7 Things Kids Need To See Their Mom Doing

courtesy of Howdoesshe

From the moment that you hold your first perfect, wrinkly baby in your arms, the universe shifts and the title "Mom" is placed on your head like a very heavy crown.  Being a mom is a profound responsibility, not for the faint of heart.  Here are seven things that all children would benefit from seeing their mom doing.

1. Expressing Love

There is too much hostility in the world, too much apathy and too much neglect. A mom has the gentle power to infuse her child with love and security, all with a simple hug, kiss, or soothing words. 

So often I hear from my 2-year-old, "Hold you?"  Usually when I'm right in the middle of something.  My "In-a-minutes" add up until I've completely lost the opportunity to love my child.  Chores can wait, but kids won't.  They will grow up and move on.  No child was ever harmed by a mother who expressed too much love.

2. Doing What They Love

As a child, I remember perching myself up at the kitchen table, gazing star-struck at my mom who was speedily sewing me a new Easter dress.  To me, she was amazing, her abilities endless; I wanted to be just like her. 

Becoming a mom can consume our time to the point where we stop doing the things we once loved.  Please don't!  Playing the piano, painting, singing...the creative outlets are endless.  If you want your children to be passionate, creative little people, then they need to see you doing the things that you love to do.  Your example is powerful and you will be a star in their eyes.

3. Being a Cheerleader

Thankfully, this doesn't mean squeezing into a short skirt and exposing your midriff.  But it does mean waving those metaphorical pom-poms whenever you get the chance.  

Kids need to know that their mom is their number one fan.  At soccer games, dance recitals, spelling bees, when kids see their moms on the first row, cheering them on, they may put up that, "I'm so embarrassed" front, but inside, they are ecstatic, relieved, and assured that mom's got their back.  And that is nice to know.

4. Going With Your Gut

Moms are blessed with a strong intuition when it comes to making decisions for the family.  Call it mama-bear instinct, but kids need to see mom making tough decisions based on her gut feelings, and standing by those intuitions. 

Don't feel right about a sleepover?  Make sure your child knows that the reason you said "No" was based on your instinct, and not your desire to be a "mean mom." 


5. Loving Their Bodies

Women are far more sensitive about their body image than men, and moms who are constantly degrading their figures are teaching children the misconception that bodies should be perfect.  When your son or daughter sees you scrutinizing yourself in the mirror and vocalizing negativities about your body, they will internalize that. 

Instead, love your body for what it can do...lifting your child on the playground, wrapping your arms around them in a tight hug.  Your confidence and example can teach both sons and daughters to be comfortable in the skin they are in.

6. Praying for Them

Kids should know that we think about them constantly.  We worry about their safety, we hope for their success, and we yearn for their happiness. 

It is more than okay to let children see you praying for them, to let them hear your concerns and your hopes for them.  Pouring your heart out will help them see just a glimpse of your infinite love for them.

7. Letting Loose

Yes, being a mom is a huge responsibility.  There is always something to clean, something to fix, some errand that needs to be run.  But sometimes we get way too caught up in the duties of motherhood that we forget to have fun in the process.  Kids desperately need to see their moms letting loose, laughing, and having some fun.  Chores can wait, but the opportunities to play dress-up or Twister are fleeting.  Grab ahold of them!  After all, dads shouldn't be the only ones to have fun.

Posted on June 28, 2015 .

7 Smart Ways To Deal With Toxic People

courtesy of Healthy Living How To

Surviving the ups, downs, and lightning storms of other people’s moodiness can be quite a challenge.  It’s important, though, to remember that some moody, negative people may be going through a difficult stage in their lives.  They may be ill, chronically worried, or lacking what they need in terms of love and emotional support.  Such people need to be listened to, supported, and cared for (although whatever the cause of their moodiness and negativity, you may still need to protect yourself from their behavior at times).

Don’t let toxic people rent space in your head. Raise the rent and get them out of there.

But there’s another type of moody, negative behavior: that of the toxic bully, who will use his or her mood swings to intimidate and manipulate.  It’s this aspect of moodiness that inflicts enduring abuse and misery.  If you observe these people closely, you will notice that their attitude is overly self-referential.  Their relationships are prioritized according to how each one can be used to meet their selfish needs.  This is the kind of toxic behavior I want to look at in this post.

I’m a firm believer that toxic mood swings (like chain letter emails) should not be inflicted on one person by another, under any circumstances.  So how can you best manage the fallout from other people’s relentless toxicity?

1.  Move on without them.

If you know someone who insists on destructively dictating the emotional atmosphere, then be clear: they are toxic.  If you are suffering because of their attitude, and your compassion, patience, advice, and general attentiveness doesn’t seem to help them, and they don’t seem to care one bit, then ask yourself, “Do I need this person in my life?”

