Great News Updates from Your HOPE worldwide North River Chapter!

“Jesus went around doing good… for God was with him” (Acts 10:38).

 

A huge Thank You to our North River Church family for the countless ways that you have loved, encouraged, donated essential items, and served our local and international neighbors throughout the year. Your love has shined brightly! Please take a moment to glance through some photos that capture special moments of these past several months. Thank you for your generous and loving hearts! 

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The Juneteenth Celebration - Just Wow!

Volunteers from our HOPEww North River Chapter were out in full force at the Juneteenth Cultural Festival at Marietta Square (last Saturday, June 15)! Our volunteers passed out thousands of free books that were donated by Books for Africa. It was an amazing way to serve the community! We're so thankful for our volunteers and our community partnerships!

THANK YOU to the Walton Communities and Mission 1:27 Adventure Centers!

We wanted to express a huge heartfelt thank you to Walton Communities and Mission 1:27 Adventure Centers!! We are forever grateful for your ongoing and generous support of HOPE worldwide North River.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! We love you!

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BIG Thank You to our May Birthday Heroes

"Saturday, May 18th, this great group of Birthday Heroes were able to celebrate with 4 children having birthdays at Youth Villages! Parties were held for the children and their housemates! 

In our younger elementary party the children were walking in and taking their seats. A boy who had his birthday in April came in, and showed us he still had his card from last month. You can tell this card had been well read, carried, folded and all the finger smudges revealed it was well treasured! It continues to amaze us how one card in which we write just a simple note and our name can be cherished. It is a reminder to them that they are loved!

Even though it might look like we have a lot of volunteers, we need more. These children crave attention, to be noticed, to be heard and to have someone play alongside them. We can always use you!!" - Debbie Swain

Pictured, left to right: Debbie, Xavier, Mamie, Ray, Debbie, Jim, Christie, Cindi and Evan.

Thank you to our wonderful volunteers for spreading love and encouragement to these amazing kids, we love you! If you are interested in being a part of our June Birthday Heroes or another future month, please check out our Volunteer Hub for sign-ups!

BIG Thank You to the Sadoff and the Ozim family groups for putting together and donating POPP Packs!

We are sharing gratitude from Kit Cummings for the Sadoff and Ozim family groups for recently putting together and donating 16 Power of Peace Project backpacks! POPP backpacks are filled with 13 different kinds of supplies from bibles and snacks to full-size shampoo bottles. These recent donations show the love and care of our wonderful volunteers for our community. Thank you family groups and thank you Kit for your inspiration!

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Thank you to Debbie Swain and all the wonderful volunteers who help throw monthly birthday parties at Youth Villages!

Recently, Debbie Swain was honored as 'Volunteer of the Year' by Youth Villages, where a monthly crew of North River volunteers go and throw birthday parties for the kids staying there. Debbie and all our volunteers do a wonderful job encouraging the children and bringing a fun celebration directly to them. Here is a beautiful letter written by Debbie about the impact that our monthly birthday parties have on the kids at Youth Villages:

Dear Birthday Heroes-current and former ones!

Last night Youth Villages held an appreciation dinner for volunteers in their mentoring program and for the Birthday Heroes!  It was a wonderful dinner at Copelands in Smyrna, yet it is what I learned that has stuck in my mind! I will try to be brief!

One of the children's therapist/counselors spoke of the impact the Birthday Hero program has upon the children. Her passion for the children quickly shined through as she spoke.  She told how the children arrive at Youth Villages with struggles and trauma at such a young age and they need to be reaffirmed that they are valued, loved and are special. You could tell she loves what she does in working with the children! She shared her interactions with the children as they had celebrated their birthday with us, the thrill they have in being recognized for who they are! It is so needed! Our consistent, monthly support has become something the children rely upon....they know we will be there.

After the dinner several of us were talking more in-depth with the therapist.  We commented on the positive changes we have seen in the children. She shared with us how valuable our cards have become for the children. The notes, the names written inside of the card are their treasure, people who care for them.  Because the cards are important, there have been fear that other kids might take or rip their card to hurt or get even with them. Now the counselors make a copy of the birthday card the children get and she said they even have laminated some to preserve the card for the children. The card means the world to them. 

Thank you for your love and energy you pour into this effort! 

