Teens in Action: Blueberry’s Bows

Blueberry_1

This post has been a long time in the waiting. Allie graciously agreed to write a guest post several months ago, and actually sent this to me soon after I arrived in Texas. Thank you, Allie, for your patience in waiting for me to get this up!

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Hello! I’m Allie and am so excited to be sharing how ‘Blueberry’s Bows’ first started. I am sixteen years old, have five awesome sisters, and am a daughter of the one true King!

In August of 2013, I sat there and stared at the computer screen. I look at her face. Her big brown eyes jumped out at me. She wasn’t smiling and deep down I could tell she was longing for a family. Longing to be loved and treasured. Longing for someone to know her name. This is my sister Rosie. Abandon at five days old with a severe heart defect, Rosie was sent to the nearest orphanage in Zhongshan City, China. There she spent the first five years of her life. She suffered from lack of oxygen and had no intervention for her heart. We saw her picture and knew she was meant to be ours. So we began the paper chase. For the next six months we prayed and prayed and prayed. Each day her heart continued to grow worse. Finally on February 24, 2014 Rosie was officially ours. It was such a beautiful day!

We arrived home on my parents’ anniversary and began our lives as a family of six. Rosie fit in wonderfully and it was as if she had always been here. Her joyful smile and contagious spirit filled our house with many days of fun. On April 25, 2014, Rosie underwent heart surgery. It was a complicated surgery and the next day she started having issues. Rosie was then put on ECHMO (Heart/Lung bypass machine). She spent the next month fighting for her life. But on May 21st, 2014 (the day after her sixth birthday) she gained her angel wings and took her last breath here on this earth. We weren’t there for her first breath and heartbeat but we were there for her last. She didn’t die an orphan, she died as a treasured sister and a daughter. She was so LOVED.

Blueberry_2

After Rosie became an angel, I knew I wanted to do something to help other orphans like her. The fire had been ignited. So I started a blog. It began as a way to document and share Rosie’s story, but it has blossomed into so much more than that! Then my older sister {Marie} and I got to thinking. While Rosie was so sick in the hospital, she never had clothes on. So Marie and I began to make bows for her hair. It was something simple that would make her look more girly and cute. We then knew what we could do, sell bows and donate the money to orphans. With the money we’ve made from Rosie’s celebration and other events, we’ve been able to sponsor a little girl at New Day Foster Home. It makes my heart happy to see another little girl with complex CHD actually get the care she needs. Marie and I have set up an Etsy shop. I invite you to check it out. Here are some pictures from the bows we currently have for sale. We named our shop Blueberry’s Bows because Rosie’s fingers were always so blue and a nurse nicknamed her ‘Blueberry’. This shop is to honor her legacy by supporting other orphans who are like her.

Blueberry_3

Because of Rosie, my eyes were opened to see the need of orphans around the world. I now have two more sisters who were also from Rosie’s orphanage. It’s been over a year since Rosie left this earth, but I feel like her legacy continues to grow. As I hear from people who are touched by Rosie, I know this is just the beginning of the story that God is writing. I don’t know all the chapters, but I know that it’s all going to work out for HIS glory. Thank you for taking the time to read our story. I invite you to check out our bows and share them with others.

Beep, Allie

Stoptofindtherosies.blogspot.com

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Teens In Action: Earrings for Life

Earrings for Life

This ministry first came to my attention through a post on The Rebelution. As I was brainstorming ways of making Teens in Action posts more regular here on TIO, Brooke’s ministry popped to mind, and I messaged her on Facebook. This post is the result. Hope you enjoy what she has to say. Don’t forget to check out the earrings!

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When I was asked to write this blog post, the first thought that came into my head was “Me? What? Why? I’m not an author, surely I can’t blog!” But as I continued to think about what I wanted to write, I was reminded-that’s just it. God does not call the equipped, but equips the called! So, here’s a little bit about when God called me.

I am only sixteen now, but when I was eleven, I started making earrings. Because I was (and still am!) a little entrepreneur, I immediately thought of the basic idea to sell these hand-made earrings and give the money to my local crisis pregnancy center, which helps young women experiencing unplanned pregnancies. I began by selling a couple of pairs to my family—it was not much, but it was something, and I praised God for each dollar raised. After promoting my ministry, which I named Earrings for Life, through my church, I was able to raise about $100 in the first year, and I remember being absolutely thrilled!! And that was just the beginning….