When you delete toxic people from your environment it becomes a lot easier to breathe.  If the circumstances warrant it, leave these people behind and move on when you must.  Seriously, be strong and know when enough is enough!  Letting go of toxic people doesn’t mean you hate them, or that you wish them harm; it simply means you care about your own well-being.

A healthy relationship is reciprocal; it should be give and take, but not in the sense that you’re always giving and they’re always taking.  If you must keep a truly toxic person in your life for whatever reason, then consider the remaining points…

2.  Stop pretending their toxic behavior is OK.

If you’re not careful, toxic people can use their moody behavior to get preferential treatment, because… well… it just seems easier to quiet them down than to listen to their grouchy rhetoric.  Don’t be fooled.  Short-term ease equals long-term pain for you in a situation like this.  Toxic people don’t change if they are being rewarded for not changing.  Decide this minute not to be influenced by their behavior.  Stop tiptoeing around them or making special pardons for their continued belligerence.

Constant drama and negativity is never worth putting up with.  If someone over the age 21 can’t be a reasonable, reliable adult on a regular basis, it’s time to…

3.  Speak up!

Stand up for yourself.  Some people will do anything for their own personal gain at the expense of others – cut in line, take money and property, bully and belittle, pass guilt, etc.  Do not accept this behavior.  Most of these people know they’re doing the wrong thing and will back down surprisingly quickly when confronted.  In most social settings people tend to keep quiet until one person speaks up, so SPEAK UP.

Some toxic people may use anger as a way of influencing you, or they may not respond to you when you’re trying to communicate, or interrupt you and suddenly start speaking negatively about something dear to you.  If ever you dare to speak up and respond adversely to their moody behavior, they may be surprised, or even outraged, that you’ve trespassed onto their behavioral territory.  But you must speak up anyway.

Not mentioning someone’s toxic behavior can become the principal reason for being sucked into their mind games.  Challenging this kind of behavior upfront, on the other hand, will sometimes get them to realize the negative impact of their behavior.  For instance, you might say:

  • “I’ve noticed you seem angry.  Is something upsetting you?”
  • “I think you look bored.  Do you think what I’m saying is unimportant?”
  • “Your attitude is upsetting me right now.  Is this what you want?”

Direct statements like these can be disarming if someone truly does use their moody attitude as a means of social manipulation, and these statements can also open a door of opportunity for you to try to help them if they are genuinely facing a serious problem.

Even if they say: “What do you mean?” and deny it, at least you’ve made them aware that their attitude has become a known issue to someone else, rather than just a personal tool they can use to manipulate others whenever they want. (Read Emotional Blackmail.)

And if they persist in denial, it might be time to…

4.  Put your foot down.

Your dignity may be attacked, ravaged and disgracefully mocked, but it can never be taken away unless you willingly surrender it.  It’s all about finding the strength to defend your boundaries.

Demonstrate that you won’t be insulted or belittled.  To be honest, I’ve never had much luck trying to call truly toxic people (the worst of the worst) out when they’ve continuously insulted me.  The best response I’ve received is a snarky, “I’m sorry you took what I said so personally.”  Much more effective has been ending conversations with sickening sweetness or just plain abruptness.  The message is clear:  There is no reward for subtle digs and no games will be played at your end.

Truly toxic people will pollute everyone around them, including you if you allow them.  If you’ve tried reasoning with them and they aren’t budging, don’t hesitate to vacate their space and ignore them until they do.

5.  Don’t take their toxic behavior personally.

It’s them, not you.  KNOW this.

Toxic people will likely try to imply that somehow you’ve done something wrong.  And because the “feeling guilty” button is quite large on many of us, even the implication that we might have done something wrong can hurt our confidence and unsettle our resolve.  Don’t let this happen to you.

Remember, there is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.  Most toxic people behave negatively not just to you, but to everyone they interact with.  Even when the situation seems personal – even if you feel directly insulted – it usually has nothing to do with you.  What they say and do, and the opinions they have, are based entirely on their own self-reflection.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

6.  Practice practical compassion.

Sometimes it makes sense to be sympathetic with toxic people whom you know are going through a difficult time, or those who are suffering from an illness.  There’s no question about it, some toxic people are genuinely distressed, depressed, or even mentally and physically ill, but you still need to separate their legitimate issues from how they behave toward you.  If you let people get away with anything because they are distressed, facing a medical condition, or depressed, even, then you are making it too tempting for them to start unconsciously using their unfortunate circumstance as a means to an end.

