Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Books for a Better World:

A post by Jarrett:

Everyone has had teachers who made a big impact on our lives.  Perhaps they were able to reach us or get through to us particularly well.  Perhaps they were the ones who took the extra time to work with us or to listen to us.  Perhaps we simply learned a lot from them or came to love learning because of them.  However they do it, they change our lives for the better in powerful ways, and we’re never the same.  I had a teacher like that.  His name was Morris Peterson.  He was my Spanish teacher in high school.  Far more than that, he was a mentor who had a profound impact on my life and a friend.  I could probably fill a volume with all that he taught me.  I learned a great deal about languages, literature, history, and the world from him.  He introduced me to a broad range of topics, including philosophy and formal logic (who doesn’t love syllogisms?).  He helped me to realize the full extent of my interest in the world, languages, and history – interests that led me to become a global studies major in college, to take extensive German and Spanish language coursework, and to study abroad numerous times in college and law school.  Equally important, I learned a lot about life, including about the importance of lifelong learning, seeking new and varied experiences with a sense of adventure, and seizing the day. 
Mr.  Peterson
After I went away to college, we saw each other less often, though we still attempted to stay in touch over the years.  Morris, his wife, Beth, and their son, Max, moved first to Wisconsin, then to New Hampshire, Switzerland, and El Paso, Texas.  Last year, after living in different states and another country over the last twenty years, the Petersons moved to Arizona – less than a mile from our old house, in fact.  I had the opportunity to visit the Petersons at their new house late last year.  It’d been a few years since I’d last seen him, but we picked up right where we left off with the same wide-ranging conversations.  Morris, who had been battling multiple myeloma since 2009, passed away a few months later. 

I've been thinking a lot about Mr. Peterson (as I’ve long called him out of a mixture of respect and habit, even occasionally after he told me I could call him Morris), especially over the past many months.  He was truly a remarkable man.  He was extremely bright, full of knowledge and wisdom, interesting, generous, and caring.  He had a passion for reading and learning, which he helped kindle and stoke in me.  He was also a benefactor of sorts to me, providing me with a considerable part of my library at home, including many hand-me-down books from both periods when he tried to downsize his own library and times when he just wanted to share particular books with me.  Perhaps the latter was actually the case all along.

I wanted to do something in honor of Morris this year.  There is a local 501(c)(3) called Books for a Better World (http://www.booksforabetterworld.org/home).  Its mission over the years has been to bring a variety of Spanish-language books to schools for children (K-4th grade) living primarily in rural areas in Mexico and Central America for the purpose of enriching their lives in a way that only literature can and to encourage them to become avid readers and lifelong learners.



The founder was also a Spanish teacher.  It seemed to me to be a relatively fitting way to remember Morris in light of his love for, and substantial time spent in, Mexico and his affinity for books, learning, and the Spanish language.  Please consider making a donation using the above link.  If you would like to donate in honor of Morris, please end your donation in $__.95, representing the year (1995) Mr. Peterson took up a teaching post in a small town in Northeast Iowa, connecting with students and expanding their horizons along the way.

Thank you for supporting us in this effort.

Until next time,
Angie and Jarrett

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Central Arizona Shelter Services- Food Drive

Each year we've picked an act of kindness centered around food, as it was such an essential source of strength and support for us while we we staying in antepartum, living in the NICU and after we returned home without Noah.  So many people signed up to bring us meals, that it sustained us not only in our tummies, but also in our heart and mind.  

This year we are partnering again with Campbell's Crew Cares to host a food and personal items supplies drive for the Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS):  Specifically the Vista Colina Emergency Family Shelter.  Here are a few important facts related to homelessness in Phoenix and more broadly in the United States:
  • More than 57,000 veterans experience homelessness on any given night in America.
  • Approximately half of the homeless population in Arizona is comprised of families with children.
  • On any given night in Phoenix, as many as 22,000 people experience homelessness.
  • 15% of Central Arizona Shelter Services clients are young adults:

Here is how the Vista Colina Emergency  Family Shelter works to help...

