B-SAFE 2019

What is B-SAFE?

B-SAFE is a ministry of the Diocese of Massachusetts that impacts a huge number of under-privileged youth. This year, Grace and other parish partners served over 500 young people, 160 teen staff, and 90+ adult staff. During our week as a B-SAFE parish partner (July 22-26, 2019), more than 25 volunteers of all ages from the Grace community came out to help. Thank you for all your hard work, and we look forward to being a partner congregation again next year!

A selfie of some of our amazing 2019 volunteers!

A letter from the coordinator of B-SAFE

Dear B-SAFE 2019 Partners,
Whoot, we did it!!

B-SAFE 2019–our 20th (!) Anniversary summer of B-SAFE–was a HUGE success for our whole community: young people, staff, families and you, our partners! Your time, energy, talents, and energy helped to make all of the magic happen!
B-SAFE is about community and relationships.
Our collective effort and the attention and care you shared during B-SAFE were a big part of building this community of love, reconciliation, and hope.

B-SAFE is about working together.

  • You menu-planned, shopped, cooked, plated, fed, read, chatted, gardened, and played music and games.
  • You planned for rain, prayed for sun, roller skated, led worship, picked blueberries, made art, hula-hooped, relay-raced and scheduled field trips to range of places.
  • You helped us build community together. In these times when stories of separation and divisiveness are lead news reports, you created Good News stories of connection through B-SAFE.

B-SAFE has a real impact.

  • We served about 37,000 meals, with 17,500 being lunches provided by partners. That is not a typo!
  • About 300 volunteers from partner organizations–including nearly 50 partner churches and two interfaith networks–fed 500+ young people, 160 teen staff and 90+ adult staff.
  • We organized about 55 full-day field trips (most thanks to partners), plus over 100 half day trips.

B-SAFE collects those stories!
Want to see some amazing photos and read some great anecdotes?
Please follow us on Instagram or Facebook and read our blog to see lots of awesome stories and photos of our time together.

The B-SAFE spirit keeps going!
St. Stephen’s Youth Program’s academic and enrichment programs run year-round. During the school year, SSYP runs after-school programs every school day, as well as college and career programs for teens, and has a vibrant partnership at the Blackstone School right across the street from St. Stephen’s (where our partnership of partners runs the school library). Might you consider volunteering with us during the school year, too?
Volunteering can fit your schedule and interests.

  • you can volunteer on your own or with a group;
  • you can volunteer once a year or twice a week, and lots in between;
  • you can volunteer during the school day, after school or in the evening;
  • you can volunteer with young people and young adults of nearly any age, from ages 5-25.

June 2019 High School Service Trip A Great Success!

During the last week of June, four high school students from Grace traveled to the Noble View Outdoor Center in Russell, MA to partner with the Appalachian Mountain Club for a few days of trail work.

What makes trail work a worthy service trip? As Episcopalians, we hold that caring for creation is a key part of our responsibilities as Christians. In our diocese, we have even added a sixth question to our Baptismal Covenant: “Will you cherish the wondrous works of God, and protect and restore the beauty and integrity of all creation?” to which we respond, “We will with God’s help.”

Grace helped construct a new section of trail at Noble View, making the trail safer, more ecologically sustainable by increasing its resistance to erosion, and more accessible for the thousands of people who walk the trails each year.

We also were trained in Leave No Trace outdoor ethics by a certified Master Trainer. While Leave No Trace is a secular program, the values that it espouses were a great launch point for further discussion about creation care and why we spent a few days working hard in the heat with very heavy tools!

I can’t wait to bring another group of teenagers to Noble View this year, and if their final feedback about the trip was any indication, I think I’ll have a few repeat volunteers!

 

 

 

 

Fall 2019 NBARC Update

Grace’s work in assisting asylum seekers continues through our membership in the interfaith organization, NBARC (Newton Brookline Asylum Resettlement Committee). Together with volunteers from five other congregations, we have been helping individuals and families who are fleeing persecution in other countries due to their race, religion, nationality, social group, or political opinion.

Over the past year we have supported seven family groups from seven different countries. Of those seven families, four have moved from homeless dependency to complete self-sufficiency.

  • Most recently, the young Yazidi family whose toddler was severely burned in a Syrian refugee campfire, has moved on. They were housed for more than a year in host family’s home while the child received treatment at Shriners for his burns. Now they are renting an apartment in a close-knit Yazidi community in Lincoln, Nebraska. The father has a driver’s license, he is finding employment, and the family’s spirits are high.
  • The single mother from Cameroon and her three-year-old are now living independently in the Burlington area.
  • The young woman from Ecuador, mother of two children, one of whom was born under NBARC’s watch, has joined her husband in Haiti.
  • The Ethiopian family of four is now living independently in Malden where the two young boys are in school and the father is employed in a software company in Burlington.

These four success stories are a tribute to the contribution of time, resources, and financial support from the Grace community, together with volunteers from the five other NBARC congregations. Many thanks for all that you have done so far.

There is more to be done. The numbers of asylum seekers have grown in recent months, and the difficulties they face have grown as well.

Currently NBARC is supporting three more families in host homes in Newton.

  • We have a single mother from Kenya who is housed with a Newton Center host family and has been receiving job training through Jewish Vocational Services. She just obtained her work authorization so that she can seek employment while her daughter is in preschool.
  • Another young woman from Uganda is living with a host family in West Newton and working to obtain enough money for her own apartment.
  • Our third client is a young woman from Colombia whom many of you have met and welcomed over the summer when she attended Grace. She is also housed here in Newton and hopes to continue her education toward a degree in psychology if and when her asylum status is approved.

NBARC’s goal is to provide support for as many asylum seeking families as possible. Our most urgent need is for host housing. Once we have established a place for a family or single person to live, then we can determine what other needs must be met: clothing, access to food pantries, community resources, job training, ELL tutoring, and friendly support.

B-SAFE at Grace Church

If you weren’t helping out with B-Safe on today, you missed an exciting day at church!! We hosted the campers from St. Mary’s, Dorchester for games, drumming, a book fair, BBQ lunch, face painting, and, oh yes, a circus performance courtesy of the Moody Street Circus School in Waltham. Thanks to all who helped make this fun day possible, whether by flipping burgers or doing splits in mid-air!!

To learn more about B-SAFE, visit their website

Film & Pizza, Discussion & Prayer

On Friday, June 16th from 6pm – 8:30, the Social Action Committee and Grace Youth Group will be co-hosting a screening of the documentary “13th” about race, justice and mass incarceration.  We’ll have dinner while watching the film, hold space for conversation and close the evening with a quick Compline service.

Thanks,
– Tom

Thank you from St. John’s, Beverly Farms & NUDay Syria!

Thank you from St. John’s, Beverly Farms & NUDay Syria!

We gathered 3 huge bags of crafting and school supplies for the Lenten and Easter collection for NUDay Syria.  Gail and Terry from St. John’s were so grateful, and are hoping to come back to Grace to talk about their ministry towards such an important and timely cause.

pictured above: Gail, Terry and Tom at the collected goods handoff on Saturday