Living Our Faith project for kids, families, and adults!
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~ Anne Frank
During the coming year, we will introduce our children, teens, adults and families to many different types of community service projects. From fundraising for a worthwhile organization to doing good deeds that help local people, our activities include a variety of ways to help others. We also try to empower our children to respond to immediate needs as they come up (such as from unfortunate disasters or social justice issues). We do this because community service and social action are important parts of our UU faith. Our children, teens, and adults can make a positive difference in our world! We want our members and friends to know that “helping others” can be easy, enjoyable and enriching.
If you discover that your child has a particular interest in a project we did, please consider supporting him or her in continuing the important work. Our introductory projects are simple enough to do in one morning and varied enough to engage many different interests. Picking a favorite project and continuing with more depth and commitment can be very satisfying and rewarding.
Some of our projects extend home with activities your family can do. Let us be clear that you are not “required” to do them. Consider these projects to be quality “helping” opportunities for you and your children to consider. Your job is to choose the ones that are right for you. By selecting the projects that match your family’s interests, philosophies, and resources, your children will discover that community service can be an enjoyable experience.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead
Projects we have done previously!
Building an Ark for Today’s World
For one month, we collected change for Heifer International. Building on the theme of the “Noah’s Ark” play that will be happening next month, the kids we are going to start a project to help Heifer International. In 1944, Heifer International sent Faith, Hope, Charity and 15 other heifers by ship to struggling families in Puerto Rico. That voyage marked the start of a new life for those families and for others like them around the world. Today, Heifer provides more than 25 different animals, along with seeds and trees. Other animals become part of Heifer’s ark as project participants make important environmental improvements on their land. Some Heifer projects form a buffer zone around endangered nature reserves.
Helping Renewal House
We collected supplies for the women and children at Renewal House, a shelter supported by the UU Urban Ministry. Then the kids did a special project for Renewal House in February of making “craft kits” for the kids and some members of our Youth Group led a sing-a-long at a party there in March. Thanks for helping us support them!!
A Special Easter basket
On Easter Sunday, we began collecting supplies to make a special “Easter Basket” for the animals at Buddy Dog Animal Shelter. Items they needed for the Cats & Kitties: Dry and/or canned cat and kitten food (yummy), Cat litter, Toys and play things (fun!!), Blankets (to snuggle in), Meat flavored baby food (for kittens & finicky eaters), Newspaper to line cages (and keep the cats up on current events); and Wild bird seed (for bird watching entertainment). Items they needed for the Dogs & Puppies: Canned dog food (the solid type is preferred by buddy dogs), Science Diet dry dog or puppy food (so there are no upset tummies), Collars (for the well-dressed dog), Leashes (yeah! – time for a walk), Toys (all kinds – as long as they are fun!), and Milkbones and/or treats (snack time).
Change for change!
Our children and youth are hosted a change collection in Spring of 2010. Everyone’s pennies and other change can make a difference! At our Children’s Annual Meeting in February, they voted to collect money for Haiti Relief and a local animal shelter. When people brought in their donation, they could choose which charity their donation would be helping.
Used Books Making a Difference
We collected books to donate to More Than Words Bookstore in Waltham. The bookstore is part of a non-profit organization that trains and benefits troubled youth. by teaching them business skills, they transform their young lives by giving them the tools to have a successful life.
We learned more about global warming, about the need to go back to 350 parts per million of CO2 (now at 385 ppm and increasing), and 350.org. The kids brainstormed ways to keep “saving the earth” after the 350.org awareness day is over. Then all children and youth were invited to First Parish on Saturday, October 24th to help toll the bell 350 times for the opening of the 350.org Energy Rally to take place on the Sudbury Town Green.
Co-sponsored several events with our Welcoming Congregations Committee
We did multigenerational screening of the movie, Milk, a powerful true story about gay rights and the first openly gay man to be elected to a major political role. We also did a multigenerational screening of the documentary “Gay Youth”, a powerful movie about how much the support we offer gay teenagers can make a dramatic difference in their young lives. Then, we joined the many other friends/allies of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community to march in the Gay Pride parade in Boston.
Habitat for Humanity
Our Youth Group decorated cookies and cupcakes and brought them over to First Parish’s build day at the Habitat for Humanity house in Sudbury.
Care-packages for a hometown soldier
We made care-packages to send two soldiers stationed overseas who used to attend First Parish. We made cards and sent donations from our kids and their families. This project is many of our principles in action, such as affirming diversity of belief in who we share our kindness with for our anti-war activists.
We filled Transitions Baskets with supplies for families moving from homeless shelters into low-income housing and made nice cards to accompany the baskets! This is a “team” project in that the youth shopped for the supplies and the Miller-Tracy Children’s Foundation funded it. Coming together for important work!
Empty Bowls for the Food Pantry
Our children and adults decorated ceramic bowls and plates with all profits being donated to the Sudbury Food Pantry. Then the following Sunday, an ice cream party with the sale of additional ceramics was held to raise even more money for the food pantry.
Food Pantry clean-up
A collaborative project with our Faith-in-Action committee, five First Parish youth and two adults went to the Sudbury Food Pantry one Sunday in January to scrub the floors and clean up. Dirty work, but much appreciate by the Food Pantry staff!
From November to January, everyone was invited to participate in the UUSC’s guest at your table project to support the important work of UUSC to bring clean water and human rights to our international neighbors who are far less fortunate than we are.
Caring about prisoners
We had a Special Social Justice Sunday with all children and youth gathering to work on a project making twenty care-packages for prisoners at MCI-Concord. We were one of many faith communities working together to make 1720 so every inmate can receive a gift this year. Why would UUs include prisoners among the people they reach out to during the holiday season? This is what our children said about helping prisoners … They’re lonely, lonely people. They’re misguided. They’re already excluded from the social world because they made a mistake and this helps connect them to society. They can’t afford their own stuff because they’re not working. The holiday is already stressful on their families, so every little bit helps. Wow. They are a perfect example of our Faith-In-Action in their words and deeds!
First Parish of Sudbury teamed up with the Miller-Tracy Children’s Foundaton to make thirty Thanksgiving care-packages for families served by the local food pantry. Each care-package included a $25 gift card to the grocery store, a Thanksgiving potholder mitt, a collection of poems and blessings, a candle and candle holder, a few homemade “white chocolate” lollipops, and a handmade card just for them. With the extra demand around the holiday, the Sudbury Food Pantry was thrilled to receive this gift. They encourage people to remember that people are hungry and need our help year round!
During our multigenerational service, we introduced Teaching Tolerance’s Mix-It-Up Day. Mix-it-up Day is an annual event hosted in school cafeterias across the country encouraging children and teens to break the usual social and racial barriers to have lunch with someone they normally wouldn’t talk to. When they do this, they are often pleasantly surprised to discover that they share things in common with someone who looks or seems different from them. To learn more, check out their website at www.teachingtolerance.com. Please consider the value of this project. Adults and children alike can make friends with someone you normally wouldn’t talk to. The gifts of doing so could be life changing.
For several years in October, our Youth Group sponsored the Reverse Trick-or-Treat project by the UUSC. In this program, youth take “fair trade chocolates” to pass out to the families they trick-or-treat from. Not only are our children giving their neighbors treats, but they are sharing an important message about the value of “fair trade chocolates”. They also hosted Halloween parties for other UU youth to inspire other youth to do this sweet project.
A number of children and youth joined some First Parish adults for the Project Bread annual Walk-for-Hunger in May. Together, First Parish walkers collected over $6000 for Project Bread to help feed the far too many hungry people in this state.