Vista Colina Emergency Family Shelter    

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Founded in 1991, Vista Colina shelters homeless families in an apartment-style complex for up to 120 days. They have 12 one bedroom and 18 two bedroom units specifically for adults with children under 18. They serve approximately 700 people in the shelter each year.

At Vista Colina, each family works with their case manager to develop and implement a unique case plan to address their specific needs including employment, budgeting, savings as well as other steps toward self-sufficiency. Families must save 80% of their income for permanent housing in preparation for leaving the shelter. Working together, case managers guide clients in applying for the medical benefits and social services for which they are eligible and ensure children are enrolled in school.

The Vista Colina Emergency Family Shelter also provides food, hygiene supplies, and clothing. Their Child Development Program includes an infant nursery, an accredited preschool program, and after school activities for older children. By giving families a safe, stable and supportive environment, parents can focus on building life skills, securing income and rebuilding their lives.
This year to help support the CASS we will be organizing a personal items and non-perishable food drive to donate to this organization.  Beginning today through Friday, October 4th we will be collecting any of the items listed below:

Non-perishable Food Items:
  • Boxed cereals
  • Canned vegetables, fruit and soup
  • Dry beans
  • Rice
  • Instant potatoes
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Canned Meat (Tuna, Chicken or Beef)
  • Peanut butter
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Pasta/Noodles
  • Shelf-Stable Milk
  • Paper Towels
  • Cooking Spray
  • Trash-bags
  • Gallon Ziploc bags
  • Baby formula
Personal Items Collected as well:
  • New or Gently used clothes (Toddler and Children's (especially boys) Clothing, Men's and Women's Clothes, Shoes)
  • New Underwear and Socks (all sizes)
  • Hairbrushes
  • Body Lotions
  • Baby wipes
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Sunscreen/Chap-stick
  • Baby items (Bottles, pacifiers, teething rings, strollers)
Please consider helping us collect items to donate to this important community resource.  We will be collecting items at our home (please message us for the address) or at Lubin and Enoch PC, located at 349 N 4th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003 from today through Thursday, October 4th.  (Thank you Lubin & Enoch!)

On Friday, October 5th we will be taking the items collected and partnering with Campbell's Crew Cares to go shopping for some remaining items.  Campbell's Crew Cares has pledged their support of Noah's Kindness Project in several generous ways.  They have raised money to help us be able to shop for items the shelter desperately needs to address the problem of homelessness for many parents with young children.  If you are not local and unable to donate supplies but would like to contribute to our cause, please consider donating to Campbell's Crew Cares.  Click the donate button at the top right hand corner of the page and select "Noah's Kindness Project" in the special instructions to the seller.  

We hope again you'll join us.  I can't imagine not having a home to come to each night or a bed to tuck my children into each night.  The simple things we take for granted, the simple things we can do to help those who need it most. 

Image result for homeless quotes

Thank you for your support!

Until next time,
Angie and Jarrett

Monday, August 13, 2018

Phoenix Children's Hospital 5K

This year we are bringing back the activity of participating in a ruin/walk race.  This has been one of our favorite events in the past,  the kids like it so much, and it's fun to have a friendly competition of who is going to beat  whom.  And while having fun is a benefit, the main reason why we wanted to do this is because we can help others.  

This year the race we decided to participate in Phoenix Children's Hospital Race called the PCH5K.  It will be on the morning of  Saturday, October 6th  and we have created a team we will be helping to raise money for the kids!  The money that we are raising will be going to specifically benefits the Hope Fund at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The Hope Fund helps launch critical new programs, purchase essential equipment, conduct cutting edge research, provide charitable care and much more. The results of these donations help improve the quality of life of the children and their families, along with providing education and research of current illnesses and future treatments.
We are lucky to have Phoenix Children's Hospital as a resource for expert medical advice, pediatric specialties and experts in all different areas.  We have been to PCH with our three older kiddos to see specialists and most recently Isabelle had her eye surgery at PCH.  We are thankful for them and while our children haven't had to be hospitalized or face the more serious, heart-wrenching health challenges many children and families have, we know families who have and want to try to help in whatever way we can.  