Several years ago, I volunteered at a psychiatric hospital for children.  I mentored a boy there named Dennis, a diagnosed Bipolar disorder patient.  Dennis was a handful sometimes, and would often shout obscenities at others when he experienced one of his episodes.  But no one ever challenged his outbursts, and neither had I up to this point.  After all, he’s clinically “crazy” and can’t help it, right?

One day I took Dennis to a local park to play catch.  An hour into our little field trip, Dennis entered one of his episodes and began calling me profane names.  But instead of ignoring his remarks, I said, “Stop bullying me and calling me names.  I know you’re a nice person, and much better than that.”  His jaw literally dropped.  Dennis looked stunned, and then, in a matter of seconds, he collected himself and replied, “I’m sorry I was mean Mr. Marc.”

The lesson here is that you can’t “help” someone by making unwarranted pardons for everything they do simply because they have problems.  There are plenty of people who are going through extreme hardships who are not toxic to everyone around them.  We can only act with genuine compassion when we set boundaries.  Making too many pardons and allowances is not healthy or practical for anyone in the long-term.  (Read Who’s Pulling Your Strings?)

7.  Take time for yourself.

If you are forced to live or work with a toxic person, then make sure you get enough alone time to relax, rest, and recuperate.  Having to play the role of a “focused, rational adult” in the face of toxic moodiness can be exhausting, and if you’re not careful, the toxicity can infect you.  Again, understand that even people with legitimate problems and clinical illnesses can still comprehend that you have needs as well, which means you can politely excuse yourself when you need to.

You deserve this time away.  You deserve to think peacefully, free from external pressure and toxic behavior.  No problems to solve, boundaries to uphold, or personalities to please.  Sometimes you need to make time for yourself, away from the busy world you live in that doesn’t make time for you.

Posted on June 28, 2015 .

Great ideas for indoor activities

When my family moved from snowy Massachusetts to sunny Austin, Texas, I breathed a sigh of relief. No more cold, wet days cooped up indoors with a restless toddler. I'd just open the back door, pour a Texas-sized glass of iced tea, and watch my daughter frolic in the sun. As luck would have it, we were hit with a freezing winter (yes, it actually snowed) and the rainiest summer in the history of Austin. Needless to say, it forced me to get pretty creative in terms of entertaining a young child. I can't take full credit -- some crafty moms and dads added their share of ideas too. Below is a roster of activities to delight toddlers and preschoolers. All you need are a few simple, inexpensive supplies.

Marshmallow Tinkertoys

A bag of marshmallows and some thin pretzel sticks are all you need to build the perfect puffy pal, a 3-D house, or tepee. Your child simply skewers the marshmallows with the sticks to create his own masterpiece. Add to the fun by placing toy pigs or other animals in the house and challenging your child to be the big bad wolf and blow it down.

Family-Photo Bingo

Improve your child's memory and help him learn who's who in your family tree with this photo game. Take nine family photos and arrange them into rows of three, then give your child nine playing cards or checkers pieces to serve as bingo chips. When someone calls out "Daddy" or "Grandma," your toddler covers the photo with the card. Whoever gets three in a row wins.

Sugar-Cookie Pizzas

Even the most domestically challenged chef can pull off this sweet and simple project. Slice several thick cookies from a roll of refrigerated sugar-cookie dough. Gently flatten them a bit on a cookie sheet to widen them, bake, and cool for about 10 minutes. Next, your little Mario Batalis can decorate their pies with strawberry jam or red icing for sauce, shredded coconut for cheese, and red M&M's for pepperoni.

Grandparent Greetings

Haul out the craft supplies and set up a home Hallmark business. First your toddler creates the card with stickers, glitter, cut-out magazine photos, or whatever else he likes. Then you ask him what he wants to say to the recipient, and you write it inside. (I once received one of these from my then 2-year-old nephew that said, "Dear Aunt Isadora, I like to bite my piggy toy. Love, Jared." That was one card I never tossed.) The icing on the cake? When the weather clears up, let your child stamp the envelope and slide it into a nearby mailbox.

Signature Storytelling

This is a trick I use at bedtime to give new life to old stories. Start reading one of your child's favorite books. When you get to a critical point in the action, challenge him to take charge of the tale and add his own twist. For example, if you're reading Cinderella and the mean stepsisters have torn up her dress, ask your child, "What would you do if someone did that to you? Should Cinderella just run away and cry, or should she do something else?" It teaches kids to think on their toes.

Create a Sensory Table

Remember the slimy thrill of sifting your hands through a bucket of ersatz eyeballs (aka peeled grapes) at the local haunted house? This activity offers the same thrills without the nightmares. Fill a series of bowls or washing basins full of textured objects -- peeled grapes are still a good choice, as is cold cooked spaghetti, steel-wool pads, cornstarch, or dry beans. Blindfold your child, have him sift his hands through, and describe what he feels. Then challenge him to guess the object.

