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

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Faith-in-Action News


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SLF Helps Salem Sizzle

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Community Connect Brings People and Resources Together

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Churches, SLF provide 'Room in the Inn'

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SLF Partner Goes to the Dogs

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SLF Staff and Partners Honored By City

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Salem Free Clinics - John McConville

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IKE Box, SLF partner with CAREcorps

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Dream Center Building Garden at Nuestra Casa

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Evergreen Church 'CaN Center' is HUB of Transformation

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Church blesses neighbors with 'La Casita'

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Mid-Valley Literacy Center and Churches: 'Read On!'

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Habitat for Humanity has Faith in Our Community

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SLF Speaks Out with other Non-Profit Leaders

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Pastor and 'Lightning Rod' Serves South Salem

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Churches Host Homeless Families Inside Churches

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SLF Co-Sponsors Community Connect

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Former SLF'er Serves Veterans at Home
SLF News Archive

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SLF, CAA, FIrst Baptist Host Homeless Connect

The HUB - Tracey - Evergreen

Amanda and Lindsey's Story

SOMA / Dinner on the Green

Holy Cross / La Casita

Capital Park / SENCC

IKE Box

Calvary Chapel

Our Father's Porch

Church In The Park







Bridging The Gap- 2nd Annual Event

 

 

 
The Art of Neighboring

THE FANCY NEWSLETTER

August 2016

 


Block parties.  Barbecues.  Knowing your neighbors.  Concepts you’ve read about often here in the Fancy Newsletter. ‘Loving Neighbor’ and ‘Building Neighborhood’ are familiar phrases, not just in SLF lexicon, but all over Salem-Keizer nowadays.  How thrilling it was one Sunday to learn our church was about to embark on a six-week series entitled “The Art of Neighboring,” based on a compelling book.  I heartily recommend it for your summer-reading list.  It’s by 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 their neighbors 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.

Read more...
 
An Invitation to the Fancy Dessert

 
Giving Thanks for my Friend Rockin' Robby Kasino

He wanted to be a radio disc-jockey with his bachelor’s degree in broadcast media from the University of Northern Iowa. His alter-ego was Rockin’ Robby Kasino, and he had a novel in the works. He loved animals, especially dogs. Animals don’t criticize, he once told me. They love you unconditionally.


I met my friend Rick Levitt at Grant Community School in 1999. We were volunteers in the Fantastic Fridays afterschool program, which set the stage for the many fine afterschool programs in place today. Rick signed up as a general volunteer, but had big ideas for a radio class and a Karaoke class. He was always on time and very dependable. He was awkward socially, which created some cautions and concerns. But you could always count on Rick … until the drinking started. Rick was a teetotaler when we first met—his girlfriend had significant addiction issues and he didn’t want to follow the same path. But when she broke up with him, and broke his heart, he turned to the bottle to ease his pain.

 

It turns out Rick had mental-health issues and deep hurts, which were made worse by his drinking. He had a complex family history, which included a loving mom but fathers who were lousy dads. He longed for positive role models and friends who would see past the awkward (and increasingly angry) attitudes. Despite my inclination to lean away from Rick and his dysfunctions, I felt the Lord urging me to lean in. At first I had the misguided and prideful notion that somehow I would help solve Rick's problems. It took a while, but I began to realize that God was working on both of us.

 

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SLF Fancy Dessert - June 24, 2016

SLF Fancy Dessert
June 24, 2016
6:55 PM
Our 20th Anniversary Celebration

Interested in hosting a table for the event? Please contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
Practice (Serve) then Preach (Politics)

With politics dominating the headlines and the newscasts, I’ve been thinking about a meeting I had several years ago. The community organizer from Portland was putting together a faith-based coalition, and he wanted to identify the key players in Salem. SLF is always willing to help, especially when the topic is churches serving neighbors in need. We chatted. We shared stories. It was affirmed that Salem-Keizer is ahead of the curve when it comes to ‘church and state’ working together. I also learned that the spectrum (Mainline, Evangelical, Catholic) of churches who are working restore shalom (peace and well-being) here is much broader and deeper than most communities.

Suddenly, he jolted me with a question: “What is SLF’s political agenda?” I told him about our Vision (Salem becomes healthiest community in Oregon) and our Mission (people-of-faith and people-of-goodwill collaborating). “That’s great,” he said, “but what’s your political agenda?” I explained that we have strong working relationships with elected officials and government agencies. Still, he persisted. “How many activists do you deploy to galvanize the grassroots? How many marches have you organized at the Capitol? How much legislation have you formulated with lawmakers?” Um, none, I answered haltingly. “Then how can you have any influence?” he asked. “How can you help the poor if you don’t have a political agenda?”

Read more...
 
Herm's Hike and DJ's Dash Make the Headlines

FALL INTO FITNESS

Raising three busy boys, I’ve become accustomed to the “change ups,” you know when things come at you, forcing a change in plans.  So it wasn’t surprising when earlier this month I found myself running in the inauguration of “Bridging the Gap Salem Leadership Foundation 10K,” rather than resting at the beach.

The event was yet another example of how local nonprofits and partners are working together to better neighborhood health. The event was orchestrated by Salem Leadership Foundation Lightening Rod DJ Vincent who created a route that connected four schools, three churches, two parks and one neighborhood ministry.  Runners earned time off their finish time if they posed for selfies at each connection, which is a huge benefit the older you get, especially if you are racing sixth-grade cross-country runners.

