Advent Calendar Day 22: Claremont School of Theology

Claremont School of Theology (CST) and more

In 1984, as part of my preparation to be received as an Episcopal priest, I attended Bloy House on the campus of Claremont School of Theology. In 2008, before my illness, I had begun the Doctor of Ministry program at Claremont School of Theology. Cherry Remboldt, our deacon, studied for ordination at Bloy House and received her Master of Arts degree in Theology from Claremont School of Theology. John Tincher, an ordained United Methodist minister and a regular worshiper at St. Margaret’s, serves on the Board of Claremont School of Theology.  Claremont School of Theology is a leader in theological education and it’s just down the road from us, a wonderful resource for us all. ~dan rondeau

Mission Statement

Claremont School of Theology is United Methodist in origin and affiliation and ecumenical in spirit. As a founding school of Claremont Lincoln University, it seeks to instill students with ethical integrity, religious intelligence, and intercultural understanding. Nurtured by Christian Scripture, tradition, experience, and reason, it prepares individuals for ordination and effective leadership in service to God, the academy, and the world, and equips them to pursue peaceful coexistence and collaboration with other religions.

Adopted February 2010

Learn more about CST and its Affiliated Institutions:

Claremont School of Theology

Claremont Lincoln University

Bloy House, The Episcopal Theological School at Claremont

Other Affiliated Institutions – in addition to Bloy House and Claremont Lincoln University, CST is home to Disciples Seminary Foundation, Center for Lutheran StudiesBayan College (educating Muslim leaders) and is affiliated with Claremont Graduate University, especially the School of Religion

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About Claremont

Claremont School of Theology isn’t like most theological schools. Yes, we educate ministers and other leaders in service of Church and society. Yes, we’re rooted in a particular tradition — The United Methodist Church — but we are broad in denominational composition and outlook. And yes, we offer opportunities for spiritual formation, intellectual exploration, and practical preparation.

But that’s where the similarities end.

Claremont School of Theology is a transdenominational theological school and a founding member of a new multireligious consortium that’s embarking on a bold 21st century experiment. Located in Southern California — the most diverse region in the United States — Claremont School of Theology is looking forward to the needs of the future church, one that’s ready to preach and practice the Gospel message of love and compassion in a radically diverse world.

To do that, we’re building on a relatively simple educational philosophy: we are desegregating religious education so our students can better learn about others as they learn about ourselves. Research is showing that students gain a deeper understanding of their own faith when educated in the presence of religious diversity. It’s a ground-breaking — and controversial — approach to ministerial education and Christian formation. –from the CST website, accessed 14 Dec 2011

Watch “Multifaith Theological Education” an Introduction to Claremont Lincoln University (a 7 minute video article from Religion & Ethics on PBS)

Advent Calendar Day 21: Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator

Members of the Sunday Morning Forum at St. Margaret’s are a generous lot. In Lent 2011 we were introduced to Charity Navigator—an online “guide to intelligent giving.” Many of us (me included) now use this online resource to help us in our charitable giving. We offer this link as a gift to you in the Advent Season.  ~dan rondeau

Quote . . .Charity Navigator, America’s premiere independent charity evaluator, works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the Financial Health and Accountability and Transparency of America’s largest charities.” A self-description found on the Home Page.

Goal of Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator works to guide intelligent giving. Our goal is to help people give to charity with confidence. At the same time, we aim to help charities by shining lights on truly effective organizations. In doing so, we believe we can help ensure that charitable giving keeps pace with the growing need for charitable programs.

Our approach to rating charities is driven by those two objectives: helping givers and celebrating the work of charities.

Learn more: Methodology used by Charity Navigator
Home Page of Charity Navigator

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Here our Forum introduces you to “Charities building roadblocks to human trafficking” highlighted by Charity Navigator. Consider it an extension of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.

Charities building roadblocks to human trafficking

Only last week (12/10) the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence concluded. December 10th is annually designated Human Rights Day by the United Nations. Human trafficking is violent and abuses the rights of the most vulnerable. Here is what Charity Navigator has to say about the issue. Organizations working to eradicate this abuse are listed here.

Each year in June, the U.S. Department of State releases the annual Trafficking in Persons Report in order to document the efforts by foreign governments to bring an end to human trafficking. The most recent report highlighted what most international non-profits already know: that the problem is as widespread as it is complicated.