Image result for phoenix children's hospital
Here are some of the statistics about how PCH impacts our community and our state (and even broader).

ABOUT PHOENIX CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
Phoenix Children’s Hospital is Arizona’s only children’s hospital that is ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals, ranking in all 10 categories. Phoenix Children’s is one of only 23 pediatric hospitals to receive a 10 out of 10 ranking, placing us among the elite children’s hospitals in the nation. Phoenix Children’s provides world-class inpatient, outpatient, trauma, emergency and urgent care to children and families in Arizona and throughout the Southwest. As one of the largest children’s hospitals in the country, Phoenix Children’s provides care across more than 75 pediatric specialties. The Hospital is poised for continued growth in quality patient care, research and medical education.

PCH FACTS AT A GLANCE:

  • 86,500 Emergency Visits
  • 310,000 Outpatient Appointments
  • 17,256 Surgical Cases (Isabelle was just one this year)
  • 2,647 Trauma Cases 
  • 52,994 Urgent Care Visits 
  • 1 IN 4 children in Arizona will have received care from a Phoenix Children’s provider.
  • Within five years, 433 Licensed beds
  • Donations support 6 CENTERS of excellence:
  • Donations support The Children’s Heart Center, Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children's Hospital, The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Center for Pediatric Orthopedics
  •  ACS-verified Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center and The Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU)


PCH MISSION

We provide hope, healing, and the best health care for children and their families.
Over 60 programs at Phoenix Children’s Hospital are fully or partially funded by philanthropy. It takes $2.1 Million per day to operation Phoenix Children’s Hospital. That comes out to nearly $35,000,000 in charitable medical services.

JOIN NOAH'S KINDNESS PROJECT TEAM:
If you'd like to join us and be a part of the Noah's Kindness Project team please follow these instructions:

Please visit: The PCH5K race Noah's Kindness Project Team Page and then click the Join Team link in the upper right hand side of the page.  We have set a goal to raise $500 for our team.  

Schedule & Location
DATE:Saturday, October 6, 2018
LOCATION:1 E Washington St. Phoenix, AZ 85004 (CityScape area in Downtown Phoenix)
DISTANCE:Standard 5K (3.1 miles)  
SCHEDULE: 
(tentative)
6:30amRegistration/Festival Opens 
   7:30am5K Start
8:30am Kids' Dash start
9:30amPost-Race celebration
10:30amEnd

 How much is registration?
  • 5K Run/Walk - Adult - $40.00
    Age 13 and above
  • 5K Run/Walk - Youth - $20.00
    Ages 4 - 12 (ages 3 and younger are free)
  • Kids' Dash - $15.00 (free with purchase of a 5K youth entry)
    Ages 12 and under
How you can participate:

  • Register for the race and join our Noah's Kindness Project team!
  • Even if don't live here in Phoenix but would like to still participate, there are a few ways you can be a part of this activity.
    • You can be a virtual walker/runner and still register as a part of our Noah's Kindness Project team.  Even virtual participants get a runners swag bag!  
  • You can donate to our Noah's Kindness Project team through our team page and click the donate link to submit your donation online.  If you’d rather make a donation by check, please make your check payable to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation and write Noah's Kindness Project in the memo section so our team is connected to your generous donation. Mail the check directly to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation
Attn: PCH5K
2929 E. Camelback Rd. Suite 122
Phoenix, AZ 85016

 Please remember your gift is tax deductible. And, if you are an Arizona resident you could receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit up to $400 for an individual and $800 for joint filing on your 2018 state income taxes.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Please consider joining our team!  We know it will be a really fun way to start off the day!  