Bowl-a-rama

Small, empty water bottles and a rubber ball are all you need to transform the family room into a bowling alley -- sans silly shoes, of course. Six bottles should suffice for bowling pins; if the bottles fall over too easily, fill them up with a little water or dry pasta for some extra weight.

Disco Down

Disco has been dead and resurrected so many times, I'm not sure if it's in or out anymore. But I do know that young kids love to dance to it, even if they think that "Bee Gees" is some sort of sugary snack you've been denying them. Dim the lights, close the blinds, hand each child a flashlight (for the full disco effect) and a small scarf to twirl around. Cue up some classic tunes like "Dancing Queen," by ABBA, and "I Will Survive," by Gloria Gaynor, and watch the disco magic unfold.

Barbie Beach Party

Grab a collection of bikini-clad Barbies, beach towels (wash cloths), sunscreen (baby lotion), and perhaps a yacht or two (some Tupperware), and head for some fun in the tub. Hint: most Barbies really dig the diving board (faucet). My daughter's opinion: Sunglasses and a tropical beverage (iced juice in a sippy cup) make the experience tantamount to a holiday in St. Tropez.

Mini Car Wash

Gather up your child's fleet of cars, trucks, and spaceships for a detailing job that'll put your local garage to shame. Load them all into the tub and give them a cleaning with plant sprayers and empty squeeze bottles.

Pirate Play

Somehow, Pirates of the Caribbean fever has trickled its way down to the toddler set. Doing anything even remotely pirate-like sends many into paroxysms of joy, so give this treasure hunt a try. Wrap a bunch of wooden blocks in aluminum foil, and hide them around the house (don't get too clever -- remember whom you're dealing with). Give each child a flashlight and a small paper bag, and challenge them to find the buried silver.

Masking-Tape Marvels

Who would have thought that a humble roll of masking tape could provide so much fun? Make a hopscotch pattern or mock balance beam on the living room floor. Or have your child color pieces of tape with markers and use them to "design" his own T-shirt. My personal favorite: the invisible dollhouse. Lay down a "floor plan" on the rug, and furnish the house with doll furniture.

Family-Room Picnic

Change things up by serving lunch outside of the kitchen. First, grab your basket (you don't need a real picnic basket -- a laundry basket will do) and assemble some picnicky foods that the kids can "pack" themselves -- juice boxes, water bottles, packets of raisins, string cheese, paper plates, napkins. While the kids are busy filling the basket, spread a blanket in the family room and put together some sandwiches. Then unpack your picnic and watch the lunch disappear.

Movie Time!

At some point even the most creative parent is going to have to resort to some good old TV time. Keep a hidden stash of DVDs that you only pull out during cruddy weather so rainy-day television is truly a treat. The same old Wiggles story is doubly boring for a child whose play options are limited.

Build It Together!

I had long intended to build a doghouse using plans purchased on the Internet. I had the lumber waiting in my workshop. When a bad-weather day arrived, I got my son interested in the project and broke open the box. We built a doghouse in about three hours. 
-- Josh Gonze, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Slow-Motion Tag

Chasing my 18-month-old around the house (especially if I do it in slow motion) and tickling her when she gets caught can keep my daughter endlessly amused. 
-- Daniel Feld, Brooklyn, New York

Family Cozy Time

On a rainy day our 15-month-old son usually keeps himself occupied by bringing us lots of books to read to him. We also have two large dogs that go stir-crazy in the house and provide him with hours of entertainment! 
-- Neil Moore, Little Rock, Arkansas

Used with permission from American Baby magazine.

Posted on June 28, 2015 .

Meanwhile at The Lighthouse

Because so many of you play a part in the work we do, we want to share some success our clients have celebrated recently!

  • A client moved into a new apartment with his 18 month-old daughter. He received some furniture from a donor at The Lighthouse to help him make his apartment a home.
  • A client secured a third job cleaning motel rooms.
  • Every client at The Lighthouse is now employed.
  • An engaged couple, being served by The Lighthouse, were married two weeks ago and are planning to move into their own apartment by the end of the month.
  • Last week a client was able to make plans to transition from the shelter and into our duplex. She also purchased a vehicle two weeks ago and has been driving herself to work.
  • One of our clients was able to get her license reinstated and is saving for a vehicle!!
  • Another client secured a part-time job and had two additional interviews for a possible second job!!!
Posted on June 20, 2015 .

