We believe that Salem/Keizer will be the
healthiest community in Oregon - truly the

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SLF in the News


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Hub Gives Skills, Wheels

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CaN Center "Dreams" Big in West Salem

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Salem ranks 7th in country for volunteerism

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Churches share hearts and buildings with homeless families

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Free Clinic at Salem Alliance Church is "CaN" do

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CaN Center church has vibrant "Wood Ministry"

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Why I Like IKE: a Tribute to Isaac's Room ministry

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Four Corners Church Throws Block Party

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Fancy Dessert Tells Stories, Inspires Community
SLF Honored by School Board and Grant School

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Hundreds of homeless find help and hope at Homeless Connect
SLF News Archive

SOMA / Dinner on the Green

Holy Cross / La Casita

Capital Park / SENCC

IKE Box

Our Father's Porch

Church In The Park







Save the Date - Fancy Dessert, May 30, 2014

 

 
#FDSLF2014

 
Meeting a Need

March 2014

I love reading with Uziel and Alex on Thursdays.  I help them with their reading skills and they help me with my Spanish.  A nice exchange of literacy and friendship; a nice connection between cultures and generations.  Here’s a tip of the (Cat-in-the) hat to all Reading Buddies at Highland School!

But reading isn’t the only thing we do.  Sometimes we are ‘referral nurses’ for a variety of health-care concerns.  That’s not the main reason we’re there—reading is.  But when you’re up-close and personal with someone for 30 minutes you notice things.  Like the child who squints and puts the book real close to their face.  (Needs glasses.) Or the child whose tummy rumbles frequently.  (Needs food.) Or the child with bad breath.  Not the kind that comes from a spicy lunch … the kind that comes from a decaying tooth.  (Needs a dentist). Again, Job #1 is reading, but when we notice warning signs we are trained to discreetly make connections with teachers and the school for remedies. The Boys and Girls Club has a first-rate dental clinic, for example, and there are volunteer dentists who open their hearts (and chairs) to neighborhood kids with dental needs.  We salute you!

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SLF RainFest Golf Challenge

Monday, February 24

See Photos on our Facebook page!


The third-annual RainFest Golf Challenge will benefit Salem Leadership Foundation (SLF) and our mission to help Salem-Keizer become the healthiest community in Oregon: truly the City of Shalom.

This may sound crazy, and you may think we’re nuts, but WE NEED YOU to play 18 holes of golf  with us on Monday, February 24, and raise some serious bucks for SLF during the time of year we need it most.  It may rain, the wind may howl … bring it on – FORE!

With hardy participation from 40 volunteers, we can raise $72,000 or more in the next several weeks to support SLF as we work with churches to help kids, families, schools and neighborhoods.  We need 40 passionate champions willing to help support SLF and our ‘City-as-Neighborhood’ strategy.  More than 10,000 kids, families and adults were impacted last year.

We are inviting you to participate in RainFest.  We promise this will not take a lot of your time.  We need volunteers who will commit to follow the steps of this proven program, which will raise significant dollars for SLF and its neighborhood partners.  You can even win some great prizes like dinners-for -two, free golf, weekend getaways, and cool golf stuff.

Here is what each “RainFest Challenge Champion” commits to:
1. Show up on February 24th at 9:30 a.m. (breakfast and BBQ included) to play 18 holes at historic Salem Golf Club.  No matter what the weather, we’ll keep you warm, well-fed, and moving around the course.
2. Sponsor yourself for at least $100 (can be more), and …
3. Give your best effort to make 25-40 contacts and strive for $2,500 in pledges. This is easier than you think, as people will be more than happy to support you in your valiant “wind-and-rain” endurance to support SLF.

You can be also be a “RainFest Challenge Team Captain.” We need Team Captains to achieve actions 1-2-3 above and put together a Foursome of Champions (including yourself).

We've created a website for RainFest and it’s the key to our success.  It’s the easy-to-use place where you enter your sponsors’ pledge information.  The goal is to get pledges from folks you know: friends, family, colleagues, associates.  Our web site will send them a thank-you note, a tax-deductible letter, and details on how/where they can send their sponsorship amounts.  Easy as a tap-in putt.

People give to People … all you have to do is ASK and we can significantly help SLF and the incredible partnerships it creates for after-school programs, mentoring, neighborhood revitalization, homeless outreach, foster-family support, neighborhood centers … and hope.

To get more information contact Ryan Collier our Player Captain at:
503-485-7224 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sam "Snead" Skillern, 503-884-8194

To sign up to be a Team Captain or Participant Champion (making three commitments above) click here

 

To Pay a RainFest Pledge/Sponsorship click here

 

RainFest Sponsors - THANKS!

