In my article last month, I reflected on how we as a community can respond after another mass shooting, this time at a school in Parkland, Florida.
At Faith Lutheran, we wondered how our prayers were calling us into action. We focused on intentionality with serving youth, especially in Forest Lake.
If everyone in worship did something specific to make life better for a child, imagine what could happen collectively by those efforts? Imagine if each of the people reading this newspaper today contributed a little bit!
A few stories about how to respond have emerged.
A father in our congregation, David Rachie, applied for a mission grant—money set aside for “spiritual entrepreneurs” to have capital to invest in partnerships in our community and around the world. David heard about a program in our school district and knew that this grant could serve an important need.
There’s a program called Rangers helping Rangers—a discreet food shelf in the high school and elementary school. The reason David wanted to back this program is because it's student led. David's daughter, Angelina, has stepped into a leadership role and helped promote this need to our congregation. One of the most important ways we can support these efforts is to help provide donations.
You can help—bring any of these items to Faith Lutheran (we’ll deliver it to the right place for you) or to the school directly. It doesn’t matter how it gets there—it matters that you are helping make a difference!
- Hormel Compleats (any meal variety)
- Beef Jerky
- Cereal Bars
- Fruit cup (individual servings)
- Applesauce (individual servings)
- Pasta in microwaveable cups
- Granola Bars
- Financial donations designated to “Rangers Helping Rangers”
When you get hungry, do you pay attention? Do you get “hangry”? We have heard anecdotal evidence from the local schools that students focus better on their studies and have fewer behavioral issues when they aren’t hungry!
A second issue of focus that is present with our youth, but is potentially a problem we see across all ages, is our addiction to screens.
Another member of Faith, Deborah Peterson, attended a documentary called “Screenagers.” The average kid spends 6.5 hours a day looking at screens. The film empowers kids to navigate the digital world and provides practical resources to do it. Peterson encouraged our Human Trafficking taskforce (a group devoted to raising awareness about trafficking prevention, especially in our area) to bring this resource to Forest Lake.
“At the Screenagers events I attended, I was impressed with the professional materials and resources provided,” said Peterson. “The lively discussions and questions from all attending was proof of the timely need in our community.”
Faith Lutheran (886 North Shore Dr) is hosting a showing of the film and panel featuring parents and teachers on Tuesday, April 17th at 6pm. It’s free to attend, but reservations are needed for space and dinner planning (we’ll have pizza). Let us know that you’re coming by completing a registration on the faithfl.org website. Screenagers is one of the featured events when you click on events in the middle of the homepage.
“I urge parents, educators, youth and grandparents to attend,” said Peterson.
These are just two simple things that YOU can do to provide direct help or to learn about how to support youth. There are many other ideas that you could do that will make a difference. Thank you for your continued commitment to supporting the youth of Forest Lake!
This blog is also a column in the Forest Lake Times