It’s almost time! Our next 8 week challenge is coming up fast! Are you ready to grab your friends, choose your cause, create your campaign, change your world and tell your story? Get your team together and start dreaming about how you’re going to change the world between March 19th – May 15th, together with hundreds of others across the country.
Team registration opens on March 1st so come back and register your team, create your profile page, and start spreading the word about what you are doing to change the world. Plan out your 8 week campaign in advance so your team can hit the ground running once March 19th hits!
Share your ideas on our “stories” page or contact us if you have any questions or just need some help brainstorming ideas!
Help us spread the word and change more lives by inviting others to register a team. Our goal is to have 200 teams raise an average of $5,000 each allowing us to give 1 million dollars to those in need! It’s a big dream but with your help we can do it!
Find us on facebook and follow us on twitter to get the inside scoop on things leading up to March 19th.
We can’t wait to see the creative stuff you come up with and the ripple effect that your projects with have in your communities, in communities in need, and in your own lives! Join us starting March 19th!
Dylan is a 17-year-old living in Argentina that I had the pleasure of meeting a few weeks ago. His story broke my heart! It’s a long story so I’ll give you the quick version but we will be following this story in the coming months. I want to introduce you to Dylan in the hopes that you will help me keep my promise to him.
Dylan’s mom is a US citizen and his dad is from Argentina where Dylan was born. After years of domestic abuse Dylan’s mom finally went to the Argentine police to report it. Dylan’s father disappeared to India and Dylan and his younger brother Brandon have been caught in the crossfire of an international legal battle filled with corruption and abuse ever since.
Arrangements were made for them to move to the United States but an international law established to protect children from cross-border child abduction, a corrupt court in Argentina, and a powerful family history all enabled Dylan’s father to force the boys back to Argentina in 2002 to live with him. They were then separated from their mother, alone with an abusive father. Eventually, the mother returned to Argentina, regained custody and in 2005 was allowed to go to the US for 30 days with the boys. At the end of that time Dylan said to his mom: ”I will not go back to Argentina. I would rather kill myself that go back to that life”, so they went into hiding until they were found in 2008 and sent back to Argentina to live with their father again. In talking about his dad, Dylan said: “He threw me down a flight of stairs, punched and kicked me, threw things at my brother and me, and withheld food to keep us quiet. He would put locks on the fridge and cupboards and starve us. There was no communication available to us and no way to get help. We were not allowed to see my mom. I wrote S.O.S. e-mails from a neighbor’s house to the US Embassy and when they tried to visit, my father refused to let them meet with us. I finally escaped and took a taxi to the U.S. Embassy for help. I tried to show local Argentine police more bruises from my father’s abuse but they were afraid of my father so nothing happened.” On one occasion his dad broke his arm as he tried to escape and Dylan was hospitalized because of the abuse.
Along with their mother, Dylan and Brandon have been fighting an ongoing court battle trying to prove their father’s abuse and pleading with judges to allow them to return to the US. Because Dylan’s dad is related to the infamous Che Guevara and because his father is a powerful and respected military figure the courts have ruled against the boys again and again.
Dylan finished by telling me that he turns 18 this June, making him old enough to choose where he wants to live. I asked him what his plan is and he said: “I will be on a plane to the US on the day I turn 18!” There was sadness in his eyes as he told me this because his brother who is still years away from his 18th birthday will be left behind until the courts rule in his favor and let him leave the country. This may not happen until he, too, turns 18.
Before we said goodbye I asked Dylan how loveworks could help. His response was simple. “Help me get home to the US!” he said. He has no money for a flight home since any money they do have is spent trying to secure their freedom in court and buying groceries. His father has only paid 7 months of child food allowance in the 10 years this case has been going on. I made Dylan a promise that loveworks would pay for his flight back to the US for his birthday.
The boys have filled out a case report with our IJM partners in the US who are looking into the case. Our hope is that their expertise will help Brandon join his brother in the US soon.
Dylan and Brandon are victims of violent oppression. If you want to help Dylan get home choose Violent Oppression as your cause or make a donation with a note specifying that your donation is to bring Dylan home.
Stay tuned for updates about Dylan and Brandon!
