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.


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!


Jun 282014

During this past week, I (and many around my area) have had a very important  but painful lesson slapped in our faces.

Vulnerable isn’t JUST a 3rd world problem.   Google “West Michigan Christian Radio Host” if want to know more what I’m talking about.

It isn’t a problem that just happens with restaveks in Haiti.

It isn’t a problem that happens just with vulnerable children in Uganda.

Or India

Or Ethiopia

Or Guatemala


The problem is right here.   It’s in the first world.   It’s in Michigan, Ohio, Quebec, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and all over the world.   It’s not JUST in the poverty stricken areas of the world. 

So the problem of abused and vulnerable children is all over the world, what do we do?   How can we fight something that big and that prevalent?

  • Start at home.    Make sure your kids feel comfortable talking with you about anything and know they can tell you anything.
  • Be cautious.   Don’t let your kids get into situations where something “ could” happen.
  • The internet – it scares me that so many 12 and 13 year olds know more about computers and the internet than their parents do.     How can you keep tabs on who your child is talking to and what they are looking at if you don’t know what Kik, SnapChat, instagram and others are?  You can’t rely on them to be the family expert – because they don’t have enough maturity to understand the dangers.   Learn, stay up on it.    Maybe I should teach a course – “101 Things Your Kids Know About The Internet that You Should Know?”
  • Don’t give up.   Don’t give up fighting for your kids (and probably fighting with them) about it.    But also don’t give up on the children who are already “stuck” in this nightmare and support organizations that fight against the abuse of vulnerable children – pick a place that interests you and support an organization that works there.

The problem isn’t JUST over there.   It’s right here.  

So, The Vulnerable Project will work with organizations in Haiti but also elsewhere.    Because children need to be in healthy family situations everywhere.

It’s a big problem, it’s a broad problem, it’s a God sized problem.   

And God has told us to be part of the solution.

I’m in, are you?

Tom Vanderwell|
The Vulnerable Project|
(616) 292-7559

Jun 122014

We’ve all heard the phrase and probably even told other people it.    Especially when facing a very large and daunting task.   “Don’t just stand there, do something!”

The thinking is that something is better than nothing.   If you have a yard full of maple trees and a lot of leaves that have fallen, don’t just stand there, do something.    It doesn’t matter what, where or how you do it, but start tackling the problem.” 

If you have 57,000 diapers that need to be loaded on a container, “don’t just stand there, do something” applies very well.

There are many other situations where doing “anything” is better than doing nothing.

But I would like to bring up an alternative theory.   What if “Don’t just stand there, do something!” is backwards?

What if doing something is actually worse than doing nothing?

What if rushing in causes more harm than good?

What if “do something” causes the problem to continue and has no long term positive results?

Instead, I think the saying should be, “Don’t do something, just stand there…….”

Just stand there and read about the culture.  And realize that unless you are working in your own neighborhood, you don’t know the culture, you don’t know the background and it would be presumptuous to assume that you do.

Just stand there and learn from the experienced people (note, I didn’t call them experts, just experienced).

Just stand there and ask some hard questions about the organization that you want to support, their goals, their financial information, their transparency and their experience levels.

Just stand there and think about how you would feel if someone from another country came and “did that” in your neighborhood.

Just stand there and pray about what God wants you to do.

Just stand there and think about why you want to do “this.”   Is it for your personal reasons?   Or is it what God has called you to?   Or is it………

Just stand there and look for God and try to see what He is up to.


And once you’ve stood there and thought, read, prayed, learned, analyzed and looked, then decide what God wants you to do and how to make a difference.

That’s when it’s time to “Do Something.”


May 292014

In an ongoing effort to be completely transparent on the progress of The Vulnerable Project, let me share a  couple of things with you:

  • I’m currently having discussions with a number of organizations about selling their goods online.   That’s in addition to the coffee (which, if you haven’t tried it, go to http://thevulnerableproject.org/store/ and click on Haiti and buy some Haitian coffee it is really good.   Those organizations and the goods they represent are literally from all over the world.
  • The coffee will soon be available for sale directly in  local restaurant with the possibilities of a number of additional restaurants and  coffee houses to be added.   If you know a coffee house that would like to talk about adding Haitian coffee, let me know.
  • The Vulnerable Project Grant Program and guidelines should be ready to roll out within the next week or two.    We don’t have a set date as to when we’ll begin accepting applications but it will give you good insight into what we plan on doing with that.
  • The new prayer ministry will hopefully be ready to launch soon as well.

God appears to be up to some exciting things and I hope you’ll join us as together we can work toward making a difference for the children if the world.


Tom Vanderwell