To be honest, I would have never been able to dream about all of the things God has done through me. Fast forward almost five years from that day I started selling earrings, and I am still blown away. So far, God has used me to raise over $3,000 just by selling earrings for $5 per pair! I have gotten the amazing opportunity to speak at small meetings, large gatherings, and churches. Gratefully, I have been featured on a website where over seven thousand readers were able to learn about Earrings for Life! AND now I am being asked to write blogs, which is pretty crazy and so humbling!

I chose to raise money for crisis pregnancy centers because it is an organization that is very close to my heart. Young women and couples choosing to kill their children just because it was not their plan hurts me. These sweet little children had so much promise and future…but their mother decided to do what was most convenient for her. The awesome thing about the centers I donate to is that not only do they come alongside young mothers-to-be and encourage them to save their children’s life, but they also provide counseling, parenting classes, and financial aid.

In James 1:27, it says the following:

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

To me, living out this verse means to come alongside unborn children that have no one to fight for their lives and say to their mothers that these children are worth it. They are alive and deserve to live long lives!

Thank you so much to Leah, for allowing me to write for her awesome blog! If you would like to help support Earrings for Life, the most important thing you can do is pray for the ministry! Also, please check out the Facebook page–Earrings for Life—if you are interested in either contacting me or buying earrings. In addition, you can email me at earringsforlife@gmail.com. Thank you so much, and God bless!

~Brooke Graham

Sometimes when we don’t feel we have much to offer, we don’t do anything. But story after story shows that God can take our little and multiply it beyond anything we imagined. Can you think of some Bible stories where God took something small and turned it into something big? Share your thoughts and encouragements for Brooke below!

How To Use the Prayer Chains

Prayer ChainsThe Advocate & Pray posts on this blog are our most consistent and lasting feature. What kind of orphan care and adoption blog wouldn’t want to raise awareness for individual children in addition to discussing orphan care in more general terms? The very first post was about Aris, a deaf and mute little girl in Ethiopia. Of all the children shared, Aris is the one that rests most consistently on my heart and enters my prayers most frequently.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Prayer. Prayer is a word that gets batted around a lot, but is rarely given the attention, focus, or esteem it should be. Because of that, I’ll be making several posts about prayer this month.

One of the features of the bi-weekly Advocate & Pray posts is a prayer chain. The point of these is to wrap each particular child in daily prayer for the two weeks they are featured on the blog. Praying is an orphan care opportunity wide open to ever age group and demographic, and it’s one of the most important ministries you could apply yourself to.

So how do the prayer chains work? Let me walk you through the process.

This week’s Advocate & Pray child is Felicia. (She’s got an awesome smile in her profile pictures!)

  1. Start the process by reading about her and learning as much as you can from the limited information available. For example, Felicia is learning to stand on her own, is only partially sponsored, and needs a wheelchair. These are all things you can pray for.
  2. Click on the prayer chain link. This will bring you to a spreadsheet divided into time slots. Right now each 24 hour day is divided into 15 minute segments. Starting next week, we plan to reduce it to hour long segments to make the spreadsheet cleaner and less overwhelming.
  3. Sign up! Type your name into a slot to make a commitment to pray for the child for the next two weeks (or whatever remains of the child’s two week focus on TIO). NOTE: You don’t have to pray for the full time. You are simply committing to pray for the child sometime during your slot. Feel free to customize it. If 7pm works for you every day except Thursday because you have orchestra practice on Thursday, type something like “Leah Good, every day except Thursday.”
  4. Pray! Be diligent to pray for that child every day during your time slot for the period of time you signed up for. Keep your eyes open for another post offering ideas on how to pray for someone you know so little about.
  5. BONUS POINTS: Ask your friends and church to pray for the Advocate & Pray children too.

Do you have any questions about how this is supposed to work? Any suggestions for making it better?