Let me introduce you to a country far different from our own! Burundi is a small land locked country in Central Africa just South of Rwanda that is mostly unknown and often forgotten. Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world with 80% percent of the 8.7 million people in Burundi living in poverty. Burundi has one of the worst health care systems of any other country with only 3 doctors for every 100,000 people and a high rate of HIV/AIDS. The life expectancy of children born in Burundi is 48.5 years and 56.8% of children under the age of 5 in Burundi are chronically malnourished. Access to education is very limited and a scientific study of 178 nations rated Burundi's population as having the lowest satisfaction with life in the world.
Many of these things are the result of years of violent conflict. Burundi has been profoundly affected by war and continues to feel the deep effects of the Rwanda genocide. For years there has been political unrest with 3 different tribal groups (Hutus, Tutsis, and Twa) fighting for power. With all of these factors the future of this country looks bleak.
But in the midst of this despair there is hope, in the midst of darkness there is light. In December I spent a weekend with a guy named Freddy who is the national director of Youth for Christ (YFC) Burundi. I asked Freddy about his country and he shared with me a vision for the future of Burundi that made my eyes widen and my heart beat faster with excitement. After Freddy shared his dream for a new Burundi with me he told me about all the amazing things that YFC Burundi is doing to see that dream become a reality.
YFC Burundi knows that the children and youth of today are the future of the country so they are doing everything they can to reach a generation of youth to empower them to bring hope to the entire nation. The also invite anyone who is interested to join them in praying for the future of their country together each week.I was so moved by my time with Freddy and hearing the great vision that he has for his country that immediately I asked how loveworks could help. A partnership was in the making and loveworks will be helping to fund the orphanages, provide nurses and doctors for the clinic as well as teachers for the school. We will also contribute to the construction of the vocational training center through our Economic Development fund. We will be partnering with a local Edmonton based initiative called D.R.O.P. (Daring to Reach Orphaned People) that exists to raise awareness and support for the work of YFC Burundi. I am hoping to travel to Burundi this summer to meet the people that we will be helping and see first hand the work of YFC Burundi. I am so excited for loveworks to be a part of Freddy’s vision! Together we get to participate in the rebuilding of a country through the lives of young people we have helped to change.
Loveworks is about inspiring creativity and empowering young people to help create change and make a difference with their lives by loving those in need no matter how young they are. When we first started dreaming about this we weren’t sure if it would work and even had people tell us that it wouldn’t. I’m glad we didn’t listen!
When we set out on this adventure we knew we wanted to inspire a generation but the craziest thing happened…we are the ones being inspired by what young people all over are doing to help create change. Last spring we put the challenge out to join us in spending 8 weeks seeking justice together. A 14 year old girl name Rachael from Langley B.C. read about the 8 week challenge in an article written by International Justice Mission (IJM) and knew right away that this is something she wanted to do. She grabbed 3 other girls, including her sister and 2 friends, and they started dreaming about how they might help victims of violent oppression through 8 weeks of projects. They called themselves The Voice. Rachael’s mom, Karen, agreed to be their team mentor and helped encourage them along the way.
The challenge started and the girls put their plan into action posting the events that they had planned on a website that they had created and their facebook page inviting people to come hear more about human trafficking and donate to the cause. They put on a big event called Cry Freedom and hosted a concert and served fair trade chocolate fondue! They filled over 30 tables and 230 people showed up to support the girls! By the end of the 8 weeks these 4 teenage girls had raised over $37,000 to fight violent oppression. 100% of what they raised went directly to our partner IJM to help fund their work in Bolivia fighting child sexual exploitation.
The staff at IJM were so inspired by the girls that they received the Seek Justice Award, which is given to a group or individual that demonstrates extraordinary commitment to the fight against injustice. The girls were also given the opportunity to share their story at an IJM event in Vancouver in November. We can’t wait to see what The Voice comes up with this year!
Our hope is that you will be as inspired by their story as we have
been and that you will join The Voice in responding to the call to seek
justice with your own creative efforts this spring.
It doesn’t take much to determine that the world needs to change. Spend a day asking as many people as you can find if they think the world needs to change and I am willing to bet that 100% of them would say yes. What if we asked the same question to the millions of children orphaned by AIDS in Africa? Or the millions of children sold into slavery? Or the mother who helplessly holds her son who is dying of starvation while we live in a land of all you can eat buffets? My guess is that they would be able to answer this question for us. The truth is that you don’t have to look far to realize that we live in a broken world full of injustice and if our mission really is to love others as we love ourselves then we have work to do and changes to make!