The race brought together 45 sponsors and 55 volunteers to raise $29,000 for the foundation and support their work that includes programs like School Serve.

It followed in the footsteps of SLF Lightening Rod Herm’s Hike last fall where Herm recruited pledges from West Salem community partner and neighbors as he hiked much of the Pacific Crest Trail.

The beauty behind these neighborhood-centric movements is they build collaboration and relationships between churches, schools, business partners and city neighborhood associations, which result in a plethora of connections that support improved health and academic outcomes in the neighborhood.

Kids connect with reading buddies, middle schools recruit mentors and high schools recruit volunteers for their Aspire programs, which help prepare students for the college application process. By building community events that center around activity and healthy eating, it’s a win for everyone.

Read more...
 
Safe Families -- Your Family -- Can Make a Difference

Jennifer and I were privileged to be a ‘safe family’ before there was a Safe Families for Children. It was 2004.  Our boys were students at Grant School right across the street. We were volunteering there (still are!).  SLF was soon to be a partner in the “No Meth/Yes Foster Care” initiative that would transform the community in so many ways—a legacy that still has impacts and influences today.

One of Samuel’s best friends was named Crystal*. We got to know her and her family through the rhythms and intersections of grade school. Her parents were nice, but something was wrong. Crystal was coming to school late, often hungry, in clothes that were increasingly mussed. Mom was often late to pick her up from the after-school program; sometimes she was on edge and volatile. We soon learned that meth, pot and alcohol were plaguing both parents, who had recently split up. (*Not her real name)

 

One day Mom was at our door. High. Someone had reported her and DHS was investigating. The estranged Dad was unfit to take custody. The girls were headed for foster care, and the whole “No Meth/Yes Foster Care” concept went from ‘macro’ to ‘micro’ for us in 48 hours. In order to keep the girls together and Crystal in her neighborhood school, DHS and Mom were looking for a Grant-area family to take the girls in – maybe for a few weeks, maybe for a few months. Mom asked Jennifer and I to be that family. She signed a make-shift permission slip giving us authority to make certain decisions. We were fingerprinted and quick-certified by DHS, and the girls came to live with us.

Read more...
 
RainFest 5.0 is an "Ace" -- Fore!

Thanks to everyone who helped make the 5th-annual RainFest Golf Challenge a huge success.        We're pleased to announce that, through the commitment of 557 sponsors, more than $83,300 has been pledged to support SLF's 50+ neighborhood partnerships.

Leap Monday, February 29, was a great day is all respects but one ... the turnout was great, the food was hot, the competition fierce ... but we had to endure terrible weather: Cloudy and cold all day but only a few raindrops! Somehow, the 48 intrepid golfers survived.  We want to offer a special thanks to historic Salem Golf Club, which generously partners with SLF and extends both professionalism and hospitality to our crazy little winter-time event.

On behalf of Salem Leadership Foundation (SLF), we thank our golfers and sponsors for their investment in programs and partnerships that positively impact kids, families and neighborhoods across Salem-Keizer -- more thank 10,000 people last year.  We are honored to have teed it up with so many generous partners.

We want to salute our RainFest corporate sponsors (below), many of whom are either playing or supporting (i.e. feeling sorry for) a golfer.  Thanks, to everyone "Fore!" walking with SLF if the neighborhoods of Shalom-Keizer, Oregon.

 

 


 
A Salute to Mentors (thank one today!)

Everyone needs a mentor. Everyone needs to be a mentor. Both historically and spiritually, there is ample evidence for the value of mentors—that caring someone who takes another person under his/her wing and walks alongside them through the seasons of life.

My first mentor was actually a peer. Jim Goodwin was a popular 4th-grader at McKinley Elementary when I made my way there from little Baker School (1st – 3rd grade) with my Fairmount-Hill tribe. The first few weeks of fourth grade were terrifying as we navigated larger hallways, larger classrooms and larger kids. I don’t know what Jim saw in me, but we clicked and he soon became not only my best friend, but my advocate. He had older siblings, so he was experienced in the neighborhood, in sports, in music (Beatles, Guess Who, Credence Clearwater Revival), in road trips (Prineville), and in zest for life. Jim urged me to join his City League baseball team (the Wolverines), which set a course for self-esteem, confidence and success all through my school years. Jim moved to Portland the summer before our  7th grade year at Leslie Jr. High, but he made an impact that has borne fruit for nearly 50 years. Every time I drive past the white Dutch Colonial at High and Rural I think of Jim and the Goodwin family.

Read more...
 
A 'CaN-do' Church Births a Movement ... GOAL!

Everyone knows by now that the Portland Timbers won a thrilling nail-biter last month to earn the Major League Soccer (MLS) title. Did you know that two Salem-Keizer schools, Auburn Elementary and Scott Elementary, are co-Champions of GRASSP (Grass Roots After School Soccer Program)? You haven’t seen these young athletes on ESPN (yet!), but they play with everything they’ve got and have tons of fun doing it. GRASSP is a free soccer-and-academic program that was birthed through the CaN Centers Collaboration (video story at www.salemLF.org). It serves more than 200 local 4th- and 5th-grade students every week through soccer and character development. The volunteer coaches teach soccer skills on the field and character skills off the field: servant leadership, pride in school and family, winning with humility, losing with dignity, and teamwork.

 

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