 

 

 

 
La Casita at Holy Cross Lutheran, Another "CaN" do Church

The Little House (or "La Casita") is owned by the Holy Cross Lutheran CaN Center Church and is operated by community partners.  It opened a year ago as a resource center to families within the Washington Elementary Fostering Hope target neighborhood.  Tuesday March 6th was a Open House for the new Library with a emphasis on early literacy and school readiness.

The community partners for the library are:  Mano a Mano, Reading for All, Delta Kappa Gamma, City of Salem Lansing Partnership, Holy Cross Lutheran Church and Salem Leadership Foundation.  A special thanks to the Union Gospel Mission for the donated book shelves and furniture, all of the volunteers who categorized, labeled and organized the 1800 books and all the amazing "bakers" who provided the refreshments.

We had 22 children sign up at the Open House for their Little House Library Card.  Stay tuned for our summer literacy program in partnership with our friends at the Salem Library.  Another exciting project at the Little House is currently underway with the East Salem Rotary,  they are designing and building a "a children's garden" in the backyard.

We are currently looking for volunteers to help with our "children's garden" this summer and staff our library for our summer literacy program.  Anyone interested in becoming a Friend of the Little House contact Carrie Maheu - McKay Area Lightning Rod @ 503-559-5677 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 
Winter 2014

It was the Fall of 1996, my first weeks on the job with SLF … our board asked me to make two visits.  One to north-central Salem to see how a big church—Salem Alliance—was forging a partnership with Grant Community School.  The other to south-central to see what a little church—Capital Park Wesleyan—was doing with their facility in Salem’s roughest neighborhood.  Little did I know how powerfully these fledgling initiatives would dictate SLF’s path and how much they would change Salem/Keizer, Oregon.  A church adopting a nearby school; a church opening its building to the neighboring kids and families.  Quietly revolutionary.

At Grant, Jennifer and I joined hoards of volunteers from Salem Alliance and other churches to staff the ‘Fantastic Fridays’ after-school program, which has grown into a district-wide network of partners and programs.  Today there are several dozen church-school partnerships and a strong foundation of trust and relationship between the faith community and Oregon’s second-largest school district.  For a personal tour, join me Thursdays (Reading Buddies, Highland) or Fridays (Chess Club, Grant).

Rewind back to 1996/97.  I had joined a group of ministry leaders who prayed weekly at Capital Park Wesleyan.  We met in a room that looked out over a gravel parking lot.  Pastor Jerry Sloan used to point out the window and say, “Soon, and very soon that parking lot will be a gym, a full-service kitchen, a library and game room.”  I prayed fervently for that dream to become reality … believing that it would happen in five or 10 years.  Oh me of little faith! Within a year the $450,000 building was open and active.  How could such a little church have such a big vision, such a big faith?  We invited people to come see, from mayors and county councilors to business leaders and clergy. 

Read more...
 
Advent 2013

Jennifer and I were nervously excited.  We had sponsored kids through the Angel Tree program before, but this was the first time we’d volunteered to actually deliver the gift-wrapped goodies.  Back in the early ‘90s we were DINKs (double income, no kids) and living in Seattle.  We were attending a Calvary Chapel church that rented a mothballed high school in a vintage/funky neighborhood.   We loved our urban locale and believed ourselves to be fairly advanced in regard to ‘loving our neighbor’ and caring for those in need.  Heck, my first job was in non-profit service at Seattle Goodwill . . . we lived in a diverse, edgy neighborhood . . . we were monthly sponsors of a World Vision child in Peru.  We were caring Christians!  So it only seemed natural we would deepen our commitment to godly benevolence by signing up to make some Angel Tree deliveries. 

They assigned us several addresses near our neighborhood—piece o’ cake!  Until we started navigating unfamiliar streets.  And seeing blight much worse than usual.  At several stops the delivery was just a quick knock and a “thanks” from behind a hesitant door.  Part of us wanted to spend more time talking; part of us wanted to get home.  Fast.  The last house didn’t look too bad.  The door swung widely this time, and several friendly faces greeted us.  They beamed when we told them we were the Angel Tree church people.  “Come in!” they shouted as they hugged us inside.  Jennifer and I exchanged nervous glances—we’d been told during the training not to enter the houses.  But the brief encounters else-where had lowered our guard and … next thing we know we’re heading toward a couch surrounded by a gaggle of kids.  Thoughts raced through my mind:  “What if this is a set-up?  What if they rob us, or worse?  After all, they’re related to a prison inmate!”  We sat on the couch, praying it was lice-free. 
A sweet little girl offered me a glass of orange juice ….

Read more...
 