P.S. Thank you so much to the 5 people currently signed up to pray for Felicia. This is the best week we’ve had in a while. 🙂

Making Notecards: A Few Ideas

Making Notecards (2)The idea of using cards as a tool for ministry keeps popping up here on TIO. First the post on being a correspondence sponsor through Compassion International and now the Valentine’s Day Card Challenge. In a day of e-mail and instant messaging, the extra time and thought that goes into a handwritten card can mean a lot–both to orphans and the people working on the front lines to care for them. Homemade cards put a cherry on top. Who doesn’t like to receive a handwritten, homemade card? To make things even better, there are very few barriers teens must surmount to participate in this type of ministry.

But wait. It might not be so easy. Card making requires creativity and crafting supplies, right? To some degree, yes. Every time I think about making homemade cards, I think of my friends’ special tools for stamping, embossing, precision cutting, inking… the list goes on. I own none of that. My card making supplies consist of scissors, cardstock, and some templates from an old Klutz card making kit. [Handmade Cards, the Klutz book/kit I’m talking about would be an easy way to get started (though rather expensive for a new kit with all the supplies).]

Lest you become paralyzed, as I often am, I pulled some easy ideas from Pinterest to get you started. If you don’t have rubber stamps, don’t worry about adding words. Also, a lot of cards use raised features for added pizzazz. You can just glue the raised pieces flat, or you can buy a package of them inexpensively on Amazon.

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Teddy Bear
View on Pinterest
If you click through to the directions for this card, you’ll find the nose is embossed, but cutting a paper nose out and gluing it on would be just as cute! And you could draw the eyes on instead of stamping them. Isn’t that little guy adorable?

Piano Keys
View on Pinterest
How hard would it be to cut and glue white and black paper to make this cute pattern? Even the hearts would be easy to cut out and clue on!

Button Down Shirt
View on Pinterest
You might have a hard time finding an envelop for this one, but making it looks like a breeze.

Heart Bunting
View on Pinterest
Take out your needle and threat for this one. It looks like the cards sold on Etsy might use fabric hearts, but you could sew paper to make a bunting just as easily.

Flower Garden
View on Pinterest
If you don’t have little 3-D stickers, you could use buttons or just paper circles for the center of the flowers.

Snowman
View on Pinterest
If you don’t have ribbon for the scarf, just use paper! Same for the beads the eyes are made of. To be honest, less dramatic 3-D might be easier to mail (and less likely to break in the mail) anyway.

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Think these ideas are still too complicated? You could always cut old calendars into card-size rectangles, glue white paper to the non-picture side, fold, and write. Or you could quarter fold printer paper and draw or trace your own picture directly onto the paper. The possibilities are endless.

If nothing handcrafted appeals to you, revert to store brought cards. To be honest, that’s what I use most of the time. A handwritten note in a store brought card is way better than no note at all!

Do you have more ideas for great handmade cards? Do you know of any children, adoptive families, or orphan care workers who could use a handmade card to brighten their day and encourage their hearts? Leave a comment to share your ideas!

 

Valentine Card Challenge

make one cards, for one child, change one life

Today we’re featuring a guest post from Crista Moriah at Uniquely Fashioned for His Glory. Some of you may already know about her challenge from her blog or her post on The Rebelution. As a commenter on The Rebelution said, this challenge is a brilliant way to turn one’s focus away from self and channel it into service this Valentines day. But, instead of continuing to talk about it myself, I’ll let you read what Crista has to say.

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Jesus broke my heart into so many tiny pieces when I learned of the imprisoned children of Uganda.  I read over my dad’s shoulder the story of how a ministry Sixty Feet was born to serve these orphans and bring them restoration and hope in Jesus’ name.  My life has never been the same since.

He captured me with a love that mirrored His.  It was fearless, bold, dreamed big, and knew no boundaries.  It was willing to do anything to be a voice, to defend these kids, taking the stance of an advocate.

You might say I fell in love with a country, a people even while they stretched oceans apart from me.  Jesus was my Matchmaker, pairing me up with who I needed.  Only He could arrange something so perfect.

A few weeks ago, He leaned in close.  Whispering a whimsical, beautiful idea gently to my heart: Cards.  Bright, hope filled messages that would serve to spread His love to the world.  To orphans.

On my first trip to Uganda, cards brightened the day of many lives in the prisons.  I knew how much they would mean to these orphans.  It made me realize just how tender, how compassionate is the heart of our God.  The Father to the fatherless, Helper of the orphan reaching down with a simple way to tell them “I love you.” My heart thrills at the thought.

