Jun 182015
 

A TED talk about the long term effects of trauma on children.    They don’t just “get over it.”    In many cases, they bear the scars of it for the rest of their lives.

This is why we do this – to help children avoid trauma and avoid the life long consequences of these horrible things happening to them or to those they love.

TJV

Jun 162015
 

It’s not an accurate comparison.

At least not yet.

And I pray that it never gets to that point, but there’s trouble brewing in the Caribbean and the “First World” seems to know nothing or if they know, they don’t seem to want to talk about it.

What is it?

It’s a piece of legislation that is about to be enforced in The Dominican Republic.  The legislation was passed back in 2013 and there was a good bit of protest at that point but it didn’t change anything.   Now it appears that the government of the DR is going to enforce it – potentially as early as this Thursday and other “rumblings” state that they will enforce it in August.

It says that says if you live in The Dominican Republic and were born after 1929 (in other words – anyone 86 or younger) and are not of “Dominican ancestry” then you are going to be deported to the country of your ancestry.  (I’ll quote links to this information at the bottom of this article)

So, if your parents left Haiti in search of a better life and moved to The Dominican 50 years ago, and you were born in the Dominican, by virtue of where you were born, you are a citizen of the DR.   Let’s say you are 40 years old, your wife is 37 and you have four kids.    Your wife’s parents also came over from Haiti before she was born.

So you and your wife and your kids are all citizens of the DR according to the rules that used to be in place.   Oh and since your entire family moved to Haiti, you have never set foot in Haiti.

Ever.

Well, the government of the DR in it’s racist and antagonistic “wisdom” passed a law that essentially said, “If you are of Haitian descent, we don’t want you.   Go home.”

What a minute, the DR is their home – they have never lived anywhere else?

The government of the DR is taking steps to send upwards of 250,000 people – people who “had” citizenship in the DR – and strip them of that citizenship and deport them and send them back to Haiti.

How can they send them “back” when they have never been there?

And what are they going to do when they get to Haiti?

The most recent estimate I heard was that unemployment in Haiti was upwards of 80%.   How are they going to absorb 250,000 refugees?   How are they going to eat?   How are they going to have a place to live?  I don’t think thsi is an overstatement to say that this is one of the worst if not the absolute worst humanitarian crisis waiting to happen in the Western Hemisphere.

Yes, what Germany did to the Jews in World War II was way worse.

Yes, what South Africa did to the blacks during apartheid was way worse.

But both Germany and South Africa started somewhere.   And the world didn’t do anything.

And it got worse.

And the world didn’t do anything.

And it got worse.

Not only does Haiti not have the resources to take in 250,000 refugees of blatant racism, but it is just plain wrong.

People will die if this happens.

And the first world is quiet.

Please, I’m done being quiet.   We can’t be quiet.

So what can you do?

Possible things to do:

  1. Pray – pray that God will intervene and stop this from happening.
  2. Boycott the DR – don’t go there and don’t buy anything that comes from them.
  3. Write your local media – forward some of these articles to them – ask them to write about it.
  4. Write your congressional representatives and Senators – ask them why they haven’t done anything.

Below are some links to articles about this disaster that is waiting to happen.   It’s a disaster of a humanitarian sense and a disaster in a spiritual and moral sense.

May we not be quiet while this is happening.

Tom

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/06/14/1393198/-Dominican-Republic-to-be-Socially-Cleaned-in-two-days

http://www.ryot.org/5-things-know-cleaning-haitians-dominican-republic/935183

Feb 072015
 

And this, my friends, is how it should be, if it can be…….

She said, “YES.”

We took in a new little love at HOPE House yesterday.  Her name is Nayika.  You can tell by the look in her eyes that she doesn’t feel good.  And likely never has.  Since she was two months old her mother has called us needing money to take her to the hospital, money for food, and for a place to live.  She is now seventeen months old and her situation wasn’t getting any better. Earlier this week her mother called to say she couldn’t keep caring Nayika any longer, and she was going to place her in an orphanage.

