Jan 19

CR for the Family

If you have been keeping up with our ministry here at all you will know that Celebrate Recovery not only has a very special place in our hearts, but is also one of our main goals here: to establish and develop leaders for a fully functioning and effective CR ministry with City of Refuge Church….

Dec 14

Christmas Caravan 2014

We were blessed this year to partake in Jon’s annual Christmas Caravan!  Since he is leaving the country for the holidays, he had to plan it a couple weeks ahead of time.  So, yesterday we joined him in his caravan adventure.  We handed out clothes, shoes, candy, and tamales (a Guatemalan C…

Dec 04

Sustainable Corporate Social Responsibility

Sustainable Corporate Social Responsibility
By Susan Salka, President and CEO, AMN Healthcare

Originally posted at www.http://community.advanceweb.com/

“Most public companies dedicate some resources to good corporate citizenship. They choose to spend these resources – time, money or both — on endeavors aligned with the company’s mission and goals in win-win situations. It’s all part of a company’s social responsibility. But I believe we need to take it one important step further and create sustainable CSR programs.

There are times when it is absolutely appropriate and necessary to provide support to alleviate a short-term situation. When natural disasters or personal tragedies hit, people need immediate assistance to survive and rebuild their lives. And who can argue the benefit of brightening the day of a child enduring cancer treatment at a local hospital? But in addition to these endeavors, a significant amount of time, energy and resources expended by a company and its team members should be focused on activities that result in an enduring, tangible benefit, one that builds upon its own past achievements.

The most meaningful and lasting CSR initiatives are built around the active participation of company team members. I personally encourage our team to be active at work, active in their lives and active in the community. And they’ve responded. We have very committed [and] purposeful people who avidly take part in our many CSR projects. So, to honor that high level of engagement, it behooves company leadership — and me personally — to make sure that the causes we support make meaningful and, ideally, lasting change out there.

Last year, AMN Healthcare developed a partnership with a charitable institution on the mission of a lifetime, one that effectively aligns with our business strengths, provides powerful opportunities for team engagement and results in vital and sustainable improvement in the lives of people who really need help.

The organization is HELPS International, a Dallas-based nonprofit founded by a former investment banker, whose mission is to provide integrated, long-range solutions for Central American communities in need. HELPS sends several mission trips each year to the same regions of Guatemala, with carefully designed programs that build upon successes from the prior year. As a healthcare staffing and workforce solutions company, AMN sponsored 10 clinicians for the week-long medical mission and 10 nonclinical volunteers from our staff to take part in a correlated community development project.

As background, the highlands of Guatemala are an impoverished area with incredibly scarce medical resources. People often live in dirt-floor shacks and cook over open fires with no ventilation. The HELPS medical mission included an acute-care mobile hospital where medical professionals saw about 500 patients, many with chronic respiratory and eye diseases and/or burns from the open fires, and hernias due to carrying large amounts of wood. The community development team installed safety stoves that vent toxic smoke out of homes, use 70% less wood and reduce the incidence of burns from children falling into open cook fires. For more information visit https://helpsintl.org/.

For AMN, sustainability must be more than a buzzword; it has to be a palpable achievement. For example, the HELPS hospital and clinic created a portable health records system so that families have accurate medical charts covering many years of treatment. Continuity in treatment improves long-term patient outcomes. The stoves program reduces diseases; prevents burns; helps alleviate the heavy burdens people must carry and provides families more time to create wealth. In addition, HELPS integrates an education program for indigenous children and an economic development program to help small-hold farmers increase corn yield so they can feed their families and sell extra production for cash.

This sustainable CSR opportunity enhances the quality of our company and our entire team by fostering meaningful engagement in the world around us. Every team member who volunteered for the Guatemala mission told me it was a life-changing opportunity. Those who went came back and told colleagues amazing stories — and showed them even more amazing pictures – of how they made worthwhile, lasting improvements in people’s lives. The team engagement success of this mission is itself sustainable, its long-term value transcending the company outlay to sponsor the volunteers. The mission spreads pride throughout the company for the achievement of this year’s volunteers and, looking forward, is building team enthusiasm to take part in what will become an annual mission. In addition, we were recognized by our industry association with its top award for corporate social responsibility.

