Sunday, October 3, 2010

Service Sunday

(Image of a mother and son at Lua Nova,
via Barefoot in the Kitchen, photo by Renato Stockler)

Every Sunday, I share with you ways to give service. Mostly they are ways to serve through sewing and crafting, because that is what I have a passion for, and it's a way to turn my hobbies into something more meaningful. I share opportunities with you hoping to inspire you and to show you that there are lots of ways to help. Obviously there's no pressure to participate. I don't participate in all of them. I'm certainly not perfect at service, but I give when I can. However, the service opportunity that I'm telling you about today has really touched my heart, and I will be participating in this one. Join me if you can :)

The detes:

I follow a blog called A Room Somewhere. On Friday, she posted about her amazing sister, Julianne, who travels around the world helping disadvantaged women. Currently Julianne is in Brazil, and in her own words, this is what she is doing (I lifted this from Julianne's other sister's blog. Julianne explains it best, so I hope she doesn't mind me re-posting this) :

"Lua Nova is a non-profit organization based outside of Sao Paulo, Brazil that houses and rehabilitates adolescent mothers in recovery from drug use, prostitution, homelessness, abuse, and abandonment. Many all of the above. The process of recovering from a drug addiction, forced prostitution or domestic abuse is already a challenge of Everest proportions, but couple such events with the fact that you are only 16, your family is almost entirely absent and abusive, and on top of everything you are now a mother.

How can you begin to heal from such a convolution of circumstances? How does one cope with forced motherhood borne out of trauma and violence? At such a young age? With the emotional health and stability of these mothers teetering in such precarious realms, the potential to be a fully engaged mother is muted or even non-existent. In most cases, the girls come to Lua Nova with no connection whatsoever to their children, as they themselves are in the process of recovering from horrific personal experiences of pain and suffering. Neglect is a huge issue: not only were the girls themselves neglected by their own families and impoverished communities, but now their own fragile psychological health renders it nearly impossible for them to care for their children in a meaningful way.

My role in the organization is to design a systematic therapy program to help the girls form a stronger bond with their kids. Help them break through their emotional trauma and bolster their capacity as mothers. Intimidating? Heavens yes. I do this by holding group support sessions with the girls to start building up their self-esteem and confidence as individuals and as mothers. The sessions I’m designing rely a great deal on art therapy and playful activities in order to help the girls connect and engage with the objectives of the project in an active way. I’m fighting apathy, shyness, anger, peer pressure and general mental instability in trying to steer the girls into caring for and engaging with this new life [and child] of theirs. A life without the crutch of drugs or violence. And one in which love and connection with a sweet new child is the new centerpiece. This is an opportunity for the girls to break out of the poverty cycle of drugs and abuse and begin life with a strong sense of purpose... It is not only the beginning of their childrens' lives, but also their own."

Pretty heart-rending, right? Over at her sister Stephanie's blog, you can find details on a project that they're working on that involves scrapbooking. If you're interested, jump on over by clicking HERE.

I was so moved by it all that I contacted Julianne and asked if they had a need for anything else. She told me that right now there are five pregnant girls, and though all their needs are covered, everything is communal and though usable, also very worn. She said that if I had the inclination/means, it would be so nice for the expectant moms to have some things for their babies - new things just for them. She thought it would help them get excited about having their babies and encourage bonding from birth. And I think she's right. Having some nice things for your baby does make the job of being a mom a little easier. So, I'll be getting together some things to send over, and thought I would just throw it out there if any of you would like to help as well...absolutely no pressure or anything :) They don't know the sex of any of the babies, so gender neutral would work, or if we could get together five things for girl babies and five things for boy babies, we could cover our bases and then they'd also have extra for any other babies that might be born. If you're interested, please let me know and I'll try and coordinate our efforts. We have until Christmas to get things together. I can't seem to get these girls out of my mind, and want to do everything I can to help them.
If you want to read more about Lua Nova, and Julianne's experiences, click HERE.

As always, have a happy Sunday :)


Candida Marie said...

i love this! an amazing cause that gives me a great opportunity to make more things!!! count me in, 5 girl and 5 boy things coming your way!!!!!

Heather - said...

Thank you so much Candida!!

Rhandi said...

Hey Heather, I linked to your blog via Candida's post. I would love to help and send you some things to go with your package. My email address is Could you email me the details and where you would like me to send things? I love that you post service every Sunday.