We asked her to come to Port-au-Prince so we could help her find a better solution.  Yesterday evening she arrived at HOPE House and we asked her, “If you had a job and a place to live, do you want to raise this baby?  Do you WANT to keep her?”  With tears swelling in her eyes and a smile across her face, she held Nayika, a bit tighter and said, “YES.”

Read the rest here……..

Jan 052015
 

So, we’re 5 days into 2015 and what’s next?  

I don’t know.

Honestly, I don’t know what’s next.   I know what I think is next but only God knows what is really next.

But let me tell you what I’m thinking…….

I’ve taken some time and assembled a VERY long list of blog topics all related to vulnerable children.    It’s a list that is going to take me a long time to get through.

Why?

Because one of the main goals of the Vulnerable Project is to help further understanding and action about the needs of those who are less fortunate.

Understanding – understanding of a group of issues that is horribly complex.

Understanding of a group of issues that many big non-profits wouldn’t necessarily get a passing grade on.

Understanding of something I don’t fully grasp either.

But if we have a conversation about these topics, we probably won’t all agree, but we will all be better off for the discussion.

And then there’s the other piece…….

Action – once you know, you can’t plead ignorance.

Once you know, you can’t claim you didn’t know.

So, in between the discussion of the issues, we’ll also have discussions about ways, healthy, productive ways that you can make a difference. 

Not always with money – many times not with money.

But ways that you can take the understanding and make it into more than just head knowledge.

My target is going to be two or three posts a week – more or less depending on the issues, the other things going on in my life and my family.

How can you help?

  • Read and discuss when you see something that resonates with you.  
  • Share it with others – spread the word, engage and educate more people.
  • Support what we’re doing – put a tip in the tip jar, get involved in helping with one or more of the action plans that we’ll be talking about and promoting.

Thanks for reading.   Thanks for helping me kick off a new year.   It’s going to be really interesting to see where God takes this in 2015!

Tom

Dec 092014
 

Obviously, the name of this site is, “The Vulnerable Project.”    But who are the vulnerable?    I think it helps to have some criteria in terms of what you mean when you talk about the vulnerable.    So, with that being said, here are 5 things (in random order) that define who could be considered vulnerable:

  • Where – where you live has a big impact on whether you could fall into the category of vulnerable.    Someone who lives in Middle Class suburbia in the United States isn’t necessarily going to be vulnerable.
  • Health care – do you have access to adequate health care?   Is there a significant risk that you  could fall ill with a disease that is potentially curable given adequate health care but is fatal in areas that don’t have it?   An example?   Malaria.   For someone with adequate healthcare, malaria is (so I’m told) a really bad time but is rarely fatal.    For people who don’t have access to medical care, malaria is highly fatal.
  • Family – is the family unit together?    Is there sufficient income in the family unit to keep the family alive?
  • Dysfunction – is there dysfunction in the family unit?   Is there abuse?   Is there a fear for the physical safety of one or more family members due to abuse?
  • Social Justice – are there systems in place to protect the innocent and deter or punish those who do wrong?

 

So, using those as guidelines, who potentially qualifies as “Vulnerable?”

  • Obviously orphaned children all over the world do.
  • Children in foster care do.
  • Parents of children in foster care – those who are really trying – do.
  • People like Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others do.   People who might or might not have been violating the laws of society but who, from many viewpoints, were treated differently and treated less well because of their skin color – they do.
  • Women and their children suffering from abuse and domestic violence do.
  • Christians in Syria who are being persecuted and killed by ISIS do.

 

So, given those thoughts and those “guidelines,”  what is The Vulnerable Project going to do?   I’m in the process of reworking some of my thoughts on that, in light of Ferguson, in light of New York and in light of conversations I’ve been having with many people who I respect very highly.

The need to protect and assist the vulnerable has never, in my eyes, been greater.

