrow, so his mom didn’t have extra cash anyway. 

Chris is hungry so he takes a snack break. There are some Flaming Hot Cheetos in the cupboard, so he munches as he wrestles with math, enjoying the quiet even though it’s a little lonely. When he’s done he texts his friends and plays video games. 

His mom comes home a little after ten, and starts yelling at him immediately, despite his assurances that he did his homework. “Why are your grades so bad, then? Are you just dumb?” She hopes her verbal tirade will motivate him to do better, so he can have a better life than hers. 

Why we need after school programs InfoGraphic. Nonprofit. But Chris needs more than motivation. Chris needs homework help. Chris needs a mentor. Chris needs a safe place to hang out after school. He needs nutritious snacks. Chris needs an after school program! Unfortunately, so do all the other kids in the neighborhood! There are a few programs, but just so many kids. 

Donate to Starfish Learning Center today to support our youth program and at-risk inner city kids. Starfish Learning Center is one of these programs. Starfish has been supporting at-risk youth in the inner city of Chicago for twenty years! But Starfish needs people with a passion for helping kids, people like you who can really change the future of these youth. Starfish needs to grow our program so we can include more youth, but we need volunteers, and we need financial support! If you’re able to partner with us financially, even a small donation can make a difference! Donate here. If you’re local to the Chicago area and you want to volunteer, visit our website at starfishchicago.org, or contact us here. Together we can change the future of today’s youth!

A day in the life of an at-risk youth: the story of today's inner city kids. Learn how you can help change their future. Read it at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com.