philanthropy

5 ways your donation impacts at-risk youth

5 ways your donation impacts at-risk youth: if you're looking for charitable organizations to contribute financially to, Starfish makes a difference in the lives of inner city youth. Discover all the ways we impact lives at starfishchicago.org.

If you’ve been following our blog, you know that today’s inner city youth are in desperate need of a safe place to go after school where they can be tutored, mentored, and nourished. Our after school program has been providing that for twenty years. There are several ways to partner with us to make a difference in the lives of at-risk youth: you can spread the word about Starfish by word of mouth and social media, you can volunteer a special skill or tutor during our program, you can donate items that our program can use, or you can give financially to support Starfish. 

If you decide that Starfish is an organization you want to sow into by donating financially, you can be sure that your gift will have major direct impact on the lives of at-risk inner city youth. Here are some of the ways partnering with us financially can make a difference:

1. Our kids have a safe place to go after school

If you read our post A Day in the Life of an At-Risk Youth, you can see what kind of challenges inner-city minority children are up against. Many have parents who are unable to provide childcare after school, thus the kids are free to roam the dangerous streets and mix with the wrong crowd. The absence of a nurturing adult presence during those crucial hours contributes heavily to the future of these kids. 

Starfish has been consistently providing programming after school for the youth of our neighborhood for twenty years. This service is made possible by the generous donation of individuals like you. Even the small donations add up and provide for our kids. 

5 ways your donation impacts at-risk youth: if you're looking for charitable organizations to contribute financially to, Starfish makes a difference in the lives of inner city youth. Discover all the ways we impact lives at starfishchicago.org. 2. We are able to purchase updated equipment to help our kids academically

Kids need items like computers, printers, office supplies, and school project supplies to successfully complete their school assignments. Parents can’t always afford these supplies. Many of our students do not even have a computer or printer at home. Without these tools, excelling academically is a serious challenge. Starfish is thankful for our donors who partner with us to make these essentials available to our kids. 

Learn all about Starfish, a charitable organization making a difference in the lives of at-risk youth in Chicago. 3. We are able to provide nutritious snacks during the program

If you read this article here, you see that inner city youth don’t always have the resources or understanding about nutrition to make food choices that are good for them. Some of them are lucky even to have unhealthy snacks. At Starfish we serve nutritious snacks twice daily during our program. These snacks are made possible by donations from people like you. 

4. Our kids can enjoy activities like arts and crafts and cooking classes

Starfish doesn’t just provide tutoring to our kids. We want to teach them life skills and hand them the tools to soar in life. Our goal is to teach them to be productive members of society, nurturing wholesome hobbies and skills that keep them focused when the distractions of living in the inner city pull them towards destructive relationships and habits. We have several programs that do just that, but these programs cost money! We need to buy arts and crafts supplies and food and cooking tools. We need volunteers and paid staff to teach and train them. Your financial gift helps us do just that. 

5 ways your donation impacts at-risk youth: if you're looking for charitable organizations to contribute financially to, Starfish makes a difference in the lives of inner city youth. Discover all the ways we impact lives at starfishchicago.org. 5. Students can enjoy educational and recreational outings 

Several of our kids spend most of their lives in the bubble of their neighborhood. We want them to see that their is a broader world out there, filled with opportunities and healthy relationships. Starfish provides outings to museums, sports and recreational facilities, churches, food pantries and homeless shelters, and much more! Our kids have the chance to explore Chicago as well as other nearby states during our yearly retreat. Your donation helps cover the cost of these events, and broadens the horizon for at-risk youth. 

Now that you can see specifically how your donation impacts our youth, consider giving to our program today. All donations are tax-deductible. Follow us on social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for regular updates as to the activities and developments of our program. 

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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. 

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.