Little Lights Urban Ministries

2010 Fall Newsletter

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2  LITTLE LIGHTS URBAN MINISTRIES  FALL 2010 FALL ACADEMIC UPDATE Josie Ortega helps Mehki during Homework Club. On an unseasonably warm September afternoon in a room in the 1212 Units, a student sits at a table while his peers' voices ebb and flow in their writing activity room just beyond a closed door. On every wall surrounding 12 year old "Marcus" there are inspiring posters and famous quotes on the importance of character and serving others. Long-armed and legged, though not taller than my shoulder, Marcus' demeanor most of the time is gentle and quiet, and a bit melancholy. Almost always, his eyes look EMERGING LEADERS STEVE PARK This spring, Steve Park and part-time LLUM staff member Vince Campbell were accepted into the Christian Community Development Association's Emerging Leaders Cohort. CCDA is a respected national urban ministry association that supports grass-roots Christian community transformation. Steve and Vince join 21 other leaders nationwide in this two-year cohort to develop more effective leaders doing Christian community development. The first retreat took place in Mendocino, CA in July and training was provided by the President of CCDA Wayne Gordon and Executive Director Noel Castellanos. The next trip for Steve and Vince will be in January to Jackson, MS to meet and learn from John Perkins, one of the primary founders of CCDA. CCDA Restoring Under-Resourced communities: BETH DEWHURST right into mine for a split second need and meet them where they are whenever I greet him, and he smiles in far more specific and useful ways. behind his hand that usually moves to quickly cover his face. Marcus and I talk about how reading is a really, really complicated process On the table in front of him is an and that I know he is intelligent-assessment that I've just finished his reading level at the moment has apologetically explaining may nothing to do with how smart I know sound somewhat "little kid-like" know he is. But no matter how I try because I will have to ask him things to ease into finding out what we can like the names and sounds of let- do to support his time in Reading ters. We've talked about how he and Math Heroes with his tutor, the feels when peers around him read mere mention of where he's really at and he can't. Middle school is hard academically brings up a lot of pain enough, with any "difference" as for Marcus. In these few moments, possible grounds for teasing and Marcus has a big choice--wade into social exclusion--how much more the discomfort and allow me to do so for someone like Marcus? He the assessment or avoid it altogethknows at the start of the year we er. Thankfully, he cooperates with test to see where each student is so the assessment, with me encouragthat we can build an individualized ing him letter sound by letter sound learning plan, and continue to track at some points. By the end, he's in their progress. The difference this a pretty bad mood and ultimately year? New assessments designed needs to head home early. Soon to more deeply and thoroughly after he left, I called home and let diagnose what students like Marcus his grandfather know what led to EXCEL AWARD his emotions, and his grandfather agrees to talk with Marcus and his mom. Later, going over the results and comparing them to Marcus' special needs plan from his school, I see that there are lots of ways we can help Marcus move forward this fall and throughout the year. His tutor has also become his mentor. It's in the context of their trusting relationship that Marcus stands the best chance of risking enough of himself to try, to make mistakes, and to keep trying. I believe he will learn to read this year, and that it will be a critical turning point in his life--especially in how he feels about himself and what may be possible. How amazing that God has brought so many factors together in this one place and time to intervene in exactly the way Marcus needs. How amazing that we get to be a part of it. JOSIE ORTEGA Little Lights Executive Director Steve Park has been named a winner of the The Center for Nonprofit Advancement's sixth annual Gelman, Rosenberg and Freedman EXCEL Award. This award recognizes outstanding leadership among Washington-area nonprofit chief executives, whose organizations have an annual budget under $10 million. STEVE SHARES THIS HONOR WITH THE FOUR OTHER FINALISTS FOR THE 2010 AWARD: • • • • SCOTT BEALE ATLAS SERVICE CORPS (WINNER) MICHAEL CURTIN DC CENTRAL KITCHEN (WINNER) ANDREA POWELL (HONORABLE FAIR FUND (HONORABLE MENTION) KRISTINE THOMPSON CALVARY WOMEN'S SERVICES (HONORABLE MENTION) LLUM at The Center for Nonprofit Advancment's Annual Celebration. cess. The Award selection committee evaluated candidates on their leadership excellence in the areas of innovation, motivation, community building, inclusiveness/diversity and ethical integrity. The recipients of the 2010 Award were announced at the Center for Nonprofit Advancement's Annual Celebration & Meeting on November 9. The three award winners will each receive a $5,000 professional development account to be used for the individual's continued professional development. In addition, each recipient's organization will also receive a $2,000 grant to support the professional development of the organization's staff. Steve is honored to be in such excellent company! Little Lights Board Members Laura Ingalls and Michael Oh nominated Steve. The five finalists, and ultimately three winners, were selected from a record 41 nominations through a Way to go, Steve! The Little Lights competitive three-step judging pro- family is proud of you!! SINCE 1979, THE CENTER FOR NONPROFIT ADVANCEMENT HAS STRENGTHENED, PROMOTED AND REPRESENTED ITS MEMBER NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS THROUGHOUT THE WASHINGTON, D.C. AREA. WE CONNECT OUR MEMBERS TO THE TOOLS AND RESOURCES THEY NEED TO MEET THEIR MISSIONS.

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