Volunteer

 Let’s Get Selfless! 

Have a heart to give back, but don’t know where to begin? Getting started can be overwhelming, so here is where I share some of my favorite charity organizations I’ve come across

“If you can’t feed one hundred people, then just feed one.”- Mother Teresa


IMPACTING HEARTS- LOS ANGELES

Through YOUNG LIFE

Helping Inner-City At-Risk Youth

https://impactinghearts.younglife.org/

I have made many mistakes (or poor decisions, as my mom would refer to them as), but one thing I have never in my life regretted doing was volunteering, or donating. Don’t have a passport or the funds to help overseas? No need to worry! Maybe God is calling you right where you are; to help your neighbors in your own backyard. I have blessed by working with the Impacting Hearts Organization (of Young Life Organization), for the last five years, and I have never regretted one day of it. If you are looking for an honest, Christ-following organization that helps inner city youth in Los Angeles, then look no further than https://impactinghearts.younglife.org

(**The below photos were all taken at Woodleaf Summer Camp, where we take a bus load of high-schoolers out of the city, and up into nature. All is made possible by donations given. It costs about $550/child to attend this camp for one week. All food, lodging, games, activities, etc. are included. It is life-changing for anyone that gets to attend)

THE GIVING SPIRIT

Serving the Homeless in Los Angeles

http://www.thegivingspirit.org/

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My little crew at the volunteer center before we hit the road to get to Downtown…. just 4 of the hundreds of volunteers that helped that day and all weekend

My mom called me about six months ago, and she was SO EXCITED about an organization she was introduced to; The Giving Spirit Los Angeles. She has just finished her volunteer shift to give out Survival Kits to homeless people on the streets in Downtown Los Angeles, and she said it was one of the  most moving experiences she’s ever done. I was so intrigued about the experience that she had just had, so I told her I wanted to be apart of it.

Well, it turns out, my mom was not exaggerating. The entire experience was incredible. The Giving Spirit is so organized, well-thought out, they’ve clearly done their research, and they lead with LOVE. No gimmicks,  no peer-pressure, and no condemnation if you feel under-qualified. The Giving Spirit team are so encouraging, and equip you with the best practices to help you openly chat with these people on the street, and  listen to their story.

I’ve always known that Los Angeles is glittered with homeless, but it is insane that 12 miles from Beverly Hills (one of the wealthiest cities), is Skid Row, where over 10,000 souls sit on the street day after day. TWELVE MILES.

Giving back can become a lifestyle, and organizations like The Giving Spirit make that an easy possibility for each of us! Check out all the details for yourself at: www.thegivingspirit.org

Here are some photos of my recent experience in December. Hope you enjoy!! XO


Mission of Hope- HAITI

Serving the people of Haiti

www.mohhaiti.org

If you have an itch to stamp your passport while giving back, then I would ABSOLUTELY, 100%, HIGHLY SUGGEST you check out Mission of Hope; Haiti. The photos above are a quick snapshot of one of my most treasured trips. Photos cannot begin to capture the way that my heart was moved, challenged, and renewed after spending a week in Haiti.

Mission of Hope exists to bring life transformation to every man, woman, and child in Haiti. They desire to serve the nation of Haiti, and see lives changed, through the love of Jesus Christ. 

Real Talk: Not photographed– the sweat pouring from every inch of my back, neck, and forehead (I had visited in the month of Sept…one of their hottest months). It was HOT, but SO WORTH every ounce of sweat.  I would happily go back and sweat 10x more in a heart beat, if it would guarantee that I’d dance around with those kids again. Missions trips like these are not easy (and I commend EVERY, SINGLE HEART that travels to foreign countries to live or visit on the regular. #GetItGirl YOU are a real life #SuperHero). But if Creole is not your first language, and you’ve traveled on nothing but paved roads, then I pray that you have an open mind for what you’re getting into. What I LOVED about M.O.H. is that they submerse you into the culture, while still trying to offer the basic comforts of U.S. living (Hello, PB&J sandwich!).  Local translators guide you every step of the way, you have your own truck driver every time you go into the towns, each day is strategically planned out for you and your group, and you get to hear locals stories and interact with them, just like you would a neighbor back home.

My personal favorite part of the trip was attending a local church service. It felt like a slice of heaven to share a roof with such passionate, hopeful, joyful, authentic loving people, who sincerely and simply LOVED God. Then, at the end of the sermon when I thought all was over, they were just getting started. A COMPLETE-DANCE-PARTY broke lose as everyone kept praising God to worship songs. Music raged on, hands flew into the air, feet were moving, and hips were shaking. Before I knew it, a Conga line swept me away into the chapel, and I was sold. Despite the pounds of sweat pouring from my forehead, I stepped back and got a glimpse of what Heaven will look like. I saw people from different countries, cities, backgrounds, upbringings, race, gender, and language with only one thing in common: celebrating the creator of the universe; in all His greatness. I have seen quite a few parties in my day, BUT THIS PARTY was life-changing. 

PLEASE CHECK THEM OUT if you are looking to donate outside of the US or go on a trip yourself: www.mohhaiti.org

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Men Standing Against Trafficking

Silently Protesting the Human Traffic Industry

This isn’t just for men; this is for everyone. As of 2016, 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery worldwide. Of those 40.3 million, 24.9 million people are victims of forced labor (16 million in private sector exploitation, 4.8 million in sexual exploitation, and over 4 million in forced labor by state authorities) and 15.4 of forced marriage. So this is clearly and issue that doesn’t just affect men, but too many people. But we do need men to physically stand alongside the women and say, “No, this is not OK.”

Many people don’t know what human trafficking is, how it happens, how to recognize if it is happening, or how we are unknowingly protecting it by not standing against it and helping these victims. AWARENESS IS ONE OF THE LARGEST KEYS TO ABOLISHING THIS UNDERGROUND SLAVERY. And sometimes, all this awareness takes is simply holding a sign in strategically picked spots where human trafficking is growing rapidly. That is what M.S.A.T does. They meet quarterly every year in large groups to peacefully draw attention to such a horrific epidemic, that is affecting every neighborhood, background, race, age. So that means that we need to invade every neighborhood, rip the veil off, STAND against it.

While these might just seem like numbers, each statistic represent LIVES, like you and me. And this is happening in every city in the US, especially the sex-trafficking. The statistics are staggering. If you knew the depths of the truth, it would make you want to hold up a sign too!