Called the modern day slavery, human trafficking has many forms. Labor trafficking, bonded labor, sex trafficking, child sex tourism, forced child labor and child soldiering are among the more vicious.

People can become trapped in these situations through force, or drawn in through fraud or coercion by traffickers that prey on their desperation and trust. Immigrants, domestic workers and children are especially at risk.

Beyond the human rights impacts of trafficking, there can be serious health impacts including physical and psychological abuse, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Sex trafficking plays a large part in spreading the AIDS epidemic worldwide.

Unfortunately, ending these practices is not a simple matter. There continues to be a large supply of victims, especially in developing countries where poverty makes people vulnerable to fraudulent promises of employment or a better life elsewhere. Demand also remains high in more prosperous countries, making the practice even more difficult to eradicate.

Non-profits of all stripes are increasingly focusing on the issue of human trafficking. Some work to raise awareness of the issue; others are working in communities to protect the vulnerable and to alleviate the conditions that encourage trafficking; others concentrate on rescuing and reintegrating trafficked victims.

Note: The list of organizations highlighted by Charity Navigator is on the right hand side of the page from which this essay is taken: Charities building roadblocks to human trafficking

On 12/15/11 CNN reported that Google made $11.5 million worth of grants to organizations fighting modern day slavery (human trafficking). Google joins fight against slavery with $11.5 million grant.

International Justice Mission (IJM), “a Washington-based human rights agency that works to rescue victims of slavery and sexual exploitation in about a dozen countries” was one of the grant recipients. IJM is a 4-star organization as rated by Charity Navigator.

Image: Charity Navigator logo from their website

Advent Calendar Day 20: Disabled American Veterans

Disabled American Veterans (DAV)

Richard in our Forum is the Service Officer for the local Chapter of the DAV. Our congregation is filled with men and women who have served our country, served us; some have survived wounds received in their service to us. We owe a debt of gratitude to these men and women. ~dan

Mission Statement

Building better lives for America’s disabled veterans.

DAV Home Page: Disabled American Veterans
DAV Chapter 66 Palm Springs 

Previous posts about Veterans

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You can help

Image: DAV logo from their website.
Video: Public Service Announcement by the DAV on YouTube

Advent Calendar Day 19: Kiva


Suzanne and others from our Forum use Kiva regularly to do good and to change the world. It is a simple way to give a gift that gives life. And, as the gift is used and you are repaid, you can give it again. ~dan rondeau

Quote . . .We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. (Kiva website)

Why we do what we do

We envision a world where all people – even in the most remote areas of the globe – hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others.

We believe providing safe, affordable access to capital to those in need helps people create better lives for themselves and their families.

How we do it

Making a loan on Kiva is so simple that you may not realize how much work goes on behind the scenes.

Kiva works with microfinance institutions on five continents to provide loans to people without access to traditional banking systems. One hundred percent of your loan is sent to these microfinance institutions, which we call Field Partners, who administer the loans in the field.

Kiva relies on a world wide network of over 450 volunteers who work with our Field Partners, edit and translate borrower stories, and ensure the smooth operation of countless other Kiva programs.

Source: About Kiva

Learn more: How it works

Current opportunities to lend

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The people behind Kiva include volunteers, Kiva Fellows, Field Partners, our board, and a team of employees (shown above) and contractors. The Kiva headquarters are located in San Francisco, California

A quick look at the work being done:

A short video tour about how it works

How Kiva Works from Kiva on Vimeo.

Photo and statistics: from the website

Advent Calendar Day 18: Tools for Tomorrow

Tools for Tomorrow

Rachel Druten is the President and Founder of Tools for Tomorrow and a member of St. Margaret’s. Children throughout the Coachella Valley benefit from this unique after-school program. A number of St. Margaret’s members volunteer time or have helped raise the funds to continue this life-changing work in our Coachella Valley.

Quote . . .Tools for Tomorrow provides free, on-site, after school literacy enrichment programs integrating writing, drama, art and music for Coachella Valley elementary school children.” Mission Statement of Tools for Tomorrow

Mission Statement

Tools For Tomorrow provides free, on-site, after school literacy enrichment programs integrating writing, drama, art and music for Coachella Valley elementary school children.