-

Debbie's daughter, Annie, also posted a kind-hearted shoutout to her mom about the impact Debbie has on these kids: " . . . my mom was recognized as volunteer of the year by Youth Villages, which houses children with emotional and behavioral issues. she throws birthday parties every month for the kids; she pours her heart into planning them and baking homemade treats. the kids love the birthday cards they receive so much that they are their most prized possessions during their stay there! ❤️ so proud of her and the love she shows them.”

Thank you Debbie for all that you do, and thank you to all the other volunteers who go out of your way to bring fun, love, and encouragement to these kids. We love you!

If you are interested in joining an upcoming Youth Villages birthday party crew, please visit our Volunteer Hub and sign up to join the fun!

Baseball Buddies are Home Run Fun for Everyone!

On April 13th and 20th, dozens of North River volunteers and friends were fun-loving Baseball Buddies with six teams of amazing kids!

The Baseball Buddies program in Acworth pairs volunteers 1:1 with children with disabilities as they play a game of baseball, while the parents get to sit in the stands and enjoy watching their children play! Big shoutout to all you amazing volunteers who joined in the fun!

**More Baseball Buddy volunteers are needed for THIS Saturday, May 18th! We've got TWO games that need volunteers for both teams! Let's do it!! Please sign up on our Volunteer Hub or email us at hopeww@nrcoc.com

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Super thankful for all of our wonderful volunteers who help with our weekly Publix donations!

Every week throughout these past 14 months, dedicated volunteers pick up, sort, and deliver donated breads and sweets from local Publix stores and distribute them to various community partners who support marginalized children and families!

These faithful helpers reflect all ages and sizes, and shine so brightly in our community! Please come help and join in the fun! :)

Sign up on our Volunteer Hub or email us at hopeww@nrcoc.com

Michele Dennis and kids at K.E. Elementary collect 2,701 books for Books for Africa!

A HUGE shoutout to Michele Dennis, a North River member and Special Ed teacher at K.E. Taylor Elementary school in Gwinnett, who helped students from all grades to collect and donate children's books to our amazing community partner, Books for Africa. This is the second year that Michele and her students worked together to collect and send books to fellow students in Africa! This year they almost tripled their goal and excitedly collected 2,701 books! Just wow!

Michele shared about the love she saw in her students by their genuine desire to give their books and share their love of reading to those who have little or no access to books. She noted that "One book donated goes a long way for a worthy cause."

Thank you to Michele, and thank you to the wonderful students at K.E. Elementary in Gwinnett for all your hard work and devotion to encouraging fellow kids across the world! You are an example for all of us to follow.

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April's Mission 1:27 Adventure Center Day

Our volunteers and the kids at Mission 1:27's Adventure Center became 'bucket fillers' on Thursday, April 4th.

We want to send a big thank you to our volunteers and our community partners who helped teach kids about kindness at two Mission 1:27 Adventure Centers earlier this month! The volunteers shared a book, Have You Filled a Bucket Today?, with the kids and talked about being kind to all people to help "fill" their "invisible bucket". The volunteers and kids also sang songs, had lots of fun, and even did a craft where the kids had their very own little buckets to decorate. We had volunteers of many different ages come and participate - we welcome volunteers of all ages! Everyone had a fun time and it was filled with lots of laughs and love.

"Pan y Palabras" Day

Breads, Sweets, & Books Galore!

Here are some photos from our recent "Pan y Palabras" day at a local apartment complex, filled with breads, sweets, and books galore! The kids loved the "Bucket" book activity and the craft activity. 30 kids checked out books to read over their spring break and most importantly, everyone felt loved! Thank you to our amazing volunteers for your love!

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Birthday Heroes Brighten Five March Birthdays

It was exciting that five children at Youth Villages were celebrating their birthday on in March! On Saturday, March 23, there was a lot of wonderful and fun activity going on.

Since Easter is in March this year, we knew one of our activities should be an egg hunt. Each egg had candy surprises in each one -- there was a total of 36 dozen eggs for the chilldren to find! The children were able to decorate bags to keep their egg treasures. On the bags, the children used highlighters to make their own thumbprint chicks. The bags were all so adorable!

All kids love games -- our 'Squeak, Bunny, Squeak!' game was a hit. The children also loved story time and love all our volunteers! 

In the group photo of the March birthday party volunteers (from left to right): Christie, Xavier, Mamie, Marianne, Glenn, Betty, and Debbie

Thank you to the amazing women at Northview Church!