Younger leaders take two seats

The Lighthouse, in partnership with Eagle Tech Academy, decided to allow two students to join the InterFaith Mission board of directors to fill newly created Student Service Seats. After an application and interview process, Avery Hile and Allyssa Jacobs were picked for the positions.

The two students, who will be seniors in the upcoming school year, will work with board members to further our mission and to also act a liasons between the board and Eagle Tech in order to implement many of the ideas presented during the Rethink Homelessness project. 

 Avery Hile is one of two students to hold a Student Service Seat with InterFaith Mission.

Avery Hile is one of two students to hold a Student Service Seat with InterFaith Mission.

Avery is involved in Spanish Club, Collision Youth Group, Millenial Leaders Alliance, and helped coordinate Taste of The Town last year. She works at Bones Theater. When asked how she would "cure" homelessness in Whitley County, she said:

"A house for all these people will not solve the problem in the long run. Emotional support and listening ears will. They need cheerleaders."

 

 Allyssa Jacobs is one of two students to hold a Student Service Seat with InterFaith Mission.

Allyssa Jacobs is one of two students to hold a Student Service Seat with InterFaith Mission.

 

Allyssa plays soccer, tennis, and is in the Spanish Club. She works at McDonalds and spends her free time getting involved with her church and "hanging out" with her friends. When asked how she would "cure" homelessness in Whitley County, she said:

"I believe the way to cure homelessness is to cure nonhomeless people. We need more people to care about the situation. If we had a strong county who cared and were aware, there would be more people to be there for the homeless, more funding, more donations, and more willingness to help others in need."

We are excited to work with these passionate young leaders. Be on the lookout for their energy and enthusiasm as they begin helping The Lighthouse!

 

Posted on June 20, 2015 .

Keeping it bright: Brittany Sherry

**The following is a series spotlighting the staff members of The Lighthouse and how they help keep the mission working to change the lives of the homeless in Whitley County.

 Brittany Sherry has been a staff member for two and a half years.

Brittany Sherry has been a staff member for two and a half years.

For more than two years, Brittany Sherry has been making The Lighthouse shine a bit brighter for those who are homeless in Whitley County by taking care of a variety of tasks. From paying bills, juggling a variety of administrative tasks and working with clients, Brittany says, "I do a little bit of everything."

Q: What do you like best about being a part of our staff?  "I like being able to help individuals realize they are capable of succeeding on their own."

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?  "Spend time with my family and be out doors"

Q: If you could magically have a talent you don’t have right now, what would it be?   "Being able to do stand up comedy."

Q: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?   "A Shark Biologist."

Q: What’s one thing about The Lighthouse you’d want the community to know that maybe they don’t already?   "We provide resources to help individuals obtain their G.E.D. if need be."

 A new mom, Brittany juggles her work schedule with her responsibilities raising her newborn Elliott

A new mom, Brittany juggles her work schedule with her responsibilities raising her newborn Elliott

Q: How do you think The Lighthouse makes a difference in our community?    "We provide hope to individuals and families who have given up or have no where else to go."

Q: In your opinion, why should someone give or volunteer to support The Lighthouse?    "For me this quote Winston Churchill said, sums it up, 'We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.' No matter if you have a lot or a little, anything counts plus benefits several individuals and families in need.  

Posted on June 20, 2015 .

Director's cut: 15 years and so much more

by Tania Keirn

 Pictured center, Tania Keirn greets guest at the Lighted Gala held to celebrate the nonprofit's 15 year anniversary

Pictured center, Tania Keirn greets guest at the Lighted Gala held to celebrate the nonprofit's 15 year anniversary

The Lighthouse celebrated its 15th year in service for the homeless at our Lighted Gala in April. Lighthouse clients, board members, volunteers and community supporters  were featured.  The successful outcomes of The Lighthouse programs for the homeless were discussed as was the new direction promoting community involvement.  Sustaining this important asset to our community is a priority for the Interfaith Mission board and the members who have been a part of it since its establishment in October 1998. 

In July I will celebrate my 15 years working with the homeless through the Lighthouse program as its Executive Director.  I have seen clients move into the shelter who were downtrodden, depressed, feeling hopeless and lost. Four-to-nine months later, they were moving out with a job, a driver’s license, a GED, and a vehicle.  Our clients move into apartments where they have all the resources they need to sustain themselves in the months and years to come if they follow what they’ve learned at The Lighthouse.  The reason they succeed is due to their own determination and the determination of a dedicated staff that works with them almost around the clock from the time they enter the shelter to the time they exit.