Tools For Tomorrow promotes cognitive, emotional, social, multi-sensory and critical thinking skills by offering children a hands-on experience in Art, Music, Creative Writing and Drama.

Tools For Tomorrow encourages the children’s artistic self-expression and nurtures the positive self-esteem resulting from the discovery of their inherent creativity. As they create their own works of Art they acquire a coping mechanism for the future; a “tool for tomorrow”

The Tools For Tomorrow Curriculum provides stimulation, productivity, success and competence and assures that each child feels successful as they create original works in art, creative writing, drama, and music while enjoying themselves in the learning and creative processes and developing the necessary competencies that will carry them through life.

Learn more: Tools for Tomorrow

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Program gives children Tools for Tomorrow

Jacky, 9, wrote: “Daddy says the world is like a drum, tight and hard. I told him I am going to beat out my own rhythm.”

That’s the kind of creative thinking that Tools For Tomorrow students are exhibiting throughout the valley.

The free after-school program integrates creative writing, art, music and drama for children and is supported by an auxiliary, grants, donations and in-kind services.

“It provides children with a sense of accomplishment,” said board member Jim Reed.

About 80 Tools For Tomorrow supporters recently gathered for a fundraising dinner at Indian Wells Country Club, where they witnessed the fruits of their dollars as students from Harry S. Truman Elementary School in La Quinta gave short and humorous poetry readings and Vista del Monte players acted out “Pictures at an Exhibition.”

The evening began with wine, piano stylings by Jackie Doyle and socializing around the silent auction table and a display of gift cards designed by the students. Each guest also took home “A Retrospective” of the student’s work, underwritten by Jim Houston in memory of his late wife, Jackie Lee Houston.

Indian Wells councilwoman Mary Roche welcomed the crowd, introducing president and founder Rachel Bryant Druten, who saw a need for this program 13 years ago.

“I truly believe that Tools For Tomorrow and programs like it can develop in children hearts and minds that will change the world,” she said.

Druten then introduced the director of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, Dr. Janice Lyle, who presented an informative presentation on “what is happening behind the pink walls.”

Tools for Tomorrow affiliates enjoying the evening included Audrey Moe, Courtney Moe, Joani Maltzman, Jean Ann Hirschi, Richard Victor and Lee Appel, who is also a board member.

Source: The Desert Sun, November 26, 2011 (by Shirley Brenon)

Image: Tools for Tomorrow website

Advent Calendar Day 17: California Interfaith Power and Light

California Interfaith Power & Light (CIPL)

Though many are of the opinion that global warming or climate change is a myth, men and women of faith, including our own bishops, believe we have a been called by God to care for creation. We have a responsibility to God, to each other, and to all of creation to be good stewards of God’s gifts in creation.

California Interfaith Power and Light is one way that men and women of faith have banded together to answer God’s call to care for all of creation.

Mission Statement

The mission of California Interfaith Power and Light (CIPL) is to be faithful stewards of Creation by responding to global warming through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy. This ministry intends to protect the earth’s ecosystems, safeguard public health, and ensure sufficient, sustainable energy for all.

About this ministry: California Interfaith Power and Light 

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Can Faith Slow Climate Change?

Give us all a reverence for the Earth as your own creation, that we may use its resources rightly in the service of others and to your honor and glory.

The prayer was recited regularly by a young Sally Bingham growing up in San Francisco.

Only years later, as an ordained Episcopal Church priest, did Bingham realize something was amiss with the childhood supplication.

“There was this terrible hypocrisy,” she said. “This disconnect between what we said we believed in and how we behaved.”

This bothered her for years until 1998 when, in her 50s, she finally took action.

Bingham founded what today is Interfaith Power and Light, a national campaign promoting “a religious response to global warming” that works with 10,000 congregations in 38 states.

“Climate change is one of the most challenging moral issues of our time,” she said in an Earth Day sermon at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral where she is now Reverend Canon for the Environment.

Faith communities around the world are taking action – both personal and political – as the moral implications of climate change become more apparent.

While politics is split on climate change and governments worldwide have failed to pass meaningful climate legislation, faith communities are becoming a powerful force in the transition to green energy. By focusing on values rather than politics, they are transcending partisan pigeonholes and taking care of what they see as God’s creation, and the people – particularly the poor – who depend on it.

“If you are called to love your neighbor, you don’t pollute your neighbor’s air,” Bingham said.