Sending a huge thank you and shout out to the wonderful women at Northview who volunteered their time and creative skills during a women's night on March 20th to work on a project soon to be used for a Community Service Brigade in Central America!

The women made a beautiful interactive felt story board with many felt pieces for the kids and families to enjoy as they attend the HOPE Worldwide Community Service Brigade clinic in El Salvador this May. Thank you!

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A huge "Thank You" to all of our wonderful North River volunteers -- your love shines brightly in our community!

"The Marietta City Schools Board of Education would like to recognize and thank North River Church for its contributions throughout the MCS community. North River Church provides dozens of meals for families during the holidays and school breaks. Members have also succeeded in raising $7,000 to start food pantries for two of our schools and work with the MCS to gift books to children in the community.

Congratulations to North River Church for its outstanding support, and thank you to Jasmine Jackson, Noelle Broyles, and a host of volunteers for receiving this special recognition."

A HUGE "Thank You" from Destiny Broadnax, the Concert Event organizer!

"THANK YOU to everyone who supported our Black History Month Concert, 'A Tribute to Black Art!'  It was an incredibly special and successful night...all because of your presence and generosity! 

Together we raised over $7,000, which will support: 

  1. Two new food pantries in local schools, 

  2. Families in obtaining school dress code clothing for local children, 

  3. The Parent University training program, "Rezilient Kidz/ Raising Highly Capable Kids."  

This concert event was by the community and for the community! Your support will help empower, educate, and encourage local children and their families, enabling them to experience a generational impact of positive change. We know God will multiply the fruits of all of our efforts! 

On behalf of the concert planning team, HOPE worldwide, HOPE worldwide North River Chapter, and our community partners, we want to thank ALL of you for your participation and support of the performers, vendors, and Marietta community! 

And importantly, a HUGE "Thank You" shout out to Books for Africa for their generous donation of HUNDREDS of excellent quality Black History books for both children and adults! Concert attendees were beyond thrilled to choose their favorite books to take home as gifts! 

Stay tuned for what's in store next year!"

With Gratitude, 

Destiny Broadnax

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Birthday Heroes Share the Love at February Birthday Celebration

Valentine hearts filled our games and activities for our birthday party at Youth Villages on Saturday, February 17th! We love celebrating with the elementary age boys and the girls each month! Our Birthday Heroes, back row from left to right: Dennis, Mike, Jim and Glenn. Front row: Esther, Marianne, Xavier, Mamie, Debbie and Betty.

We cherish the time at Youth Villages! Please consider becoming part of the team! Anyone 18+years may join us!

January Birthday Heroes Celebration: Cold Weather, Warm Hearts!

On Saturday, January 20th, our Birthday Heroes were able to hold three birthday parties for the elementary-age boys and all the girls at Youth Villages in Douglasville! Birthday Heroes from left to right: Makayha, Cindi, Christie, Jim, Glenn, Benetta, Debbie and Marianne (not pictured: Xavier).

Our parties took on a ‘snow’ theme to celebrate our 7 winter birthday children! We looked at pictures of individual snowflakes taken by scientist Kenneth Libbrecht and learned about the making of a snowflake. Each snowflake is uniquely beautiful!

The children enjoyed our ‘snow’ games, including one in which the children used their ‘snow’ blower to remove cotton-ball ‘snowballs’ from the table! A classic game of freeze tag  was one of their favorites as well!

Each child got to create their own prize bag by making snowflake rubbings using white and blue crayons. The prize bag became their goody bag for the candy they won.

One activity that has become popular with all the children is having a Birthday Hero read a story to them. The party each month becomes a highlight in the children’s life! Please consider becoming a Birthday Hero!

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Merry Christmas to All!

$3,000 in Wal-Mart gift card donations helped numerous families provide their children with presents for Christmas this year. Thank you to all who gave!

A Walk Through 2023

Year in Review

Thank you, North River, for a wonderful year of coming together and serving our neighbors in need with such great love!

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Beloved Communities are Realities!

Thank you, North River Family, for an amazing MLK weekend! 

NR members, along with friends of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, teamed up to volunteer at eight different “stations” in the Lighthouse to organize donations and program activities within the HOPE Depot! 

Volunteers put together five bookcases and two storage shelves to house our library books and the constant in/out flow of donations. Other folks organized huge quantities of donated items that will be given to our trusted community partners later this week. 