That’s what brought about this Valentine Card Challenge: 1,400 Cards by Feb. 14th.

 There are approximately 200 children in each prison and 7 prisons exist in Uganda.  That means in order for every child to receive a card, we need 1,400.

Please be the balm of healing to these broken hearts.  Share God’s love letting it spill out of your hearts and onto the pages of just one card, for one child, to change one life. We are called to do this. God calls anyone who considers the helpless blessed.

This is my Valentine Card Challenge to you.

Will you take it, for one?

Here’s what to do:

1. Make a simple card(s) with the John 3:16 verse written out, and “God loves you” or in Lugandan you could put “Jesu Okwagala”; sign your name. Please have your brothers & sisters make one, your friends, parents, family, people at your church.  Anyone can help participate to meet our goal.

2.Write “Valentine Card Challenge” on the back of the envelope. (If you have a lot of cards, just send it in a large envelope or box. )

Address & send to the ministry SixtyFeet:

Sixty Feet Inc.
2451 Cumberland Parkway
Suite 3526
Atlanta, Georgia 30339

3. In order to keep a tally, please comment on this post or under “Contact Me” telling how many cards you sent in.

Also, please feel free to share this on your own blog, through email, Pinterest, whatever you like.

That’s it!  Three simple steps that can change the world with God’s love.  All it takes is ordinary people willing to do what He asks of them to make an extraordinary difference in the lives around them and across the globe.

~*~

So, what do you think? Will you send a card (or two … or three … or more)? Let me know if you do!

5 Ways Teens Can Help Orphans (an overview)

5 Ways Teens Can Help Orphans (an overview)Last week I posted a request for feedback from the readers of TIO. I wanted to know what you do and don’t like about the blog, and what you would like to see more of. (I still do want that feedback, so please stop by that post and leave a comment!) One reader said she prefers posts that include specific ways to help. I agree with her! That’s what I would want too. It’s also the type of post I have the hardest time generating. If you have ideas in this area, please share them with me!

In the meantime, here’s a quick review of some ideas that have been posted here in the past.

1. Advocate and Pray. Every other week, Monica posts a new child who is orphaned and need prayer and support. There is a prayer chain you can click on and sign up for a fifteen minute prayer slot for that child. You don’t have to pray the whole fifteen minutes (though you certainly could if you wanted to!). By signing up, you simply commit to pray for that child sometime during your slot every day for two weeks. This is such an easy way to get involved, and it’s so important. I’d love to see more people participating in this ministry. You can also use these posts as a springboard to advocate for specific children. One of the powerful things about the internet is how fast information can be sent from person to person. You can harness that power to help orphans by asking others to pray and consider finding ways to help the specific children shared.

2. Fundraise. Helping financially can be a sore spot for teenagers. With little or no steady income of our own, helping orphans through financial means can seem like a closed door. But it’s not! Earlier this year I did a series of posts titled Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Resources). Whether you want to help a family with adoption expenses, sponsor a child, support a ministry, create care packages, or send presents, fundraising can open those doors to you.

3. Help TIORunning this blog takes a lot of work. If you feel that it is effectively helping teens help orphans, you can help orphans by helping out with TIO. I’m always grateful for help, and hopefully you would bless others through your efforts.

4. Write Letters. A post about being a correspondence sponsor for Compassion International recently met with a lot of enthusiasm from readers of TIO. To borrow the old saying, there is a lot of power in the pen. Writing letters to orphans, children living in poverty, or the missionaries ministering to them can be a great way for teens to get involved.

5. Be a Catalyst. Use your enthusiasm to get other’s involved! Brainstorm with people at your church for how you can join together to help orphans. The Bible says that God’s people are a body. Each member plays a different role, and all the roles are essential in caring for orphans. Your role might just be to exhort and encourage others to start doing.

6. (Surprise! An extra.) Support Teens Already HelpingThis past year, TIO was privileged to feature several young people who are working hard to help orphans. If you’re struggling to “reinvent the wheel,” why not throw yourself into helping someone else? I think you’ll discover some pretty exciting possibilities if you visit or re-visit these stories.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. It’s just a review of things ideas already covered on this blog.

What other practical ways could teens get involved? Do you know of “any teens in action” that we could feature here? I need your help finding them!

