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Showing posts from June, 2009

The Nine Strong Women of Newark

Nine Strong Women Reach their First Milestone
By Dave Kerr

Who would think that the Bloods and the Crips could ever be friends? In fact they are and they are working together as part of a new gang called ‘The Council’ to help other gang affiliated individuals return home from prison in a safe way. Two members of The Council, Jessica (Jayda) a Blood gang leader, and the man she loves, Creep, a Crip gang leader have become partners in their street work. Love not only produced a baby between them but created the strength and compassion to begin a challenging gang prevention program with nine young high school women from the Newark Schools. Notwithstanding the reports to the contrary from the school, Jessica sees the strength, intelligence, creativity and beauty in these nine young women. They have responded to her leadership and high expectations for them and have changed their focus and their lives to see the importance of graduating high school and even going on to college.


Oprah Winfrey and Shalom?

Dr. J-P Duncan, one of our national trainers, alerted me to the Oprah Winfrey/Crow Creek Nation connection to Wodakota Shalom Community--our newest shalom site.

Oprah's group "Angel Network" support's the organization and their work on the Crow Creek Reservation with Tree of Life ministry and Wodakota Shalom, led by site coordinator Peter Lengkee.

Peter made a video about the plight of the Crow Creek reservation about a year ago (before the shalomzone training began) and sent it to Can Do , and they responded with volunteer support to help build a community center.

Here are two video clips about the Crow Creek reservation and the work of Peter Lengkeek of Wadokota Shalom:'s assessment and call to action Oprah's connection

I plan to visit Peter and Wadokata Community of Shalom next weekend.

Michelle Obama and Shalom

What is the connection between Michele Obama and Shalom?

Well, its indirect. Both Communities of Shalom and the First Lady share the same approach to community development work: ABCD

In a recent speech, she refers to Public Allies and the principles and practices developed by John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann of the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute at Northwestern University as a shaping influence on her view of community building. McKnight and Kretzmann and the Institute are also the source of our ShalomZone Training units on ABCD. Here are some excerpts from her speech:

Office of the First Lady

For Immediate Release June 16, 2009

Renaissance Hotel, Washington, D.C.

My time at Public Allies also gave me the opportunity to work with John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann, who developed the Asset-Based Community Development approach to neighborhood development, and that really influenced how we …

Village Well Project and Shalom

What is the connection between WorldHope Corps, Drew University and Shalom?

Photo-journalist turned lawyer, Robert Schwaneberg’s article on WorldHope Corps Village Well project in Malawi is linked to Drew University’s website from HEALTH REFORM WATCH--A Web Log of the Seton Hall University School of Law under the title:

“Well Worth the Wait”
NGO led by Drew prof. brings clean water to rural Africa

WorldHope Corps, Inc. is the NGO I started and volunteer for in Malawi. Its local ministry partner is the Mzuzu Circuit of the United Methodist Church which is starting a new ShalomZone focused on orphan care and village wells.

Drew student interns, Claire Colcord and Christian Ciabonu, are currently in Malawi assisting the Shalom team start the new Community of Shalom.

Zowe and Euthini villages are part of the Mzuzu circuit of the UMC.

Mike Bond, one of the team members on a recent WorldHope Corps mission trip to Malawi, is funding a new village well and is profiled and photographed …

The Speech Heard ‘Round the World'

"Around the world, we can turn dialogue into interfaith service, so bridges between peoples lead to action -- whether it is combating malaria in Africa, or providing relief after a natural disaster....If we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward. And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country -- you, more than anyone, have the ability to reimagine the world, to remake this world." -Barack Obama, Cairo, Thursday, June 4, 2009.

Early in his speech, Barack Hussein Obama clearly identified himself as a Christian, while also acknowledging his Muslim family heritage. Embodied in his personal story is a path of reconciliation of apparent opposites. Boldly and brilliantly, he spoke the truth in love about Jewish suffering and Israel's right to a secure homeland, as well as Muslim oppression and the Palestinian and right to an independent state, and the need for mutual understanding, compromise and reconciliation. In …


Many people ask what they can do to make a difference in Malawi. Here is a menu of some of the ways Friends of Mzuzu can support WorldHope Corps' mission in Malawi:

Provide five Singer sewing machines for Dress-making business at UMC $500

Provide 50 chickens for egg and meat micro-business $250

Provide a Hope Scholarships for Malawian youth in HopeHome program $500

Dig another community well in remote village without clean water source $10,000

Sponsor a child in the HopeHome program $100/month

Contribute to the Village Well Fund any amount will help

Contribute to the HopeHome Fund any amount will help

Contributions can be made online at

Elaine's Reflections

Words cannot express the look of thankfulness in the eyes of an African woman, a child strapped around her back, or a wide-eyed running and grinning child , or the gracious and proud manner of the tribal chiefs as they willing show you the 100 meter deep bore-holed well, which in just one year has saved 300 lives in Magalasi,(meaning “smooth glass), a village of 700 people located in an area known as Kamphenda.

As we visited 2 other wells in this same area, the second being Sinjiliheni,(1100 people), and Bululuji the home of 1100, the emotion of hope filled my soul and a smile crossed my heart as each time people living in extreme poverty were so grateful for the gift of cool, disease free, drinking water from a bore-hole commissioned well.

Each village presented an unique characteristic of its people. Magalasi presented a woman as one of their chiefs! This was a never-before experience for all, especially for Dr. Christensen. Sinjiliheni, with its beautifully well kept gardens, throu…


From the First Presbyterian Church of Pitman, NJ:
$536 for Village Well Fund
$415 for Orphan Care Program
$115 misc checks for Village Well Fund

From team members: $800 for
400 Toothpaste for prisoners
400 tooth brushes
400 bars of soap

Clare, Elaine, and Helen donated large collection of school supplies (pencils, paper, crayons, books, highlighters, construction paper, colored pencils, sharpeners, chalk, scissors, notebooks, flashcards, and markers) ($300; 9 Calculators - 4 prisoners, 5 to HopeHome children) ($95), and 11 soccer balls with pumps ($55).

Handed out over 250 greeting cards made by American children
Handed out small toys (plastic balls, harmonicas, balloons, bubbles = $50)
Handed out 25lbs of chocolate candies (approximately $150-$200)
Donated 20 hand-made baby blankets to Ministry of Hope (approximately $200-250)
Donated 10 sets of stationery paper to various churches ($50)
Donated 26 hygiene/make-up kits x $10 = $260
Donated over-the-counter medical supplies to Zowe ($100)
14 Bl…