Over 150 Care Packs and encouraging Care Cards were created for our unhoused neighbors. Beautifully decorated cards (written in Spanish) were created by kids and adults to welcome and encourage the children in Honduras who will be attending the HOPE worldwide Clinic next week. 
Over 700 new books were categorized and added to our READ with HOPE Library, which now has over 5,500 high quality books to share within our community! 

But most wonderful of all was the overwhelming love, joy, fun, and laughter that everyone shared while we served together! Thank you, North River family, for being the Beloved Community that Dr. MLK Jr. dreamed about… a family who genuinely loves, welcomes, serves, and encourages our neighbors around us!

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November Birthday Heroes!

Saturday, November 11th was our Birthday Celebration at Youth Villages! Despite the rainy weather, the children had a wonderful time gobbling up turkey cupcakes, hearing turkey jokes, and playing ‘corny’ games! These Birthday Heroes led our first party at Janie’s House, is the home for 16 girls on the campus of Youth Villages. Our Birthday Heroes (left to right): Glenn, Xavier, Jim, Betty, Dennis, Kiana, Debbie, Marianne, Alyssa, Antoinette and Esther. Next party will be in January 2024!

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October Birthday Heroes

On Saturday, October 28th, the Birthday Heroes were able to host two birthday parties for elementary age boys at Youth Villages in Douglasville, GA. Three boys celebrated their birthdays with cupcakes, ice cream and a variety of fall theme games! Thank you to (L to R) Christie, Esther, Debbie, Alyssa, Glenn, Cindi and Makayha for making the party fun with their enthusiasm and energy!

Thank You, Volunteers in Action!

Kit Cummings, Founder of the Power of Peace Project (POPP)
Gratitude Packs to Thank Veterans!

One West Cobb family group made 40 Gratitude Packs last night in preparation for Veterans Day on November 11th!

Want to put together a small "thank you" bag for local veterans visiting the Marietta VA this Veterans Day? See the instruction sheet below!

 

September Youth Villages Birthday Heroes Party

On Saturday, September 16th, we were excited to have 4 people go through the orientation to become Birthday Heroes! That gave us 11 wonderful people from North River to participate in the 2 birthday parties for the elementary age boys at Youth Villages! 

The boys were laughing, sharing, engaged in all of our activities and truly enjoyed the personal attention they were able to get from our Birthday Heroes! 

Now that we have more certified Birthday Heroes, in October we will begin hosting a birthday party for the girls at Youth Villages. The girl residence is called Janie’s House. That party will have 16 girls from ages 7 to 18. Christie Sires will be the heart behind our girls’ party! We are blessed with wonderful volunteers!

Want to join us? Our next party will be Saturday, October 28th! Those needing to attend orientation it will be at 10 am with our party being at 1 pm. Hope to see you there!

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Retired Teacher Donates her Books to HOPE Library

A huge Thank You to Noelle's next-door neighbors, the Freys, who along with their dear friend and fellow retired teacher Ms. Phyllis L. (From Mississippi!) donated 471 excellent quality children’s books for our READ with HOPE Library! All the way from Mississippi to Marietta -- Just wow! And thanks to our volunteers for sorting and organizing them by reading level to house in the HOPE library in the Lighthouse!

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Volunteers Break Bread (Up Into Different Donation Boxes!)

We are grateful for our volunteers! There are those who pick up the bread from Publix supermarkets, those who mark/sort the food items on Monday mornings, and those who deliver to local ministries and to neighbors in need. Please contact Noelle if you know of a family or anyone in need who could be blessed by a bread donation!

Baseball Buddies score a home run!

The volunteers for the Baseball Buddies game at Horizon Field in Acworth were exceptional!! They jumped right in and created quick friendships with the kids. The volunteers loved helping the kids swing the bats, run to the bases, and catch the balls -- it was such a fun day to be out! We love our North River volunteers!

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Hear from a Volunteer!

We are grateful for our volunteers who helped make the summer "Read with Hope" program successful!

Last week Beebe Hargrove gave her perspective of working at the Chestnut Hill Apartments. Mike Eldred, who is one of the Hope North River Community Representatives for the East Cobb/Sandy Springs Community, came to Chestnut Hill and got hooked! He decided to join the "Read with Hope" program at Wynridge and Midwood Apartments in Marietta too! Here are Mike's words:

"The time serving the children in the Marietta community this summer was very rewarding for me. To see the smiles on their faces as they ran to us, I doubt I will ever forget.