Let us know if you have any questions!



Link to Noah's Kindness Project Phoenix Children's Hospital 5K Team page:  
http://action.phoenixchildrens.com/site/TR/DistancefortheDifference/General?team_id=6196&pg=team&fr_id=1530

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Heavenly Slumber Bags: A loving gift to comfort in grief.

After Noah passed, Jarrett, his parents, my parents and I sat quietly in a room and each took turns holding him.  It was for our parents the only time they got to hold their tiniest grandson.  I remember excusing myself from the room to use the bathroom, I felt sick to my stomach the entire time, and when I came back into the room I remember seeing my dad staring at the floor, my mom holding Noah, Jarrett's mom wiping her eyes and Jarrett's dad quietly looking downward.  As hard and heart-wrenching as it was to lose our son, in that moment, I remember the weight of grief in feeling so sad for our parents and thinking how difficult this situation had to have been for them too.

I've often wondered what they were feeling in those days and in the weeks/months after we lost Noah. How do you grieve the loss of your own grandchild while having to remain strong for your own child and their spouse?  The level and complexity of the grief they carried and probably still carry is oh so difficult in its own way.

When we started Noah's Kindness Project and brainstormed ideas of what we could do, one of the earliest plans was to help other families who walk a similar path.  We wanted to do what we could to help others find even the smallest sense of peace in the worst experience one could endure.  And one of the ways we found to try to do that is through the most beautiful, made-with-love gift of a Heavenly Slumber Bag. 

Nana working hard on the many beautiful gifts she shares with families in the NICU in Noah's memory.  
Jarrett's Mom and Dad have been making these gifts for families, like ours who do not get to take their baby home.  These precious gifts are a keepsake given to the baby's family as a way of showing that after all their baby endured in the NICU, they will be wrapped in loving, soft comfort when a mother and father can no longer hold onto them. 


As a part of Noah's Kindness Project this year, we will again be gifting the Heavenly Slumber Bags to the NICU.  Each and every one of those Slumber Bags is made with the love and care from Noah's Nana and Papa, and I asked them this year if they would write about the gift they have created in Noah's member.  As I read their words, I felt a slight glimpse into what they must have felt and thought as we were forced to say goodbye.  Their words are beautiful and touching and oh so meaningful... just like the Heavenly Slumber Bags they share.

In their words... from Noah's Nana and Papa...


Never far from our thoughts
Occupies our minds daily
Always in our hearts – love never ends
Healing -- by helping others allows us to heals our own broken hearts

The heavenly slumber bag was originally made for Noah after he passed. When the first NKP became a reality, I thought I would make twelve angel bags – one for each day of his life. We were praying that these heavenly slumber bags would bring some measure of comfort to a family enveloped in loss and heartbreak. To know others care and can relate since they have endured a similar loss. Angie found some ribbon that was imprinted with the footprints and the words “With Love from Noah James” to be sewn on.

We love the quote from Mother Teresa, “We can do no great things, only small things with great love." As we make items each year for Noah’s Kindness Project, we often think of the day you were born and the joy and happiness we felt. It was instant love for our little warrior, Noah. You were small in size, but strong in spirit and determination. You amazed us in your battle to survive which that strength has enabled us to move forward in your memory. The impact your short time on this earth has had on people from across the world is inspiring to be involved in. We hope it spreads every year so random acts of kindness will become part of our daily lives.







These are such a beautiful gift and we feel so fortunate that Noah's Nana and Papa are talented in their ability to make such a treasured gift for others.  For through our pain we have found comfort and now do our best to share that comfort with other hurting families.

Thank you Nana and Papa for making these beautiful gifts and for sharing your love and kindness with other little babies joining Noah in Heaven.  

Until next time,
Angie

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Feed My Starving Children... Encore!

Last year we went to Feed My Starving Children for the first time as a part of Noah's Kindness Project and we had so much fun, and were so moved by the experience, we decided we knew we had to do it again.  




