Blog

The Congregation in High Poverty Areas: Distance and Isolation

  Urban religious leaders often express a desire to bridge the social distance between their congregation and the surrounding neighborhood.  How can this be achieved?  First, it requires an accurate picture of the landscape.  In what follows, I will address a stark description:  churches and low-income residents in geographic proximity and yet worlds apart.  To […]

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Success Story: Volunteers Bridging the Class Divide

  It looked like a set up for failure:  White, middle class volunteers driving into a low income neighborhood from outside to “help out.”  Beyond simply helping, the group wanted to deepen their connections with their neighbor in the Park community, a low income neighborhood of mostly African-American, Hmong, Vietnamese and Spanish speaking Central Americans.  […]

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Helping Poor Families: A Case Study in Failure

Here’s a program for poor families that failed.  What went wrong?  Adopt-A-Family was a short-lived program started to help African American families hurt by welfare reform in the late 1990s.  The program’s goal was ambitious: white volunteers, moving out of their “comfort zones,” would get deeply involved in the life of an adopted low income […]

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Mothers in Poverty: “Yes” to Spirituality, “No Thanks” to Worship

Aletta is a 22 year old black/Latina mother of three young children (ages 5, 3, and 1).  She used to attend a Seventh Day Adventist Church twice a week.  Then she and her husband moved away to a long-term transitional housing shelter, and she stopped attending church. She still continues to pray with her children […]

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5 Things You Can Do to Expand Services to the Hungry

More Americans than ever are experiencing food insecurity, meaning that on many days, they are unsure whether they will have enough to eat that day.  Clearly, getting more food into hungry mouths is an urgent priority.   But hunger is complex and multi-faceted, and there are many ways to support the hungry beyond simply donating food.

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Starting A Community Service Project: Step One

  What really defines a community service project is the burning desire to bring about social change.  Start locally.  Do something to address a specific problem in your surrounding community, whether it’s your school, work or residential neighborhood.  Something needs to change!  It can be overwhelming:  The list of possible issues to address—hunger, joblessness, crime, […]

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Can DIY Social Action Make a Difference?

  DIY means Do-It-Yourself.  We are in the midst of a DIY revolution.  It’s time to get directly involved to improve one’s life, or so say home improvement retailers like Home Depot or Lowe’s.  Sometimes it is simply more satisfying (and less expensive) to pick up the hammer and do it yourself. Young adults in […]

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Facts About the Transgender Community (Infographic)

Nov. 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to commemorate the transgender persons lost to violence in the past year. The transgender community is so small (roughly 0.3 of the U.S. population) that only a small percentage of persons (8%) say they know someone who is transgender.  Yet the debate over gender fluidity on […]

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