It was an honor to work with my sisters this summer. The joy and love they shared was intoxicating, and the children were drawn to their kind spirits. Whether the children were doing a craft, exchanging books, or enjoying a cookie, I felt I was learning from them much more than I was teaching.

After working with the children this summer, I feel I have a better understanding of Matthew 18:3, 'Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.' I feel I am a better man because the opportunity that was given to me. Can't wait until next summer!"

Hear from a Volunteer!

From READ with HOPE Volunteer Beebe Hargrove:

"I volunteered with Read with Hope at Chestnut Hills 5 times during the summer with my two middle school daughters. A trip to the library, fresh stories, a fun activity with friends has always been an anchor in our families summer schedule. Being able to share with our mobile library at Chestnut Hills was really fun. Debbie always brought a great craft that broke the ice with quieter kids. Many of the older kids were eager for books and had plenty of good laughs at my toddler level Spanish, their own English was much more advanced. A few times we were able to play soccer for more active kids which my youngest daughter really enjoyed. 

Communicating with the Chestnut mamas was a mixture of my broken Spanglish and their growing English; we had more laughs and probably missed a few ideas. And although it was never said directly, a break in my kids' summer day, a few games, stories and new faces always made the week brighter. I think we were able to share that, and encourage summer reading, at Chestnut Hills. They certainly gave that to us."

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July Birthday Heroes!

Birthday Heroes visited Youth Villages on Saturday, July 22nd!

One Saturday each month, a group from North River ventures out to Douglasville, GA, to host two birthday parties for the elementary age children at Youth Villages. Youth Villages is a home for children with behavior and emotional needs. We are honored to celebrate with these children their birthdays by bringing birthday decorations, cupcakes, ice cream, juice boxes, and games to play! A real birthday party... and it is so much fun!

Interested in joining the party? There will be a volunteer orientation on Saturday, August 26th. Those wanting to join will need to bring a valid driver’s license. The orientation will begin at 10 am and will run until noon. The orientation will include a campus tour and procedures for a background check and fingerprinting. There will be a lunch break at 12:00 so the new volunteers may attend the birthday party at 1pm. Contact Debbie at 757-812-0256 or swain.debbie@yahoo.com if you're interested! 

In the group picture, L to R: Antoinette, Christie, Cindi, Mamie, Xavier, Marianne, Debbie.

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Youth Villages Birthday Heroes Celebrate June Birthdays!

On Saturday, June 24th, the Birthday Heroes held two parties at Youth Villages. As we arrived, we loved reuniting with our fellow 'heroes,' as always. We gathered to sign cards and write personal notes to the children we were celebrating that day, then decorated the room with banners, plates, a cake and cupcakes -- and, of course, the birthday chair for the birthday child! Each celebration is filled with joy and builds great camaraderie amongst the group.

We invite anyone 18+ to come and join in on this special opportunity to serve children in need. Join us at our next party, on Saturday, June 22nd! (Contact Debbie at swain.debbie@yahoo.com if you are interested.)

Campus Training Program Serves all Over

More than 100 Campus students served wholeheartedly in May in various ways within our local community, with MUST Ministry Food Pantry, Baseball Buddies, Books for Africa, and North River's Children's ministry classrooms. So grateful for these young men and women who came together to learn leadership through incredible service.

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May Birthday Heroes Celebrate Storytelling!

Our volunteers ventured out to Youth Villages in Douglasville on Saturday, May 13th, to host two birthday parties for the elementary age children! One of our challenges in our monthly parties is to keep the party unique! Different activities, games, stories, keep our parties from being routine! In one of the activities on Saturday the children worked in pairs to sort out six cards with images. Putting the cards in sequence was fun... but what was more fun was sharing the story! Hearing the children changing their voices, adding inflections, and putting emphasis on different scenes as they shared their stories was so fun and entertaining!

After all the activities, having birthday treats is always a highlight. Saturday's cupcakes looked like our Birthday Heroes' apron: covered with a lot of confetti!! Along with the cupcake, the children get ice cream and a juice box. Plus a small 'goody bag' of candy to enjoy later.

At the end of the two parties, the Birthday Heroes joined together to share thoughts and highlights. We always share how much FUN we had!