Today I talked with a client who exited The Lighthouse in 2003.  She is now working on completing her Master’s Degree in Counseling.  She asked if she could help us in any way, maybe interning here to help others who were where she was twelve years ago.  This is the difference The Lighthouse can make in a life.  This is where I find the joy of being the executive director of such an important mission.  

***Recently, The Lighthouse welcomed Regina back to the shelter, this time as an intern pursuing her Masters.

Posted on June 20, 2015 .

Marking 15 years: Lighthouse celebrates its anniversary

 Jeremy Wike, IFM Board President

Jeremy Wike, IFM Board President

COLUMBIA CITY – For 15 years, Whitley County's homeless and displaced have been served by The Lighthouse, and now leaders are prepared to plan for the nonprofit's future.

Jeremy Wike, senior pastor for Community of Hope church in Columbia City, recently took on the role of board president for InterFaith Mission, Inc., the board tasked with making decisions for The Lighthouse. After serving four years as a board member, Wike accepted the president nomination "because there is more work to be done.”

“Our mission is to minister to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those individuals and families that are homeless and those who are at risk of becoming homeless in Whitley County,” said Wike. “I believe there are countless untapped resources waiting for an opportunity to contribute to this mission.”

The nonprofit will hold an event Thursday, April 23 at The Van Buren to celebrate The Lighthouse's anniversary. The Lighted Gala will begin at 6 p.m. and will feature local recording artist Hannah Schaefer. Wike said he wants the community to understand the impact the mission has on the community.

“If people in Whitley County heard the success stories of families who've had their entire life trajectory improved because of their stay at The Lighthouse, they would be proud,” Wike said. “If people could look into the eyes of the children who live at The Lighthouse, they would feel compelled to participate in our mission. Our job is to tell those stories and invite good-hearted people to see the need and respond with compassion. I think I can help mobilize our board, the staff and our community to take steps in this direction.”

Although the nonprofit has experienced some changes throughout its 15 year history, Wike said those founding members will be celebrated at the Lighted Gala for their vision to house the homeless.

“The Lighthouse might be the best kept secret in Whitley County,” he said. “I don't think anyone intended for this to happen, but it has. We stand on the shoulders of some brave, compassionate persons who had a vision to care for some of the most overlooked, misunderstood people in our community. We owe it to our predecessors and our community to look ahead and anticipate the challenges we'll face in the next 15 years.”

The gala will spotlight The Lighthouse's history, but Wike said the event will also shine a light into a vision for the future. Wike wants to express to the community some of the challenges facing the nonprofit.

“We will need to replace our retiring executive director in the next few years, since she plans to retire,” said Wike. “We need to catalyze a younger generation with a social justice impulse to take ownership of their local transitional housing program. We need to better educate our community regarding what we do and why we do what we do. We need to find new funding streams because we are losing a significant amount of our government funding this year.”

The obstacles may threaten to be formidable, but Wike has a positive outlook on the mission's success.

“There's much to do, but I believe we will grow stronger as we take on these challenges together,” Wike said.” The community is invited to attend the Lighted Gala, although reservations are requested. More information can be found atwww.ifmlighthouse.com.

Posted on June 17, 2015 .

And now a word from some really cool high school students!

From the students at Eagle Tech Academy.... you're invited!!!

Collaboratively, Eagle Tech Academy has created a new perspective of homelessness for ourselves, and we would like to share that with you!

Homelessness isn't something that many tend to consider, and the students here want to change this. This trimester, the students have been working in their advisory classes, side by side with the Lighthouse, to help those in need.

The Lighthouse is a transitional shelter located here in Columbia City, IN. Their main goal is to help those who need shelter and assistance, whether this is an individual or a family. The Lighthouse works with their clients for three months to a year to help them get back on track and employed, as well as giving classes in other areas.

Each of Eagle Tech’s advisory classes have been working hard studying and learning about homelessness and hearing other’s stories. Each class has come up with a project to help the Lighthouse in some way. These projects range from landscaping jobs to fundraising and each student has been involved in the process.

We want to show off all of our work that we have done in an end of the year gallery walk on May 28th at 9am-10:15am here at Eagle Tech. You can arrive any time between 9-10:15 and stay for as long as you’d like.

You will be met at the doors by a tour guide who will lead you to various classrooms where students will show you the work that they have put together. After the gallery walk, we will have a Rethink Homelessness Ceremony in the gym where awards will be given and any final products will be presented to the Lighthouse board of directors; everyone is invited to this as well!  We would love to have as many in attendance as possible, so tell your friends and your family to come out and Rethink Homelessness!

 

Eagle Tech Location: 107 N Walnut St, Columbia City, IN 46725

Time: 9am-10:15am

If you have any questions, contact Eagle Tech at (260) 244-5707

Check out our Rethink Homelessness website!http://eagletechacademy.wix.com/rethinkhomelessness

Posted on May 21, 2015 .