More than 300 evangelical leaders have signed the Evangelical Environmental Network’s climate call to action, including mega-church leaders like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels. A 2007 poll commissioned by the group found that 84 percent of evangelicals support legislation to reduce carbon emissions.

Read the entire article in the Scientific American November 30, 2010: Can Faith Slow Climate Change?

Image: CIPL logo from their website

Advent Calendar Day 16: Episcopal Relief and Development

Episcopal Relief and Development

Just this past Lent we collected donations at St. Margaret’s and sent them to Episcopal Relief and Development to be added to their NetsforLife Inspiration Fund. Episcopal Relief and Development provides a way for all Episcopalians (indeed, all people of goodwill) to meet the needs of the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the ill-clothed, the one who is sick and the one who is in prison (see Matthew 25:37-40)

Mission Statement

“Healing a hurting world”

Episcopal Relief & Development is the compassionate response of the Episcopal Church to human suffering in the world. Hearing God’s call to seek and serve Christ in all persons and to respect the dignity of every human being, Episcopal Relief & Development serves to bring together the generosity of Episcopalians and others with the needs of the world.

Episcopal Relief & Development faithfully administers the funds that are received from the Church and raised from other sources. It provides relief in times of disaster and promotes sustainable development by identifying and addressing the root causes of suffering.

Episcopal Relief & Development cherishes its partnerships within the Anglican Communion, with ecumenical bodies and with others who share a common vision for justice and peace among all people.

For more on this ministry: Episcopal Relief and Development
Learn more about the NetsforLife Inspiration Fund

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Help isn’t on the way. It’s already there

In 2010, Episcopal Relief & Development reached more than 3 million people in over 40 countries around the world.

Rather than imposing “one size fits all” solutions, Episcopal Relief & Development supports unique local, long-term initiatives that address poverty, hunger, disease, economic development and disaster response.

Our partnership with the worldwide Church creates opportunities to serve communities in some of the most remote areas of the world, as well as in urban environments where extreme poverty persists.

In many of these places, the Church is often one of the few institutions people trust and turn to for help. Episcopal Relief & Development leverages existing Church relationships to reach those whose need is greatest.

“Go with the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they have. Build on what they know. But with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say, ‘We have done this ourselves’.”  — Lao Tsu, Chinese Philosopher, 700 B.C.

From: ERD What We Do. Check out even more information using their Quick Links section on the right side of the page

See also the ERD Blog AND/OR Stories from the Field to see how Episcopalians, working together, seek and serve Christ in the “least” among us. Hear what the Spirit is saying.

Image: ERD Logo from the ERD Media Center Online Press Kit

Advent Calendar Day 15: Virginia Theological Seminary

Virginia Theological Seminary

We have a strong connection to Virginia Theological Seminary. Our bishop, James R. Mathes, our rector, Lane, and our two associates, Troy and Brian, are graduates of VTS. Our seminarian, Shivaun Wilkinson, is completing her second year of studies at VTS. ~dan rondeau

Mission Statement

I. To form men and women for lay and ordained leadership within community, with particular attention to raising leaders for the Episcopal Church.

II. To provide continuing theological education for all people (clergy and laity of all denominations).

III. To serve the Anglican Communion and the wider Church.

IV. To provide an ecumenical, international, and cross-cultural context for theological education.

V. To be an outstanding theological resource.

VI. To be a racially and ethnically diverse community in living out our mission.

Adopted by the Board of Trustees May 2008

For the rest of the story: Virginia Theological Seminary

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Under construction: Master of Arts Program

The world is changing rapidly, driven significantly by the intersecting forces of politics, economics, demographics, religion and, of course, technology. Globalization, driven by appetites for freer, faster, and cheaper goods and services, is changing life in every sector. The metrics of excellence in all areas of higher education are being tested and, at times reluctantly, redefined. Theological education is not exempt from this redefinition. VTS is actively responding to a demand for quality, affordable theological education that does not require full-time residency.