Won't you consider joining us at our next party, on Saturday, June 24th? Contact Debbie at swain.debbie@yahoo.com if you are interested!

In the picture (left to right): Makayha, Xavier, Debbie, Esther, Christie and Cindi

April Birthday Heroes Celebrate!

For the Youth Villages' birthday celebration on Saturday, April 29th, we were able to celebrate two children's birthdays with a group of 11 volunteers!

Volunteer Xavier Mills said, "I have always loved volunteering. Throughout my life, I've volunteered with various organizations, but there's always been a special place in my heart for serving with youth.  Volunteering with Youth Villages for Birthday Heroes is beyond rewarding. Witnessing the strengths and weaknesses of these amazing boys and girls motivates me to learn more about myself as I serve them in this small way. These children face HUGE obstacles in their lives, which often leave them physically and mentally broken; however, Birthday Hero parties allow them to be happy, worry-free giggle boxes... and that is the greatest reward of all!"  

(Group picture - Left to Right): Makayha, Marianne, Mamie, Xavier, Cassandra, Debbie, Cindi, Taylor, Esther and Christie and Brion in front. 

(Second picture): Brion and Christie trying to talk through glass isn't the easiest thing to do!

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Birthday Heroes at Easter

It came to the Birthday Heroes' attention that the April party would fall two weeks after Easter. Having an egg hunt two weeks after Easter wouldn’t be as much fun! 
With the help of North River’s Tuesday Ladies’ Bible Study, 240 plastic eggs were filled with candy in time to have an egg hunt for Easter! Here is the Volunteer Coordinator of Youth Villages, Kimmy Yon, picking up the eggs and other goodies to deliver to the children!

Publix Donations Continue to "Roll" In

We are grateful to be able to share wonderful Publix donations with our community partners who so faithfully serve families and individuals in our area! 

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March Madness at Youth Villages

Our Saturday, March 25th party was fantastic with seven North River Birthday Heroes participating! As we hosted two parties for the elementary age children at Youth Villages in Douglasville we began with some fun ‘minute to win it’ style games! We had a variety of picture books, and during the reading time it was exciting to see the children interact with our Birthday Heroes and throughly engage with the story! It was evident the children were having a great time and so were we! The two birthday boys received cards handmade by North River’s middle school girls, and all 20 children received cupcakes and ice cream. Please join us for our next party, Saturday, April 29th.

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North Marietta Makes POPP Cards & POPP Backpacks!

We are so grateful for the Power of Peace Project (POPP), founded by Kit Cummings, which provides genuine love, hope, and transforming mentorship to teens and young men living in local detention centers.

North River volunteers are excited to provide 60 encouraging cards every month to these young men, as well as two backpacks filled with helpful, practical items (and a Bible) for the teens/young men as they are leaving the detention facility to reenter life outside of the center.

A HUGE thank you to our North Marietta Community who eagerly provided these POPP Cards and POPP backpacks during the first week in March! The teens/young men were thrilled to receive them!  

Birthday Heroes Celebrate Love at Youth Villages

Our party on February 18th took on a Valentine's Day theme: the children made heart bags (picture attached), built Valentine towers, played Valentine charades, matched hearts, and ate heart shaped cookies!  We had such a great time!  This month's Birthday Heroes are (L to R) Marianne, Debbie, Jim, Esther, Cassandra (not pictured are Mamie and Xavier).  

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Local Elementary Class Donates Books to BFA

Michele Dennis, a Special Education teacher at K.E. Taylor Elementary in Gwinnett County, along with her students, collected and donated 461 children's books to our treasured community partner Books For Africa! Just Wow! Love how our NR family supports our neighbors locally and internationally

A Walk through 2022

A tremendous THANK YOU to everyone who donated their hearts, time, and resources to help and encourage our community this past year!

Local Publix Stores Donate Goods

Volunteers are building relationships with some of our local Publix supermarkets to get excellent foods to different needs! These donations are distributed to trusted community partners who serve so many of our neighbors -- individuals, families, and children. (Pictured: Bob Nelson, Ed Youmans, Janice Youmans, Debbie Stamper, & Marilisa Schachinger)

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January Birthday Heroes

On January 21, Birthday Heroes got to celebrate the birthdays of 4 children, who absolutely loved the cards the middle school girls made for them! (See post with pictures below). Esther, Xavier, Brion, Sharal, Marie (not pictured) and Debbie Swain hosted the celebration together to encourage the children at Youth Villages with fun winter-themed activities, and Brion got to share donations from our MLK Day drive with community engagement manager Kimmy Yon.