So if we know the world needs to change then who is going to do it? I was in the grocery store with my wife a while ago and John Mayer’s, Waiting on the World to Change, came on the radio. As I embarrassed her by singing out loud with a box of lasagna noodles as a mic the words suddenly hit me for the first time: “it’s not that we don’t care, we just know that the fight ain’t fair so we keep waiting, waiting on the world to change”. Our world faces massive challenges like hunger, extreme poverty, human trafficking, HIV/AIDS and so many more that deep down most of us feel like there really isn’t anything that we can do so we too are just waiting on the world to change. I think we all have a choice to make. Are we going to be a generation that is overwhelmed by the size of the challenges facing our world and decide to wait for the world to magically change or are we going to be a generation that decides to take courage and stand together to launch a movement fueled by compassion and love that might just change the world?
The world is the way that it is today because of the way that generations that have gone before us have responded to the challenges the world threw at them. It is our turn to write the story of our generation! What kind of story will we leave for those who come after us to continue? This is our moment. The time is now!
What if we started small and built momentum as we went? A snowflake landing on the ground doesn’t have much of an impact but when you take a handful of snowflakes and squish them together you have a snowball that you can do some damage with! What if you took that snowball and started rolling it in the snow around you? Pretty quickly you could have a snowball big enough to take out a house! Loveworks started with a handful of committed people and our hope is to see it grow into a movement that will change the world forever. It starts with 8 weeks! Grab a few friends and commit to setting aside 8 weeks with us this spring to spend yourselves on behalf of the poor and experience how it changes your life and how the world will forever be changed by your effort.
Can 8 weeks change the world? I think it just might!
Have you ever given money to a cause and wondered how much of that money will actually get to people in need? I have! As we searched across the country for the best non-profit organizations we were shocked to find that most of the organizations we came across took at least 10% from donations for administration and fundraising. Some took more than 20%!!!
From the beginning we have felt that there has to be a way for us to give more to those in need and give people confidence that when they give to us, their donation will have the greatest possible impact! We know how hard teams work to create amazing projects and how every penny raised is a labor of love and passion so we started dreaming of ways to honor our teams by helping more people with the money they raise. Then we had a crazy thought…what if we don’t take any of the money that teams raise and instead give every penny to our partners to help create change? And so, the 100% promise was born.
The 100% promise is our commitment to you and to our teams that 100% of the money that you raise will be given to our partners who will use it to help people in the area of concern that you have chosen! Somehow this just made sense and now we sleep better at night knowing your hard raised money is helping to create change for more people. We ask our partners to honor our commitment to make the most out of every donation by challenging them to use as much of the money as possible to meet actual need in the places that they work.
Because we give all the money away we often get asked: “How do you keep things going? How do you feed your families, pay for office supplies, plane tickets, etc.?” The answer is simple. We knew that if we were going to give all the money from team projects away that we would have to find another way to buy sticky notes and the other stuff we need to keep this movement going, so we developed a stream of funding from private donors who help us cover our costs. These people are the heroes who make this all possible by giving generously and regularly because they believe in our vision and because they believe in the potential of this generation to change the world!
We hope that the 100% promise will inspire and empower more people to join the movement and help create change. Will you?
For the past 2 years we have partnered and become friends with International Justice Mission (IJM) Canada, an amazing organization that we have given over $60,000 to in order to help fight violent oppression. IJM has field offices all over the world but we were taken by the stories emerging from their field office in La Paz, Bolivia. IJM told us about the great challenges and injustices taking place in that city and how thousands of vulnerable street children were at risk for abuse, oppression, and trafficking. Child sexual abuse is a huge problem that the IJM team in Bolivia is working tirelessly to change. The IJM staff in Bolivia are real life heroes who go into some of the darkest places we can imagine armed with love and compassion and a thirst for justice.
This fall we received a story from IJM of a girl named Paloma that
the Bolivia field staff helped to rescue. We are so pumped to have been
able to play a part in securing Paloma’s freedom and in seeing her life
changed as hope was restored. Paloma’s story reminds us of why we do
what we do and inspires us to do more for the millions of others like
her who are waiting for help. We pray for more stories like this to
emerge as we continue to support the work of IJM in Bolivia!