The newly accredited M.A. program that has replaced the former M.T.S. (Masters in Theological Studies) and M.A.C.E. (Masters in Christian Education) degrees offers increased flexibility and depth of study in preparation for innovative, transformational Christian leadership. The degree design, especially the summative project, prepares students to continue a rigorous academic path, perhaps toward doctoral work, or to apply new learning to current and future ministry. The program combines the strengths of residential formation with the flexibility of contemporary technologies. Working with a faculty advisor, students design a program plan with an identified area of concentration to meet their learning goals and life situation. They can enroll full or part-time and register for courses delivered in a traditional classroom format, during intensive residencies in January and Summer terms, or in a hybrid manner, which is a combination of face-to-face and online instruction. The M.A. program makes use of creative instructional technologies such as the seminary’s new Jenzabar course management platform, video conferencing, and electronic portfolios.

While the structure of the M.A. degree is an important and exciting step for VTS, it is just the beginning of the Seminary’s innovative use of educational technology. Advances in web technology have introduced user-centered capacities that have forever changed teaching and learning. What is commonly referred to as the Web 2.0 has introduced features and functionality that stimulate the creation and consumption of information through collaborative platforms. Today, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin are ordinary tools of daily living. Virtual communities exist in every domain of human interest, and digital video technologies keep families and friends connected across the globe. Ideas and conversations fill blogs and wikis. Video, music, and photo file sharing is considered a standard of practice in most American households. Being a healthy seminary today means interacting confidently with all of these technologies and having a vital presence on the global Web.

Beyond degree programs, people are living longer and more interested in lifelong continuing education than ever before. With access to the Web anyone can study anything 24/7. It is possible to construct a rigorous curriculum on any subject, using open-source or free Web resources such as university courses, e-books and journals from premier libraries and research institutions, educational programming from international museums, video presentations by world leaders, scholars and artists, and of course, virtual tours! With the expertise of the VTS faculty and staff, the depth of our library collection, and the vision of its board VTS is positioned to facilitate extraordinarily rich opportunities for online biblical and theological learning.

I look forward to participating in the ongoing discernment and innovation that is required to ensure VTS remains a trusted leader in an increasingly creative and competitive climate of global theological education. We welcome your ideas. How can VTS best support local congregations and dioceses/judicatories in the preparation of lay and ordained leaders for Christian mission? How can we partner with you to serve God more faithfully and more effectively? Tell us. We’re listening!

Lisa Kimball, Ph.D.
Chair, M.A. Committee,
Director, Center for the Ministry of
Teaching, and Professor of Christian
Formation & Congregational Leadership

This article appeared in the Virginia Theological Seminary Journal, Fall 2011. Lisa Kimball was the featured speaker at the San Diego Clergy Conference this year at the invitation of Bishop Mathes (Oct 2011).

Advent Calendar Day 14: Two Against Gender Violence

ECS Julian’s Housing Program for Women & Children
And Shelter from the Storm

As the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign (Nov 25 – Dec 10) closes for 2011 the need to raise awareness and the need to offer haven and hope for victims will continue. Today two such programs are highlighted, one in the San Diego area and part of our efforts through ECS and one here in the Coachella Valley and supported by St. Margaret’s over the years.

Quote . . .The Julian’s Housing Program for Women & Children provides supportive, transitional housing for women and children escaping the perils of domestic violence. The program serves women over the age of 18 and their children who are homeless as a result of fleeing domestic violence. Introduction to the Program on the web page

Quote . . .It is hard to believe that for many years, even in a community as caring as the Coachella Valley, violence against women and children was the dirty little secret that no one wanted to talk about. Finally, in 1988, recognizing how desperate the need, a group of women and men came together determined to find a way to help. In 1993 they opened what is still the Coachella Valley’s only emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence. … Yet, as important as shelters are, they are not the answer for everyone. Recognizing this and acutely aware of many unmet needs, we made a commitment to create a continuum of services that would offer domestic violence victims the best possible chance to create safe and healthy lives. President’s Message from the website for Shelter from the Storm

Mission Statement of ECS

Serving God by serving those in need.

For the rest of the story: ECS Julian’s Housing Program for Women & Children (web page).
ECS Julian’s Hosing Program for Women & Children (PDF brochure)

Mission Statement of Shelter from the Storm

Shelter From The Storm provides comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence—professionally, ethically, and compassionately.

For the rest of the story: Shelter from the Storm

Hear what the Spirit is saying.