With Thanksgiving

November 2013

The other day I called a favorite local restaurant to make a catering order.  After setting the menu and working out the delivery details, the catering manager caught me off guard … and made my day.  “You may not remember, but you helped my husband and me a couple years ago when we were living at the Oxford House in your neighborhood.” 

Instantly I did remember.  The house.  The couple.  The situation.  They were getting their lives back together after a nasty bout with drugs, alcohol and jail.  They were practicing sobriety, they were striving to get their daughter back from foster care, and they were receiving ministry from a CaN Center church.  The husband had just landed a job, but they needed help with the rent …

SLF is not a program provider.  We are a collaborative catalyst that promotes and enlarges the programs of churches, ministries, schools and non-profits.  We do not have a formal rental assistance program.  Nor a utility-assistance program, nor a scholarship program.  But we do have a “practice of responsiveness” to folks who God puts in our path.  When someone calls, we gently ascertain the need and make some contacts … then we try to help.  We can’t do a lot, but we can usually do something.

We call it ‘practicing what we preach.’

Read more...
 
Promoting Good Works

The other day I was wearing one of my favorite vests.  It’s black and fits well.  Looks good with a button-down shirt and khakis (my ‘uniform’).  It also has a pretty cool logo on it.

“Do you work for the Boys and Girls Club?” I’m often asked.  Perfectly natural question, since that’s the logo embroidered on the vest.  “No,” I respond, “but I love the Club.  They help kids ‘Be Great’ at school, in their neighborhoods, and in life.  Great organization and we love partnering with them.”
A blank stare usually follows.  Then a conversation which goes something like this …

“So you don’t work for the Club?”
“No, but I love to promote their good works.”
“Why would you wear their vest if you don’t work for them?” 
“Because they’re a great partner with Salem Leadership Foundation and the churches we work with.”
“You mean you work for another non-profit organization?”
“That’s right, at SLF it’s our honor to …”
“How can you sell what you do if you’re always promoting the good works of others?” 
“Well, it is a bit unorthodox but that’s exactly what we do—promote and build the capacity of others.”
“That’s dumb—this is a dog-eat-dog world.  Even in charity work.  You need to crush the competition, not promote them.”

Ouch

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"Impacting Your Neighborhood"

September 2013
Back-to-School

Fifteen years ago this month we bought our house in the Grant Neighborhood. 
People said, “Why would you want to live there?” … “Isn’t that neighborhood is full of gangs?” …  “Will you be getting a gun for protection?”

Thirteen years ago this month Samuel started kindergarten at Grant School.
People said, “Why would you want to go to school there?” …  “Isn’t that a poor inner-city school?” … “How will a public school help grow Samuel’s faith?”

Jennifer and I knew things would be different.  But we also knew God was calling us into something exciting.  And we knew we wouldn’t be alone … we had teachers and parents who were on the same journey.  We had a church—Salem Alliance—that invested in the neighborhood and the school.  We had two great sons who jumped feet first into things like Dual-Langauge Immersion, Fantastic Fridays, Kids Club at the Capitol Inn, and Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network.  They grew up speaking two languages, inviting neighborhood friends to church, buying from neighborhood businesses, flying high in music and academics, and growing their faith.

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"The Art of Neighboring"

August 2013

Block parties.  Barbecues.  Knowing your neighbors.  These are concepts you’ve read about often here in the Fancy Newsletter. ‘Loving Neighbor’ and ‘Building Neighbor-hood’ are familiar phrases, not just in SLF circles any more, but all over Salem-Keizer.  How thrilling it was to walk into church one Sunday and learn we were about to embark on a 6-week series entitled “The Art of Neighboring.”  And what a series it was!  Then my colleague DJ Vincent got me the book … WOW!  I heartily recommend it for your summer-reading book bag.  The authors are a pair of pastors who discovered the richness of the Greatest Commandment lived out in 21st Century urban and suburban American neighborhoods.  It’s common sense … it’s what our grandparents did routinely … it’s what the scriptures proclaim … all rediscovered and redeployed for the Gospel transformation of people and place.

The premise is simple.  Get to know the people and families on your block.  The statistics are shocking.  Only 10% of people can name eight neighbors who live around them.  Only 3% of people know something about them beyond their names.  The book encourages us to “meet and love your neighbors.”  Not with Bible tracts and crusade invitations.  Rather, with the simple acts of daily life.  Learning their names.  Their kids’ names.  Listening to their stories.  Eating!  Sharing life around barbecues, football games, favorite recipes, gardening, school.  It doesn’t mean you become everyone’s best friend.  But it does mean you know them, you listen to their stories, and you’re there for them when they need you.  And vice versa.

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