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens: Resources

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens Resources It’s been fun to spend the last few Fridays exploring how teens can financially support orphans. The fundraising ideas are truly endless. Just type “Fundraising Ideas” into Google and you’ll find enough content to keep you busy for hours.

I could continue listing ideas here, but I think the past few posts have enough to get you started. If any of you implement the ideas discussed in these posts, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment or use the contact form to send me an email.

To close out this series on Teens and Money, I’d like to leave you with a few resources you can either use yourself or recommend to adopting families. All of these resources are meant for adopting families, but I think they can be useful either way.

Adopt without DebtAdopt Without DebtThe handy little book has TONS of fundraising ideas and how-tos. The first half of the book focuses on how to get out debt, budget, and save money. The second half is devoted to all those fundraising ideas. I really enjoyed reading through all of them. Next time someone I know is planning to adopt and needs to fundraise, I’ll definitely recommend or gift this book to them. It’s fairly short, so it isn’t a burden to get through reading it.

Blog Posts:
Since money is the number one reason interested families never pursue adoption, many adoption blogs do posts on how to fundraise. Most of the ideas could be used to raise funds for any sort of orphan care, not just adoptions. Here are a few posts that I’ve stumbled across and liked.
The Ultimate List of Adoption Fundraisers, from Walking By The Way
30+ Fun Ideas for Fundraisers to Fund Your Adoption Process!, from Catching Up With Kate
22 Ways to Raise Funds for Your Adoption, from No Hands But Ours

Many of the suggestions on each blog post overlap with the suggestions on the others. They all bring some unique ideas and perspectives, though.

What Other’s Are Doing:
Just for fun, I thought I’d share some “Rebelutionary” projects and fundraisers other teens have undertaken. Not all of them are for orphans, but they’re inspirations for what teens can accomplish.
Broken Chords Benefit Concert (Human Trafficking)
Dollar for a Drink (Well Digging)
One Dress. 100 Days. For Orphans. (Orphan Care)
Save a Korean Refugee (Refugees)
Walk/Run4Freedom (Human Trafficking)
Gifts of Grace by Emily (Orphan Care)
Project Hope for Yuri (Orphan Care)
Bringing Christmas to Orphans (Orphan Care)
Everlasting Hope (Orphan Care)
Earrings of Life (Pro-Life)

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens (part 3)

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens (part 3)So far in this series we’ve talked about how being a teenager can be a benefit to financially supporting orphan care. We covered five ways to make money for orphans. And I shared some lessons I’ve learned from fundraising. Today I’d like to share a few more ideas for ways to raise money for orphans. After all, that’s the hard part, right? You know that you want to help orphans. You know that ministries and adoptive families need money. But figuring out how to go from desire to action can be difficult. Please enjoy part three of the Teens and Money series.

5 More Ways You Can Raise Money for Orphans

  1. Have a garage sale (tag sale, yard sale … whatever you call it in your neck of the woods). I do not live in a family of tag sale enthusiasts, so I don’t have very much personal experience with this idea. Lots of adopting families have experienced great success with them, though, raising anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than five thousand dollars! Ask friends and family to donate the stuff they want to get rid of and, if you don’t live on a busy road, see if someone who does is willing to partner with you and host the sale. This sounds like one of the more labor intensive fundraising options, but also one of the highest potentials for profit. Check out 10 Tips for a Successful Adoption Yard Sale Fundraiser.
  2. Ask people to fill baby bottles with change. Our local crisis pregnancy center does this regularly. People take the baby bottles home for a set period of time and fill them up with loose change (or bills and even checks if they’re feeling very generous). At the end of the time, everyone returns their filled bottles and the ministry gets the money inside of them. You might not think this would raise much, but that change piles up prettyquickly when people include dimes and quarters. You could get creative and use containers besides baby bottles too. Maybe crayons if you’re raising money for school supplies or make personalized money banks for your project.
  3. Get sponsored. Both Hands is a ministry that facilitates adoption fundraising by ministering to widows. Families find a widow who needs help repairing. They then recruit a team of workers to come help fix up the widows home. The workers get people to sponsor their day of service and the money raised goes to the family’s adoption expenses. You don’t have to use particular model of course. It’s the same concept that feeds into a walk-a-thon or similar charity event. I kind of like the idea of getting sponsored to do something service related instead of just walking, jogging, swimming, etc.
  4. Host a Raffle. Buy something nice to raffle off, get people to donate raffle items, or make the items yourself. You can host raffles at parties, church events (if your church is okay with it, of course), blogs, on facebook … the options are as varied as you are creative. 😉 You could put together gift baskets, buy or obtain donated gift cards, or make a quilt to raffle off. You can buy raffle tickets pretty inexpensively on Amazon.
  5. Donate Your Birthday. This idea (along with some of the others I’ve listed) is also included on the Ways to Help page. If you click through, you’ll find links to organizations that will guide you through the process of organizing your birthday to support their specific goal. You don’t need the help of an organization to do this, though. When I turned nine I asked my friends to bring baby clothes and other items for our crisis pregnancy center. It was a great experience, and you’ll be hard pressed to find an easier fundraiser. You could ask friends and families to bring actual items (like the baby clothes) or cash.
  6. Bonus Idea! Create Your Own “Ice-Bucket Challenge.” With the fundraiser for ALS still sweeping the country in massive proportions, it’s hard not to think of fundraising without imagining people dumping ice-water over their heads. It might be fun to think up a similar challenge to raise money for orphan care. It probably won’t take the world by storm, but you and your friends could enjoy it. You might want to let people recover from the ice-water first, though. 😛