God’s call to care for the orphan and the widow and to do justice and love mercy are or should be front and center.  (James 1:27 and Micah 6Alien

The Vulnerable Project is working on ways to do that.

I hope you’ll stay tuned and join us as we venture down this path and see what God wants us to do.

Thanks,

Tom

Nov 132014
 

I’ve had a number of people ask me,  “What is this Vulnerable Project” thing you’re working on?  

So I thought I’d take a few minutes and restate what our goals are with The Vulnerable Project and how we hope to accomplish them.

The 30,000 ft. goals (in other words, the really big, broad stroke goals):

  • The reduction in the number of poverty orphans in the world.    Poverty orphans are children who are given up for adoption strictly because their parents who want to care for them aren’t able to due to extreme poverty.
  • Helping vulnerable families make it through a crisis intact.   That crisis could take a variety of forms but the common thread is that it is something that, with some help, they could make it through with the family intact.    Examples – a serious medical condition, death of a spouse and loss of income, a natural disaster that wipes out housing, just to name a few…….

Moving down to ground level, what do these God sized goals look like?

  • What we are not going to do: We are not going to attempt to put projects in place on the ground that will actually do the work that is going to happen to achieve those two goals.    We don’t know the dynamics, we don’t know the language (probably), we don’t know the culture.
  • What we are going to do:   We are going to find existing organizations that are already doing the work and support them.   Organizations that are working on the main goals of The Vulnerable Project already exist in almost every country that has vulnerable children and families.   We’re going to find them and support them to help them do what they do better.

What does that mean on a day to day basis?

  • Project based support – All of the work we do will be project based.   That means it will have a measureable, trackable, finite goal to it.    Examples – a new inverter, a new piece of medical equipment, Ultrasound machine from electro-medical.comnew textbooks, airfare to bring professionals in for staff training. 
  • Education and awareness – through a variety of writing and speaking opportunities, we’ll work to raise the awareness of the issues that vulnerable children and families face.   If you’d like to have someone speak to your group or do a guest post on a blog or something else to help spread awareness of these answers to the orphan crisis, e-mail me at tom@thevulnerableproject.org.
  • Consulting services – if an organization that is working on behalf of vulnerable children and their families would like assistance in some way with their marketing, social media, fundraising and/or donor communications, they can apply for a grant to get that assistance. 

How do we propose to fund The Vulnerable Project?

  • We are not going to seek 501©3 status.   We don’t want to be a charity.    Our goal is to be a business that is devoted to doing social good by means of caring for the vulnerable.  We want to work towards being financially self sustaining so we are generating opportunities and not taking donations.
  • So how are you going to fund The Vulnerable Project?   There’s three main ways we are planning on funding The Vulnerable Project:
    • Online store sales – whether it’s goods that are created in the third world and create jobs there or whether they are other products that we can sell to generate funds, our goal is to make a substantial amount of the income needed to fund The Vulnerable Project through online store sales.   Stay tuned to http://thevulnerableproject.org/store/ for more on that.cup of coffee
    • Speaking, consulting and writing opportunities.   If you know an organization that would like to have someone talk about the issues of the vulnerable children and families (or anything else related to the orphan crisis let me know.
    • Book sales –  I’m currently working on Book #1 of a series of books – the series is called “Ten Things About Adoption.”    The goal is to increase knowledge and support of adopted children and their families and make the process and the realities of adoption smoother, more understood and less stressful.

Want to help?   A couple of ways you can help:

  • Keep an eye on the store and as we get more goods on there, buy some stuff and spread the word about it.
  • If you know anyone who would be interested in us selling their goods online, let me know by e-mailing me at tom@thevulnerableproject.org
  • Know anyone who wants someone to come talk to their group or write a guest post for their blog or website?  Let me know.
  • As the books get completed and put up for sale, buy one and tell your friends and family.  Trust me, I’ll make it obvious when they are ready.

Thank you for reading this far.   Thank you for caring about the children of the world.   I’m looking forward to seeing what God does with this!

Tom