Activities

Using extravagant love to transform the lives of youth´╗┐

Using extravagant love to transform the lives of inner city youth: how we reach inner city youth with these at-risk youth activities that are changing lives. Read about it at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com. Every year we take our kids on a summer retreat to Michigan. This year we started off our retreat with two nights at Great Wolf Lodge, an exciting water resort. The kids will also experience fun and unique activities at the ranch house including an arcade, a swimming pool, a pantry stocked with snacks and candy, a giant playground, golf carts, bikes and electric scooters, and more. 

On past trips we’ve taken the kids to Mackinac Island, to the Creation Museum, to play laser tag, to the movies, and more. On this trip we plan to take the kids to see an Amish farm, a baseball game, a children’s museum, and Barnes and Noble where we plan to buy them each books. 

Using extravagant love to transform the lives of inner city youth: how we reach inner city youth with these at-risk youth activities that are changing lives. Read about it at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com. A lot of our activities are educational, but most of them are just fun stuff that they wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience otherwise. Our kids grow up in the inner city of Chicago, surrounded by drug use, gang violence, and the cycle of interrupted education. 

We make it our goal to not only provide them with educational experiences, but  also with entertaining, multi-cultural activities that they will remember for the rest of their lives. We want our kids to know that they are loved, they are valued, and that we enjoy spending time with them. 

Using extravagant love to transform the lives of inner city youth: how we reach inner city youth with these at-risk youth activities that are changing lives. Read about it at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com. Why is that important? In this post here we talk about the epidemic of fatherlessness and how our program aims to combat some of its effects. Our kids desperately need both a broader experience of the world, outside of their sometimes toxic environment, and they need to feel secure in both the parental and friend-type relationships an extended outing experience like our summer retreat provides. 

If you are interested in supporting our program so that we can provide more of these experiences to at-risk youth in Chicago, you can donate at PayPal.me/starfishchicago. Make a note that it is for our Outings and Events Program. Together we can transform the hearts and minds of the inner city youth of Chicago. 

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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.