Which of these fundraising ideas appeals most to you? Do you have any more ideas to add to the list?

Previous Posts in this Series

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens (part 1):
Why teens are in a good place to support orphans financially and 5 Ways to Raise Money for Orphans.

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens (part 2):
Lesson’s I’ve learned that might help you overcome your fear of fundraising.

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens (part 2)

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens (part 2)Last Friday we explored the idea that teens are actually in a pretty good place to financially support orphan care and adoption. We also examined five ways teens can raise money to help orphans. If you missed that post, check out Orphans, Fundraising, & Teens (part 1). This is part two of the Teens and Money series.

~*~

Fundraising might be a scary word to you. To be perfectly honest, it scares me too. I’m the type of person who prefers to do things on my own. Being self-sufficient makes me feel confident and secure. Asking for monetary help makes me feel vulnerable and needy.

This year I got bumped out of my comfort zone twice. The first time was at the beginning of the year when my brother and I were encouraged to send out letters informing church family and friends that we hoped to go on a missions trip and asking if they would like to partner with us. I didn’t want to do it, but after encouragement from my parents, I did. In a few short months, all of our expenses were covered.

This month my family and I were awed again as friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers poured their support into a Kickstarter campaign for my novel, Counted Worthy.

My point in sharing these stories isn’t to prove that I’m good at fundraising. I’m not saying you need to send out letters or run a campaign to raise money for orphans. What I would like to share is two lessons I learned from these two experiences.

1. Have a partnership perspective.

In my initial balking stage about sending out letters for our missions trip, I stumbled across an article that really made me think. In the article, several missionaries answered the question, “Is there any way other than begging for support?” One missionary said,

You do the work for them, you keep them informed and you pray for them. On the other hand, they pay for your joint ministry, they pray for you and your joint ministry, and they help you recruit for your joint ministry. The word supporter should be replaced in our vocabulary and also in our attitudes with the word partner.

another said,

[It] is not about “donors” giving and missionaries receiving. It recognizes that both missionary and financial partner give into the ministry and both receive blessing, joy, and reward in return.

2. Many hands make lighter work.

Over the course of the two fundraisers I’ve worked on this year, it’s been amazing to see how quickly contributions pile up. My Kickstarter campaign drew 53 backers who pledged an average of $33 each to raise $1,775. Whether you are raising or contributing money, even small amounts can make a big difference.

How can you apply these lessons?