What's new at The Lighthouse

In the past week, four new clients moved into The Lighthouse! According to Executive Director Tania Keirn, three of those clients have employment. One works part time due to a medical condition and the other two have recently gained full time employment.

Another client has saved up enough money for transportation and will soon have enough to move into an apartment. Another client has received a promotion to shift manager and a raise.

Previously we shared that one of our clients had three jobs.  But now has secured a good full time position so she no longer has to work three jobs. However, she has decided to keep one job, which is part-time, to help bring in more income.

"The clients have been working extremely hard and I cannot wait to see what next week brings," said Keirn.

Posted on May 19, 2015 .

Our encounter with Harry the Homeless Hippy

by Tania Keirn

"Harry the Homeless Hippy" was in our community during the past week. Mayor Ryan Daniel and I met with him for more than an hour to discuss his mission as he travels throughout Indiana. He is blogging about how the homeless are treated in different communities. He told us of some shelters where he and other residents were treated pretty badly. They were given no respect but treated as if they were second class citizens.

I told him of our transitional shelter for the homeless and the classes, support and mental and physical health assistance that we offer our clients. He was very impressed with the services we provided and how our case managers treat our clients with the respect. This is necessary in order to help them improve their self-esteem and confidence to succeed in their employment endeavors and in life. 


Today "Harry" came to The Lighthouse and brought us $25 in cash that he wanted to donated for our mission. I asked him how he was treated during the past week. He said, "great." He was heading to Fort Wayne to experience how their community takes care of the homeless. 


Thank you anyone that saw or talked to "Harry" while he was here. He seemed very happy with the treatment he received in Columbia City. 

To follow Harry's journey, you can visit him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/harryhomelesshippie?fref=ts or his blog site at http://www.blogster.com/harryhomelesshippie

Posted on May 18, 2015 .

Firefighters vs. Police Penny War for The Lighthouse

Courtesy of Anna Kneller at knellerac@wccs.k12.in.us 

Eagle Tech Academy students recently collaborated with The Lighthouse, Whitley County's homeless shelter, for a school-wide project, which will raise awareness and money for nonprofit.  

As part of the project, a group of students, facilitated by Rebecca Mapes and Elizabeth Mason, has instigated a "penny war" that involves a contest between Columbia City firefighters and Columbia City police officers.  

The "war" will pit both groups to see which one, the firefighters or police, can raise money for the cause. Community members can donate any amount of change into jars which will be placed throughout the area. All of the money collected will be donated to The Lighthouse. Through this friendly competition, students are hoping to raise $1,000. 

In order to raise the money, there will be two jars set at 21 different businesses from May 18 to May 22. Each jar will represent either the firefighters or the police officers, and the team with the highest total at the end wins the "penny war." The chief of the winning team gets to throw a pie at the losing chief at final celebration slated for May 28 at the Eagle Tech campus in Columbia City. In addition to the participating businessesjars will also be at the firehouse, police station, Columbia City City Hall and Eagle Tech Academy.  

The Lighthouse is a transitional shelter for the homeless in Whitley County. Instead of  a night's sleep and a warm meal, The Lighthouse's program is long term, offer those who are residents of the shelter help in finding a job, learning about budgeting and various other types of responsibilities.  

Business owners who would like to participate in the "penny war" can contact Anna Kneller at knellerac@wccs.k12.in.us or Mapes and Mason at Eagle Tech Academy at (260)-244-5707. To learn more about Eagle Tech's school-wide project, visit http://www.eagletechacademy.wix.com/rethinkhomelessness

Posted on May 11, 2015 .

You lit up the night!

Our first annual Lighted Gala was held April 23rd and we are in awe of the support from those that attended.

The night was arranged to celebrate The Lighthouse's 15 year anniversary and was the nonprofit's inaugural event, which in the future, will applaud the agency's work each year.  

"This is a chance for us to come together as a village to support a mission that serves our community," said Jeremy Wike, InterFaith Mission, Inc's board president. "We've been supported by federal and state dollars in the past. That money is going away, but there's a silver lining."

The silver lining means community dollars would allow The Lighthouse to have more control on the structure of its programming. As a "village" community dollars can continue to support and uphold our vision to minister to the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of the homeless and displaced in Whitley County.

"It's our responsibility to see that 'the least of these' are taken care of," said Wike. "Even if you look past the biblical responsibility, our responsibility to the community is to take care of our own. Now is the time. We need your help."

Approximately 150 people attended the Lighted Gala, an event that will become an annual celebration for the nonprofit. A brief moment was taken to honor volunteers that have contributed to The Lighthouse throughout the years. 