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More than just a “shelter,” Julian’s Housing Program is a place to heal from emotional and physical wounds of abuse while acquiring self-esteem and independence. Services provided include:

18–24 months of transitional housing in a safe and confidential location
Intensive case management
Life skills training
Domestic violence prevention education
Referrals to substance abuse prevention services
Partnership with career guidance agencies

Julian’s Housing Program Brochure (a PDF file)

Shelter from the Storm, in the Coachella Valley, provides the same services as Julian’s Housing Program and, like Julian’s Housing Program, counts on the support of faith communities like St. Margaret’s.

Prevalence of Domestic Violence in the United States

  • On average more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States. In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner.
  • In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published data collected in 2005 that finds that women experience two million injuries from intimate partner violence each year.
  • Nearly one in four women in the United States reports experiencing violence by a current or former spouse or boyfriend at some point in her life.
  • Women are much more likely than men to be victimized by a current or former intimate partner. Women are 84 percent of spouse abuse victims and 86 percent of victims of abuse at the hands of a boyfriend or girlfriend and about three-fourths of the persons who commit family violence are male.
  • There were 248,300 rapes/sexual assaults in the United States in 2007, more than 500 per day, up from 190,600 in 2005. Women were more likely than men to be victims; the rate for rape/sexual assault for persons age 12 or older in 2007 was 1.8 per 1,000 for females and 0.1 per 1,000 for males.
  • The United States Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 3.4 million persons said they were victims of stalking during a 12-month period in 2005 and 2006. Women experience 20 stalking victimizations per 1,000 females age 18 and older, while men experience approximately seven stalking victimizations per 1,000 males age 18 and older.

Source: Futures Without Violence website.
Document: Get the Facts: The Facts on Domestic, Dating and Sexual Violence. Includes links to the reports documenting the facts presented here.

Photo: ECS Julian’s Housing Progrm Brochure

Advent Calendar Day 13: Veterans Village of San Diego

Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD)

(The Rev.) Bill Mahedy (d. 2011) helped me find my way into the Episcopal Church. Bill helped many others find their way. Moreover, he taught us all how to “pay it forward.” ~dan rondeau

Quote . . .Veterans Village of San Diego was founded in 1981 by Vietnam veterans who were struggling with the traumas of war and looking to enhance services from the VA that were available to them at that time.

One day in 1981, five of them were sitting around in a group counseling session, talking seriously about mounting a combat assault on the VA. They knew they would probably get arrested but they were desperate to shine a spotlight on the lack of medical and psychological care for Vietnam veterans.

As luck would have it, the facilitator of the counseling session was Father William Mahedy, who served as an Army chaplain in Vietnam. Mahedy made a suggestion to the group. “Why don’t you take this energy and do something that will really make a difference?”

The group took the suggestion to heart and formed Vietnam Veterans of San Diego to help their comrades who were sleeping on the streets, under bridges and in parks.

From this modest beginning, VVSD has evolved over the past three decades into a nationally-recognized , non governmental organization known for delivering innovative services to veterans. (From the “History of Veterans Village of San Diego”)

Mission of Veterans Village of San Diego

“Leave no one behind.”

For the rest of the story: History of Veterans Village of San Diego.

Veterans Village of San Diego Home Page. Hear what the Spirit is saying.

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What is Stand Down?

In times of war, exhausted combat units requiring time to rest and recover were removed from the battlefields to a place of relative security and safety. Today, Stand Down refers to a community-based intervention program designed to help the nation’s estimated 200,000 homeless veterans “combat” life on the streets.

VVSD organized the nation’s first Stand Down in 1988. Since then, the program has been widely replicated nationwide. Today, more than 200 Stand Downs take place across the country every year. “The program has become recognized as the most valuable outreach tool to help homeless veterans in the nation today,” according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

Stand Down’s philosophy is a hand up, not a hand out. The hand up is made possible each year by the dedication of thousands of volunteers and numerous sponsors.

Meals are prepared by VFW, American Legion, VVSD, Kiwanis, and supported by the Lions Clubs, Rotary and local food distributors.

Perhaps most important of all is the feeling of safety. For the first time in possibly days, weeks or even months our homeless brothers and sisters can leave their possessions in the care of others and rest.

Stand Down is a place of miracles. Lives are changed and lives are saved. The founders of Stand Down had a dream. They made it a reality, one which continues to offer a true stand down for all homeless veterans. (from the VVSD Stand Down Page)

Stand Down – a YouTube video glimpse into Stand Down in San Diego

Photo: VVSD website