Christianity, philanthropy, Volunteering

Why you should care about the fate of inner-city youth

Why you should care about the fate of inner-city youth: how is volunteering and donating to a non profit organization that serves at-risk youth going to benefit you? Find out at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com.As middle-class Americans living our day-to-day lives, it’s easy to get preoccupied with our own problems. Where are my kids going to school? How can I get that promotion at work? I need to save up to buy my own place so I’m not burning money in rent. With all these issues going on in our own lives, who has time to think about someone else’s problems?

Unfortunately, letting your own life and problems completely consume you is no way to live. There is a whole host of reasons why it’s better to let yourself care for a cause outside of your own little bubble, and today I’m sharing a few reasons why I’ve found that serving others, specifically at-risk inner city youth, can change my life for the good. 

Why you should care about the fate of inner-city youth: how is volunteering and donating to a non profit organization that serves at-risk youth going to benefit you? Find out at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com.Helping others makes me happy. 

In this post here I talk about how volunteering can bring meaning to your own life as well as perspective. Sometimes until we see someone else’s life with all their problems, it’s easy to blow our own out of proportion. You can have the right family, the right job, and the right house, and still be consumed with what you don’t have. The missing element in your life may not be more stuff, but more compassion. More perspective. More friendship. It’s definitely worth a shot. 

What kind of world will my kids face?

The world is filled with hurt people who end up hurting other people. Problems like poverty and violence exist no matter how hard we try to ignore them. Chances are the brokenness in this world will end up touching one of your kids sooner or later. While you can’t fix everything, you can make a small impact and teach your children to do the same. 

Why you should care about the fate of inner-city youth: how is volunteering and donating to a non profit organization that serves at-risk youth going to benefit you? Find out at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com.What kind of legacy am I leaving here on earth?

When you die, do you think you will be remembered for how much money you made or how many things you owned? How about for how many vacations a year you took? Would you even want to be remembered for those things? What are your kids going to remember you for? How much time you spent with them? That’s pretty good. 

How about how you had a heart of compassion for those less fortunate than you and how you sowed into the lives of inner city youth with your time and money, the two things that matter the most? That is the kind of legacy I want to leave for my kids. 

Learn all about Starfish, a charitable organization making a difference in the lives of at-risk youth in Chicago. For Christians: how am I living out the mandate of the Great Commission?

I know that many of us who live in these beautiful United States of America claim to be Christian. Is that just a belief, or do our lives bear testimony to that belief? Sometimes we need to do a little self-evaluation: am I living mainly for myself, or is helping others a priority in my life? Inner-city youth are hungry for the truth of God’s Word. There are hundreds of thousands of believers living in the city who could easily take a little time out of their lives to share the gospel with them, or donate money to organizations that do so. 

There are so many causes out there; so many excellent organizations and churches doing so much good. Ours is just one of many, but you are right here, right now, reading this. Maybe this is your time to change your life by changing someone else’s. For more information on how you can change the trajectory of an inner city youth’s life, visit starfishchicago.org


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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.

Volunteering

5 ways volunteering changes your life

5 ways volunteering changes your life: looking for a way to add meaning and direction to your existence? Consider volunteering. Find out why at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com. 1. It gives you perspective.

In the United States, we are fortunate to be blessed beyond measure, yet it seems we also complain without measure! In my life I have found that what I need is not for my circumstances to adhere to my definition of perfection, but rather for my heart to succumb to contentment. 

When you serve someone else who has a keen or obvious need, it helps you place your own life in realistic perspective. It helps you understand and believe that you are, indeed, truly blessed. Sometimes we just need to step outside of ourselves for a second and see things differently. 

Working at Starfish, I have seen many kids growing in a single parent home, with their mom and dad working several jobs, coming home really late at night. I’ve also seen beloved students watch their friends and family members die because of gun and gang violence. My life isn’t so bad. 

Donate to Starfish Chicago and change the lives of at-risk inner city youth. Looking for a way to make an impact through philanthropy? Click here to send a donation via PayPal and partner with us in creating a bright future for today's youth. 2. It makes you a compassionate person.

No matter where you are or what you are doing, compassion is essential for success in your personal and professional relationships. Empathy, the ability to see things from someone else’s point of view, will help you handle sticky situations with finesse, and lead people commanding respect. 

Serving others regularly helps to foster compassion in your own heart. You will learn to be patient with imperfect people, and understand how difficult situations can push people to act a certain way. You will learn to respond with kindness rather than disdain. 

5 ways volunteering changes your life: looking for a way to add meaning and direction to your existence? Consider volunteering. Find out why at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com. 3. It helps you refine your goals. 

If your long-term hopes and dreams do not include helping others, you are setting yourself up for unhappiness. We were designed to experience great joy in serving others. There is very limited meaning in building an empire that only brings yourself money, power, or fame. If you want to experience fulfillment, refine your goals. 

Serving others will help you realize your true passion. It may not be in the exact field you are volunteering in, but it will help you define how you want to live your life. The happiness you experience while giving to others is something you will want to continue for the rest of your life. 

I remember the first time I worked with an at-risk child. It changed my life and made me realize that this is what I wanted to spend my life doing. This is how my life can make a difference and bring me great fulfillment, simultaneously. 

4. It creates friendships. 

We always hear these stories of volunteers who came to the program intending to change lives, but it was their own life that changed. The simple joy of a child, the obvious value they place in companionship and just BEING together at the center; these are things I will never forget. 

We come seeking to give, to serve; but it is us who receive, us who learn, and us who will remember these precious people for years to come. 

5 ways volunteering changes your life: looking for a way to add meaning and direction to your existence? Consider volunteering. Find out why at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com. 5. It creates opportunities. 

Once you’ve had your eyes opened and discovered your passion, you will begin to excel in your field. Through the relationships you build with other volunteers and mentors, doors will open for you to begin to serve others in a similar capacity, but as your career. 

I met a precious young man who volunteered on our summer retreats. He loved working with and mentoring the Starfish kids so much, he realized at some point that this is what he wanted to do with his life. He understood the happiness he experienced with the kids was something he could have long term if he just prepared himself for it. Currently his course of study in college focuses on early childhood education. 

If volunteering seems like it might be a good fit for you, I encourage you to explore local agencies that serve the type of people you may be interested in serving. If you are local to the Chicago area and are interested in working with at-risk kids, email us at starfishchicago@yahoo.com, or visit our website at www.starfishchicago.org

Learn more about our after school program designed to help at-risk inner city youth in Chicago. Visit our website:starfishchicago.org.