Julia Berry, Gayla Cox, Esther Smith and Deb DeWitt were four volunteers applauded for their long-term service. Jan Boggs and Grace Lotter were recognized for their original vision and creation of The Lighthouse. And Phyllis Crace was honored for her tireless work in scrapbooking each newspaper clipping, photo and newsletter that has been published for The Lighthouse in the past 15 years.

"We are excited to have everyone here to celebrate with us," said Wike. "Our reach is growing and our impact is greater. We are glad to share this with you all."

Posted on May 4, 2015 .

Marking 15 years, Lighthouse leaders celebrate a new vision

 Jeremy Wike, InterFaith Mission, Inc.'s board president, speaks at The Lighted Gala recently.

Jeremy Wike, InterFaith Mission, Inc.'s board president, speaks at The Lighted Gala recently.

COLUMBIA CITY – For 15 years, Whitley County's homeless and displaced have been served by The Lighthouse, and now leaders are prepared to plan for the nonprofit's future.

Jeremy Wike is InterFaith Mission Inc's new board president.

Jeremy Wike, senior pastor for Community of Hope church in Columbia City, recently took on the role of board president for InterFaith Mission, Inc., the board tasked with making decisions for The Lighthouse. After serving four years as a board member, Wike accepted the president nomination "because there is more work to be done.”

“Our mission is to minister to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those individuals and families that are homeless and those who are at risk of becoming homeless in Whitley County,” said Wike. “I believe there are countless untapped resources waiting for an opportunity to contribute to this mission.”

The nonprofit will hold an event Thursday, April 23 at The Van Buren to celebrate The Lighthouse's anniversary. The Lighted Gala will begin at 6 p.m. and will feature local recording artist Hannah Schaefer. Wike said he wants the community to understand the impact the mission has on the community.

“If people in Whitley County heard the success stories of families who've had their entire life trajectory improved because of their stay at The Lighthouse, they would be proud,” Wike said. “If people could look into the eyes of the children who live at The Lighthouse, they would feel compelled to participate in our mission. Our job is to tell those stories and invite good-hearted people to see the need and respond with compassion. I think I can help mobilize our board, the staff and our community to take steps in this direction.”

Although the nonprofit has experienced some changes throughout its 15 year history, Wike said those founding members will be celebrated at the Lighted Gala for their vision to house the homeless.

“The Lighthouse might be the best kept secret in Whitley County,” he said. “I don't think anyone intended for this to happen, but it has. We stand on the shoulders of some brave, compassionate persons who had a vision to care for some of the most overlooked, misunderstood people in our community. We owe it to our predecessors and our community to look ahead and anticipate the challenges we'll face in the next 15 years.”

The gala will spotlight The Lighthouse's history, but Wike said the event will also shine a light into a vision for the future. Wike wants to express to the community some of the challenges facing the nonprofit.

“We will need to replace our retiring executive director in the next few years, since she plans to retire,” said Wike. “We need to catalyze a younger generation with a social justice impulse to take ownership of their local transitional housing program. We need to better educate our community regarding what we do and why we do what we do. We need to find new funding streams because we are losing a significant amount of our government funding this year.”

The obstacles may threaten to be formidable, but Wike has a positive outlook on the mission's success.

“There's much to do, but I believe we will grow stronger as we take on these challenges together,” Wike said.” The community is invited to attend the Lighted Gala, although reservations are requested. More information can be found atwww.ifmlighthouse.com.

“The Lighthouse might be the best kept secret in Whitley County,” he said. “I don't think anyone intended for this to happen, but it has. We stand on the shoulders of some brave, compassionate persons who had a vision to care for some of the most overlooked, misunderstood people in our community. We owe it to our predecessors and our community to look ahead and anticipate the challenges we'll face in the next 15 years.”

The gala will spotlight The Lighthouse's history, but Wike said the event will also shine a light into a vision for the future. Wike wants to express to the community some of the challenges facing the nonprofit.

“We will need to replace our retiring executive director in the next few years, since she plans to retire,” said Wike. “We need to catalyze a younger generation with a social justice impulse to take ownership of their local transitional housing program. We need to better educate our community regarding what we do and why we do what we do. We need to find new funding streams because we are losing a significant amount of our government funding this year.”

The obstacles may threaten to be formidable, but Wike has a positive outlook on the mission's success.

“There's much to do, but I believe we will grow stronger as we take on these challenges together,” Wike said.” The community is invited to attend the Lighted Gala, although reservations are requested. More information can be found atwww.ifmlighthouse.com.

 

Posted on May 4, 2015 .