Pay It Forward | May

Coming off the heels of National Infertility Awareness Month in April and heading into a sensitive holiday such as Mother’s Day, I decided I would focus this month’s Pay It Forward on one of the coolest organizations out there.

A little background…

Like I mentioned a couple times on the blog, I don’t often write about our struggle to conceive. It’s not because I am ashamed or don’t want people to know, it’s actually that more times than not, I just don’t have the words. It is so hard to be in this place where you feel like you can’t DO anything to MAKE something happen. It is a hard place to be in, but I’ve realized over time, it is also a place of freedom.

Freedom might seem like a really strange way to describe what we’ve been going through, but over the last 3+ years, I feel like Jay and I have come to a place where we have realized that we can’t force anything to happen. I cannot make a baby…I mean, technically we can, but other than doing the “deed” and trying all other pieces of “advice” or “remedies” or “this worked for me”…I cannot actually make a baby. Realizing that I cannot FORCE anything to happen has brought me to a place that frees me from the pressure and a place of full disclosure and hope to the One, my God, who CAN make babies. In this new found freedom, and still without child, Jay and I have started exploring other avenues.

Possibly adoption…possibly foster care…but what if there is something different, something out of the norm that God has planned for Jay and I?? What if we are supposed to be Resident Advisors for a boarding school? What if we are supposed teach in a foreign country? What if we are called to live and work for an orphanage? What if we are called to be house parents?

House parents?? Enter Boys Town.

A Little History

In 1917, a young, immigrant priest from Ireland had grown discouraged in his work with transient, homeless men in Omaha, Nebraska. So in December of that year, Father Edward J. Flanagan borrowed $90 from a friend to pay the rent on a drafty, downtown Victorian boardinghouse that became his first home for boys. Father Flanagan’s Home for Boys welcomed all boys, regardless of their race or religion, and youngsters from all over Omaha and beyond began showing up at the doorstep.

In July 2005, Father Steven E. Boes was appointed as Boys Town’s fifth and current Executive Director. Under Father Boes’ leadership, Boys Town has focused on implementing its unique Integrated Continuum of Care. Boys Town has developed a strategic plan around the Continuum with a goal of doubling the number of children and family we serve by 2012. Father Boes also is expanding Boys Town’s role in advocating change in the current child‑care system, which often offers fragmented and ineffective treatment.

Nonsectarian since its founding, Boys Town is one of the largest, publicly funded nonprofit child‑care agencies in the country, providing compassionate treatment for the behavioral, emotional and physical problems of children and families. In 2009, Boys Town served nearly 370,000 children and adults across the United States, Canada and the U.S. Territories and in several foreign countries.

The Village of Boys Town

The Village of Boys Town, incorporated as a Nebraska municipality in 1936, has its own police and fire departments, schools, churches, post office and ball fields – along with numerous historic venues.

At any given time, about 550 boys and girls live in the Village, receiving care and treatment for a wide range of behavioral, emotional and academic issues. The youth live in a regular home – typically eight kids to a residence – with a Family-Teaching couple who cares for and nurtures them in a program called Boys Town Treatment Family HomesSM. In this community of hope, boys and girls change their lives and prepare to go out into the world as confident people of good character.


A Day in the Life…Family-Teacher {currently tugging at my heart}

Family-Teachers are the backbone of Boys Town’s residential care programs. Family-Teaching couples live in Family Homes with six to eight youth, either boys or girls, 24 hours a day. The homes include separate quarters for the Family-Teachers and their own children.

A typical day in a Boys Town Family Home begins the same as for most families. The Family-Teaching couple ensures their youth have breakfast and are ready for school. But before they leave, the Family-Teachers engage the youth teaching interactions, where they learn social and relationship-building skills.

Youth may carry a point card to track positive points they earn for appropriate behavior and negative points for inappropriate behavior. When youth compile enough positive points for the day, they earn privileges like time on the computer or choosing a TV program. This system motivates youth to make good decisions because they lead to positive consequences.

During the day Family-Teachers complete reports, discuss youth-specific goals and tend to housekeeping necessities. They might take one of their youths to a doctor’s appointment, or meet with a teacher. When the children arrive home from school, they engage in more teaching interactions as youth complete homework and help prepare dinner. The interactions continue in the evening as the family spends time together.

Family-Teachers are constantly developing and strengthening personal relationships with their youngsters. They help every child understand that someone cares about them and that they are valued. This bonding builds trust and is an essential element of effective treatment.

Family-Teachers face challenges every day because the children they care for can have serious behavioral, emotional and cognitive problems. These boys and girls have been victims of abuse, neglect and abandonment. Many have used drugs and alcohol, or have been involved in criminal activity. Often, our youth don’t trust adults and resist. Family-Teachers must have patience, compassion and perseverance when things are not going well.

So Jay and I aren’t quite ready to say or know what this means for us…but it is on our radar. All I know is that this organization looks amazing and since they are a non-profit, they could always use support and donations. These kids, these families, all benefit from your gifts. If you are looking for a charity or organization to support financially, here is a wonderful cause…meeting a need in our very own country. Click the image below to donate!

Pay it Forward…Continued

So…a couple folks have pointed out that I haven’t featured a new “Pay it Foward” this month. Well the deal is my friends over at Cinder Skatepark still need help, even more now than ever! See the details below:

Cinder is NOT going OUT OF BUSINESS…they are just MOVING…THIS WEEKEND!