So, how can you apply these lessons? Raising money to contribute to orphan care and adoption is a lot different than fundraising for a missions trip or running a Kickstarter campaign.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether you’re running a basic fundraiser, setting up a craft sale, or learning to sell items online, don’t be afraid to ask for help! That might mean asking people to give financially. It might mean asking your friends to make crafts with you or help you run a table. It might mean asking a parent or adult to teach you how to list things on Amazon. Christians are called a family for a reason. All the members are meant to work together.
  2. Encourage adopting families to ask for help. Adopting families think the same way the rest of us do. They feel the same inhibitions about asking for help. If you know a family who is adopting, be enthusiastic about offering help. Try to reassure them that they’re not imposing or being a drag if they ask for help.
  3. Don’t underestimate your impact. Everyone’s role is important. You might not be able to adopt yet, but your prayers and encouragement vital components of bringing orphans into families. You might not be able to go overseas to work in an orphanage, but the people who are overseas need people here to spread the word about their work. Even if you aren’t able to donate large sums of money, remember that many hands make lighter work. You’re making the load that much lighter for everyone else involved.

Do you have any thoughts or personal experiences in this area? Can you think of any other practical applications of the lessons I shared in this post?

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens (part one)

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens (part 1)

Part one of the Teens and Money series.

As teenagers, many of us bemoan our lack of cash. How can we help with money intensive orphan care activities like child sponsorship, charity donations, and adoption support?

These concerns are valid, but we miss an important part of the picture when we focus on this line of thought. We forget to realize that most adults don’t have excessive spare cash either. What’s more, adults have to worry about paying for bills, supporting families, paying mortgages, and so much more. As teens, most of us don’t have those responsibilities yet. We’re also rich in something most adults aren’t. Time.

Yes, I know. We’re all busy. We have sports practice, school, homework, party invitations, maybe even a part time job. Even with all that, we usually have more time. We know we can be more productive if we really try. That homework might go faster if you skipped the social media rabbit trails, and while parties are fun, we don’t have to say yes to all of them.

So, it turns out that we’re not in such a bad place to be financial supporters of adoption and orphan care after all. We have fewer responsibilities and more time. To top it off, most teens have more energy than adults. Just check out this verse from Proverbs.

The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head. –Proverbs 20:29

So how do we turn our relatively free and energetic teen years into opportunities to support orphan care and adoption? Here are some ideas for how you can raise money.

Five Ways You Can Make Money for Orphans5 Ways You Can Make Money for Orphans

  1. Normal teenager jobs. It seems like the majority of industrious teens have turned to jobs like lawn mowing, babysitting, leaf raking, and snow shoveling as early sources of income. When people know their money will be going to a charitable cause, they’ll be even more willing to hire you. You can go beyond these “normal” ideas as well. Several of my friends have earned good money cleaning houses, teaching music lessons, and tutoring. Put your skills to work!
  2. Craft Sales and Etsy. Several years ago when friend of ours were starting their second adoption journey, a few of my friends and I put together a craft sale so we could help with their expenses. It wasn’t fancy. We sold hair scrunchies, paper boxes of candy, and Christmas ornaments at our homeschool group’s Christmas party. The $50 we earned didn’t look like much against the $30,o00 adoption fees, but when lots of people give small amounts, it piles up fast! Gifts of Grace is an etsy shop run by teenager Emilie Hockman. She’s currently donating her earnings towards an adoption.
  3. Fundraisers. I often see sports teams and charities hosting car washes and bake sales to raise money. There’s no reason teens can’t use one of these tried and tested fundraising techniques. One neat idea I’d love to try someday is a gift wrapping station around the holidays. So many people dislike wrapping Christmas presents. How cool would it be to do gift wrapping instead of car washing?
  4. Selling Door-To-Door. Don’t panic. I did this when I was pretty young (11 or 12) and had a lot of fun with it. Being a young person can be an advantage for this. People are less likely to turn away a fundraising teenager than an adult doing door-to-door marketing. I used Dutch Mill Flower Bulbs when I did it years ago and earned around $250. I’ll bet an older teen with a more strategic approach and charitable cause could earn a lot more. A quick Google search reveals lots of other fundraising companies providing items like chocolate and gift wrap instead of flower bulbs.
  5. Sell on Amazon or Ebay. Rebelutionary Megan Cupit wrote an article explaining how her family started selling books on Amazon and giving the proceeds to the Bible League. They raised more than $1,000 in just five months. You can read her article to find out how they did it.

Does the large price tag attached to orphan care and adoption scare you? Have you done any fundraising activities to raise money for orphans or other causes? Do you think you can implement any of the ideas presented in this post?

Do you have any questions about raising money to help orphans, how to chose who to donate to, or anything else related to this topic? Ask in the comments below and I might devote a future post to your question!