Second Round of Grow St. Louis! We made it!

VOTE TO GROW ST. LOUIS

 

Monsanto has a long history of providing generous support to the St. Louis region, donating approximately $9 million last year and more than $97 million since 2000. Now is your chance to vote for the St. Louis area non-profit projects you think Monsanto should support.

 

Almost 160 St. Louis area non-profits, including The Sparrow’s Nest, have submitted entries into Monsanto’s Grow St. Louis contest. Public voting will determine the top three winners of $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000 grants from Monsanto.

 

You are invited to http://www.stlgrown.com to vote for The Sparrow’s Nest: Build The Nest Project. You can vote 1 time per day from Jan. 9 through Jan. 29. 

So vote daily!

 

Our project entry is called Build The Nest. This goal of this project is to raise funds to build the future home of The Sparrow’s Nest Maternity Home. The mission of Sparrow is to provide a Christ-centered shelter and to educate homeless, pregnant, and parenting young women by providing me a wide range of services that empower to make positive, and healthy life decisions for themselves and their babies. 

 

This is an opportunity for all St. Louisans to have a voice in choosing projects they think will most help Grow St. Louis. We hope you’ll support us by voting for our entry – and spread the word to all your friends and family members to vote for us, too!

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Women and Children First

Typical scene at a local emergency room

Image via Wikipedia

There’s a billboard near my house that advertises a website to access the wait times at local emergency room. My daughter and I were driving by the sign and she asked how a waiting list at an ER would work. I explained to her the concept of triage, and how the order you were treated was usually in order of the severity of your injury or illness.

 

That conversation made me think about how we decide who to help in our lives as well. Sometimes it seems like everybody we know and their dog is in need of something. Our list of hurting people can be longer and sometimes more severe than an emergency room.

 

The Sparrow’s Nest has identified a group of hurt people who we feel can no longer be ignored. We feel we can no longer push them to the back of the line and hope they hang around to get the help they need. We’re pushing to Build The Nest for teen mothers and their precious babies. We feel this an incredibly vulnerable group of people that needs our immediate attention.

 

We have a goal of raising $100,000 by December 31, 2011. We need you to feel the urgency of this need and donate whatever you can. You can access our secure online giving site at www.thesparrowsneststl.org

I said a dirty word today

A teacher once made the mistake of telling me we all have 24 hours in a day. It’s just a matter of how we use them. I ingrained that into my DNA to mean I could use all 24 hours. As a result I have a really hard time saying no. It’s the eternal optimist in me that really believe I can have it all, be it all, do it all if given enough time. No, is a dirty word for me. 

Like right now, I’m sick in bed. I should be telling myself no but even that seems impossible. 

But today, like too many other days, I had to tell not one but two people no. 

I received 2 more phone calls today of young, pregnant girls needing a safe place to stay. 

I had to tell them “No, we aren’t open yet. No, I can’t help you. No, I don’t know of any other place in the area that can take you. No, I don’t know what to tell you.”

It breaks my heart. I know I will always have to use that word. Even when we do open, we won’t have enough space for every girl that needs a home. Some girls won’t be a healthy match for our program. 

But for the ones that do, I pray very soon we have a warm, safe, inviting place for them to stay, and figure out their next steps. 

He didn’t exactly smile when we shook hands

In fact, I was a bit intimidated by the presumably 6″4′ young black teenager I was meeting. I was in the very small kitchen of a very small house right in between Kingshighway and Martin Luthur King Dr. The walls had been patched with cardboard to keep out the cold. Five African Americans were wondering what the heck I was doing there. Not exactly where you would normally find a tall, very white, very middle class woman in her minivan.

I figured out pretty quickly why he was upset. His girlfriend had to leave St.Louis because she didn’t have a safe place to stay. She was pregnant with his baby. I was taking her to Springfield to a new maternity home that had space for her. He had never been out of St. Louis. There wasn’t a shelter in St. Louis that had space for her. To him, I might as well have been taking her to the edge of the world.

He started drilling me with a million questions at once.

Will she be able to come back to St. Louis?

Will they let the daddy of the baby come see her? That’s me.

What is this place again?

We want to get married. Can we still do that?

Can we call each other?

Our baby shower is in March. Can we still have it then?

Will they give her food and take care of her? She hasn’t really had no heat or hot water in awhile.

She don’t have a lot of money. Does it cost?

I want to take care of both of them right now but you know, I can’t just yet.