While it is hard to describe the experience, simply put it is very humbling and moving.  Never before did I realize how many people in this world are dying from hunger.  Having food readily available is something I always take for granted.  I can't imagine going hungry like so many of these children and families do on a daily basis.  Here again are some of the startling statistics

Today 6,200 children across the world will die from hunger related causes.

You read that correctly.

According to Feed My Starving Children, by the end of THIS day more than 6,200 children across this world will DIE from hunger related causes.  

We are lucky to be included in those who are fortunate enough to never have  to worry about where our next meal will come and as one of the lucky ones, we feel it is important that we try to do something to help address this problem. 

After the very powerful experience last year, we felt called to go back.   Their process is pretty simple... Volunteers sign up to help pack meals, people donate money to help fund the meal ingredients and meals are donated to FMSC food partners around the world.  Kids are fed and LIVES ARE SAVED!

In our most recent visit (on Noah's birthday our family went back and heard the story about a baby who was on the edge of death because he was starving to death.  Here is that  story...

Baby Judeson was Dying. YOU Brought Hope.
Baby Judeson’s mother knocked on our food partner’s gate. She was looking for someone who could help save her baby.

“I looked at the child and saw death in his face,” said Sandra, an FMSC food partner. Eight-month-old Judeson weighed only four pounds. His eyes were sunken and his skin was shrinking around his bones.

“We held the baby and prayed over him,” Sandra said.

Judeson was rushed to a hospital. He was severely undernourished and had a bad infection. Doctors said he had just hours to live.

Sandra receives FMSC meals through her ministry Help For Haiti, Inc (HFH). She had FMSC MannaPack™ Potato-W meals and asked the doctors to feed them to Judeson. 

After a few days of medical treatment and FMSC meals, he grew a little stronger. Days later he was released from the hospital! Sandra gave his mother MannaPack Potato-W to feed him at home, as well as MannaPack Rice for her to eat. They both began eating nutritious FMSC meals consistently. As a result, their health soared. Judeson’s mom was able to provide enough breast milk to feed her son again.

Judeson gained several pounds. He learned to stand. 

"We saw a dying baby miraculously develop into a 10-pound happy little boy. We saw the miracle of what MannaPack Potato-W and prayer can do," Sandra said. 
Haiti

Hearing Baby Jude's story is just one of many that makes my heart ache to think of just how many children are dying simply because they don't have enough food.  When we live here with so much (and so much wasted), I feel guilty not doing anything.  So that's another reason why we are going back.  If we can do ANYTHING to help, I feel truly called.  We ask you to please join us for the afternoon. I promise you it will be an experience you will never forget, and on top of knowing you have done something to help save children's lives, you will have fun too. 

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

1) SIGN UP TO HELP US PACK MEALS: 
So  here is how we plan to help.  We have reserved a group volunteer shift for Saturday afternoon from 2-4 p.m. in Mesa, AZ and we invite those who are available to join us for the Noah's Kindness  Project team.  If you are local and would like to be a part of our team to help pack meals, please sign up here.

2) DONATE TO HELP PURCHASE FOOD
If you are unable to help pack food, or are not local, but still feel called to participate in this act of kindness with  us, you can still help!  Because this group is a  non-profit and they have to purchase the ingredients for the meals, they ask for donations to help offset the cost of the food.  If you would like to donate to help provide meals, please visit their donation link here If you so choose, please check the box and mark that you are donating as a part of Noah's Kindness Project.  

3) or Do BOTH!

We hope you'll consider joining us for what will be a very moving and impactful experience.  Children who are 5 years or older are welcome to participate so bring your whole family if you'd like.  Please sign up today. 

Thank you and until next time,
Angie and Jarrett

NKP: A day in review....

Noah's Kindness Project this year was such a fun day. It started early (wake up call at 5 am) when the fun started and as the day wrappe...