Here’s the scoop:

The Skatepark is moving! Yup. Make sure you pass the word to all your friends that skate!  In fact, we are moving at the end of this week.  We know this is super short notice, but we will be open until Saturday, April 16th. The park will be temporarily shut down as of Sunday, April 17th. We will be working on getting the park disassembled and re-assembled in our new location as soon as possible!

Cinder Skatepark is NOT going out of business! We have been looking for an opportunity for a bigger space for less money and that is exactly what is in the process of taking place!  Target re-open date will be June 21st on National Go Skate Day!

Stay connected via Cinder’s website and facebook pages to get the most recent updates on our re-opening as well as sneak peeks to the new build out.

What this means for you:

  • Donations will be accepted on behalf of The Cinder Project to aid with costs of the move. All donations are tax deductible.
  • We will only be open one more week at our current location, so you need to get in as much skating as possible before we move!
  • We will be closing promptly at 8pm on Saturday night to start the destruction of the park.
  • All memberships will be extended for the time that we are closed.  You will not loose any membership time during our transition to the new location.
  • Our new location will be considerably bigger than our current location.
  • All ramps will be totally new, with a more street-based skatepark.
  • Our shop will be bigger.
  • Our ministry space will be bigger.
  • Momentum space will be bigger.
  • We WILL be closer to Charlotte.

Fundraiser Lock-In

Cinder will be hosting our last lock-in at our current location this Friday April 15th, starting at 10pm with pick up at 8am. This will be a fundraiser to help move into the new park.

Minimum donation is $40 dollars. All food and drinks are included in this donation fee. Only 25 spots are available. The top 25 highest donations will be guaranteed lock-in spots. You must donate in the shop to guarantee your spot. This is the last skate opportunity for Cinder in our current location!  For those of you who pay, but do not get in, you’ll have 3 options: 1) receive a full refund; 2) consider it pre-payment for our first lock-in at the new park; 3) commit it to being a donation, no strings attached (and you will receive a tax exempt receipt for donating).

We will notify all lock-in participants after 5pm Friday, April 15th. All donations must be in prior to this time…No exceptions! The shop will be open at 10am for donations only beginning Tuesday, April 12th.

Thank you for helping us close out our time at 2168 Carolina Place Dr with help in launching us to bigger and better!

Please do not hesitate to contact the shop for more information at 704.288.1660 or




Pay It Forward to The Cinder Project, March 2011

Happy March to you! In addition to being the first day of National Craft Month AND the first month of Spring, it is also time for a new Pay It Forward project. This month, I decided to focus on a ministry, a cause and a movement of people that are near and dear to my and Jay’s hearts…The Cinder Project.

Back in 2003 (I think) my not-yet husband finished school at Lee University and met some AMAZING folks, two of which got married and formed the great powerhouse couple that is David and Meredith Tolentino. Folks, by saying these two are extremely talented in so many ways would be a gross understatement. They are literally two of my favorite people in this world. Jay moved from Atlanta to Charlotte to work with their first organization, SouthTown Riders. This ministry’s heart was for teenagers, wakeboarding and skateboarding…but most importantly, their heart was to share the love of Christ through those things.

I am eternally grateful for these folks because without them and their ministry, I would have never met my husband! Cinder was born out of a longing to focus solely on skateboarding and SouthTown Riders would continue with wakeboarding. In 2007, the Cinder Project completed an amazing skatepark in Fort Mill, SC, and focused in on cultivating an intense small-scale discipleship with local skateboarders.

From their Web site, Cinder’s mission is to:

…love God and people. We enjoy tearing down cultural stereotypes of what it means to be a Christian. The Cinder Project is about training disciples to take action, have passion, and to not be afraid to step out in non-vocational ministry. We equip modern-day missionaries who exist in culture. Our goal is not to create more and new Christian cultures but rather, to change the existing cultures over to Christ.

This month’s Pay It Forward will focus on some immediate needs of the Cinder Project and their growing movement among teens in Fort Mill and Charlotte, Momentum. From their Web site:

MOMENTUM is a group of young people that are committed to the most important pursuit in the whole world: loving God and people. We definitely don’t claim to be perfect, in fact, far from it, but we know someone who is. His name is Jesus and He’s changing our lives. These changes are both a process and a journey. We’d love for you to join us.

Momentum meets with high schoolers, middle schoolers and young adults at Cinder Skatepark (2168 Carolina Place Fort Mill, SC), every Monday, 6:30-9pm.

The Need

The Cinder Project’s Momentum service is getting a facelift and we need your help to do it! Beginning the first Monday in March, we will open Momentum to more students across the Fort Mill/South Charlotte area by partnering with Renovatus Church. We need to raise $3,500 for some very basic items necessary for this exciting growth. Please consider the following and give what you can to help make this happen!

Projector $800
Screen $150
Lighting $300
Chairs $200
Folding Chair Storage Cart $150
Sound System (board, speakers, amp, cords, mics, mic stands) $1000
Stage $200
Games (video games, board games, TV, gaming console, ping pong table) $700

You can donate to this cause through paypal here or by sending a check made out to The Cinder Project to PO Box 3098 Fort Mill, SC 29708. Please put “Momentum” in the memo line.

Thank you for considering this organization to support this month. For more questions, please contact Meredith Tolentino or David Tolentino at the Cinder Project.