When he figured out I was very much on their side and was there to help, this hard, young man from very rough background softened before me as he turned to say goodbye to his girlfriend. I left them alone and headed to the driver’s side but caught a glimpse of something so tender in the rear view mirror. I saw this intimidating young man carefully  bend down to take his tiny girlfriend into his arms while they stood shivering in the cold. I saw him start tearing up as he tried one more time to get her stay, and for her to tell him this was what they had to do right now. As we drove away, I saw him grab his cell, and then I heard her cell phone ring as he called to tell her he would try to talk to her everyday and that he was going to find where the nearest bus station was.

I was so happy to be able to finally help one of the girls that I keep getting phone calls for. Here was a maternity home that had just opened up its first phase and they actually had space for this young lady. But I have to admit it broke my heart to take this young woman far away from everything she had ever known. Sometimes that’s a good thing. But sometimes, when you actually see a young man wanting to be a good daddy, well, you have to wonder how it’s going to work when his girlfriend is so far away.

It was just one more reason to keep pushing towards getting The Sparrow’s Nest opened. We are blessed to be able to have maternity homes in Missouri who want to work together for these babies and their young mamas. But do we really have to send one of our own away? Shouldn’t we try to keep these young families together and mentor everyone involved around this precious little baby?

“No room in the Inn” takes on another meaning

This has been a heart breaking week so far for The Sparrow’s Nest.

I’ve had numerous calls from young girls who were pregnant or parenting sweet little babies and had no place to go. I had another call from a caseworker still looking for a safe place for his 16 year old client and her 4 month old baby. I looked into the eye of a mother of 13 year old girl who has struggled for months with so many self destructive behaviors. The family just needed a moment of peace.

However, the stark reality is the 3-4 teen shelters in the entire St. Louis metro are full. They’ve started waiting lists again. “No room in the Inn” has taken on another meaning during this holiday season. We’ve started referring girls out of the area. Some are willing to leave what they know. Others can’t imagine being away from their familiar surroundings during this hard time in their lives. Things look pretty bleak.

But, you are hope. And you can make space for even more hope.

Your prayers can help bring light to these dark places.

Your creativity can bring answers to these problems.

Your generosity can help Build The Nest

for a safe and secure place for these innocent babies and their young mothers.

We need champions who will give sacrificially for such a time as this. Please donate whatever you can, $1, $10, $20, $100.

Let’s make space for hope together.

infant

http://www.thesparrowsneststl.org

You’ve got a freakin’ gold mine!

The average household has $90 in change laying around

We hear a lot of people telling us that they really can’t afford to donate much to The Sparrow’s Nest right now. Times are tough. And believe me. We get that! It’s kinda the reason we’re coming into existence. However, Coinstar® reminds us that there is forgotten money hiding in our homes.  The average American household has a coin stash of  about $90 just waiting to be put to good use. Like helping the fund a home for teens and their precious little babies.

So if you thought you couldn’t give anything, or first thought at most you could only give $25 or so start looking around your house.

To mine for money in your house, follow these steps from the Live on Cash Blog:

  1. Prospect in the most obvious spots first:  pants pockets, handbags, backpacks, coat pockets, etc.
  2. Look for “piggy” and other types of coin banks.  Half of American families keep change in a coin bank of some type.
  3. Check behind chests-of-drawers and cabinets, under beds, refrigerators, dressers, and nightstands, any place where coins might end up after falling on the floor.  28% of the time you will find coins in random locations such as these.
  4. Search out cups, mugs, jars, and other containers.  71% of Americans keep their coins in receptacles of some type.
  5. Explore beneath the cushions and in the cracks of upholstered furniture.  There is a 1 in 5 chance you will find coins there.
  6. Hunt through your washer and dryer.  36% of coins have been “laundered”.
  7. Rummage through drawers.  A third of American families keep coins in drawers.
  8. Comb through your car, especially the glove compartment, under the seats, the cracks within and between seats, and under floor mats.

You don’t even need to count it. Put your stash in a coffee can, a ziploc bag, or chinese food container. We’ll take it to the bank and then issue you a tax-ductible receipt.

And you thought you couldn’t afford to donate to The Sparrow’s Nest this year.:)

After you go on your coin scavenger hunt, let us know the most unusual place you found money. What was the highest amount you found?

Happy Mining!

Come to Journey to Bethlehem with us!

We know a little about going on a journey. We also know a little bit about young, scared, single pregnant young women. In that spirit we want to invite you to join us for Harvester Christian’s Journey to Bethleham. It’s the 20th anniversary of this free, spectacular outside experience of the birth of Christ. They’ve added an extra night this year. Let’s gather our families together for this fun event onWednesday, December 7. Dress warm and in layers and meet up by Harvesters church offices at 6 p.m. so we can get in line together and go on a Journey to Bethlehem.