The HELPS mission has quickly become the centerpiece of our CSR activities. We still support many other very important causes locally and nationwide, particularly those that involve health and wellness. But by embracing true sustainability as our principal CSR objective, we have created a partnership that manifests the character of our company and our team and ensures that our investment of resources results in meaningful achievement. I challenge every company to examine their CSR efforts to ensure they have appropriate focus on the sustainability of their activities.”

For original article click here: 

Nov 15

Families in Poverty with Immeasurable Hope

By Bill Blacquiere

Originally posted at http://blogs.christianpost.com/

“Today’s blog is contributed by Brian DeVos, Vice President of Children and Family Services at Bethany. Brian is the father of 2 daughters and a husband to Kristy. He has been blessed by the gift of adoption and a loving family in many ways, and is a passionate advocate for children growing up in loving families.

I recently traveled to Guatemala. Though it is a beautiful country in a Caribbean-like environment, it is also filled with extreme cases of poverty.

Guatemala’s civil war that ended in the late 1990s had a devastating effect. Many mothers became widows and many more children were orphaned. Poor water supplies and nutrition placed families in desperate need, and violence and death became a reality. Many victims were children, and girls and women became targets for trafficking due to a lack of education and employment. Living on an average of $2 to $3 dollars a day, many children and families are still at extreme risk—the threat for abuse, illness, trafficking, and violence are everyday occurrences.

Family preservation services are few, and in the poorest areas the family unit is completely broken. Protection systems are just beginning to re-develop, but very slowly. International adoptions remain at a stand-still because of various problems plaguing the adoptions system and process. Guatemala also needs a quality foster care program as hundreds of children wait for families in orphanages.

Bethany partners there with Pray American’s Manos de Jesus program because we believe every child deserves a safe and loving family. God has called us to assist in strengthening and supporting the least of these—the widow and the orphan—and we provide support to parents so they will not feel forced to relinquish their children to orphanages or pay “coyotes” to take them to North America.

On my recent trip, we visited a single mother and her three children—two with cerebral palsy— who had been abandoned by the father. Through our One Family sponsorship program and partnership with Manos de Jesus, we provided walkers to prevent the two boys from being cut on their hands as they crawled on the ground. We also met with a grandmother who is caring for three granddaughters. Their parents died and no other family member would step in to help. She will now be able to support them through a micro business we recently launched in partnership with Manos de Jesus. Her granddaughters are also learning how to run a business and support themselves. Without this program, they would likely be on the streets, involved with drugs and prostitution.
One Family brings the hope and love of Jesus Christ to these families with tangible assistance, confirming He is alive and present in their lives. They meet a caring Christ who provides the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of both the giver and the receiver. They know and believe they are loved, and they receive immeasurable hope.

I experienced transforming love in seeing these families thrive, many whom show great faith. My self-centered life was transformed as I realized Bethany’s mission to demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus to these families is my mission too. Isn’t that why we’re all here?”

For full article click here:

Nov 15

Orphans helpless, but not hopeless


Mission News Networkwcsg-guatemala

Guatemala (MNN) — There are over 163 million orphans in this world. UNICEF estimates that more than 370,000 of those orphans live in Guatemala. These orphans plunge beneath the poverty line, living in orphanages, slums, and on the streets. They are helpless, but not hopeless.

Orphan Outreach has always worked to help children in need. They help to create long-lasting effects in lives by sharing the word of God, feeding the hungry, building homes, and spending time with kids.

They also work to provide medical care, and this year they are in dire need of more medical professionals.

In past years, three days had been dedicated to medical clinics in the Lake Atitlan region for the community of Santiago. Volunteers were able to help more than 900 people. But this year, a fourth day has been added, and Orphan Outreach is eager to see how many they will be able to serve.

They say, “Physicians, Physicians Assistants, Nurses, and all medical professionals are needed to make this trip a success!”

As Orphan Outreach is in need of medical professionals, they also extend an invitation to non-medical professionals with a passion for children. They will help to minister to children and provide support.

The Guatemala 2015 trip will take place from March 14 to March 23, a ten-day trip that will change lives. The cost is $2250 per person, but Orphan Outreach says that cost should not frighten volunteers off because most people are able to raise their support for the trip.

You can make a difference. Just take a leap of faith.

Pray that God will send enough volunteers to Orphan Outreach, and that the March 2015 Guatemala trip will be a success.

For information on how to volunteer, click here.

Original article posted here:

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