Want to join the next party? Mark your calendars for Saturday, February 18th, and contact Debbie Swain (757-812-0256; swain.debbie@yahoo.com) to sign up!

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MLK Day Volunteers fill the HOPE Depot

To honor Martin Luther King Day, seven volunteers came to the Lighthouse on Sunday to sort donations, and eighteen volunteers came on Monday to build new women's Care Packs for individuals experiencing homelessness, write a stack of encouraging Care Cards, and collect books from the HOPE Depot to send to various Community Service Brigades in Guatemala, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, and Honduras!

The new Women's Care Packs contain much-needed sanitary items and are distinguished with pink marker designs and bright red tape. Please come by and take as many as you need to share with neighbors experiencing homelessness.

Books for Africa celebrates MLK Day!

17 wonderful volunteers came out to serve together, make memories, and support Book for Africa's amazing mission to celebrate Martin Luther King Day!

Look like fun? There are opportunities to serve at BFA every week! Click here to sign up: https://booksforafrica.secure.force.com/.../GW_Volunteers...

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Generosity shines bright on Christmas Morning

Thank you, North River family, for your generous donations to our Angel Tree Box this Christmas season. You provided $3,500 worth of Walmart gift cards to over 40 families! These cards were shared with families within/connected with our NR church family and from the YES! Family Meal Sharing Program. The parents/caregivers were thrilled to be able to choose and buy gifts for their own children! 

Teens create cards for local kids

❤️ North River middle school girls came together in early December to make beautiful cards for the Birthday Hero celebrations at Youth Villages. Such a sweet and creative act of service! See the original post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/ClzdqbTv4CZ/...

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Mission 1:27 Christmas Market keeps parents as the heroes

What a great day of service at the Mission 1:27 Christmas Market on Saturday! Over 200 individuals came together to serve our neighbors in need. Thanks to the efforts of organizers and volunteers, 392 families, representing close to 1,000 kids, will have a very Merry Christmas!

The Christmas Market allows families experiencing financial struggles to shop for toys at reduced prices. If you are interested in being a part of this incredible opportunity next year, mark your calendars for Saturday, December 9th, 2023!

Marietta City Schools comes to the HOPE Depot

Marietta City School Parent liaisons visited the HOPE Depot in early December and were able to take hundreds of books, including English-Spanish dictionaries, to share with students at their schools. We are incredibly grateful to be able to support our educators who serve our communities in so many ways! 

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Spanish & bilingual books travel 3000 miles to Bolivia

In mid-November, 25 disciples from the Broward Church in Florida carried 725 children's books to HOPEwwBolivia's lending library in La Paz! These books were generously donated by Books For Africa and by the "B-Olivia" Library, both located here in Marietta.

We are so thankful for Books for Africa and the B-Olivia Library for changing the lives of thousands of children and families who have limited access to books.

And a BIG thank you, HOPEwwBolivia, for all your incredible programs!

Just recently, HOPEwwBolivia earned the “Yanapiri” National Award for Volunteering, awarded by Ministry of Justice, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and UN Volunteers. Well done, volunteers!

Coat & Blanket Drive a Success!

In the spirit of Matthew 25:36, "I needed clothes and you clothed me..."

Thank you to everyone who donated your coats, blankets, and warm winter wear to support the Coat and Blanket Drives for MUST Ministry and Give Homeless Hope!

Because of you, Must Ministry was able to distribute over 400 coats and winter items to neighboring families in need, and Give Homeless Hope supplied hundreds of winter weather essentials to local neighbors who are experiencing homelessness!

Volunteers (big and small!) came out throughout the month of October to help sort and pack up these items to make the distribution easier. We are so grateful to be able to support MUST Ministries and Give Homeless Hope for all the work they do to serve, support, and encourage our neighbors!
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Family Group Thanks Local Veterans with Gratitude Packs

The Adkins Family Group prepared over 30 Gratitude Packs in preparation for Veterans Day!

Gratitude Packs can be created throughout the year to give thanks to local veterans visiting the Marietta VA (and other surrounding VAs). Interested in hosting a packing party with your friends, family, or family group? Click here for instructions! 

October Birthday Heroes Celebrate!

On Saturday, October 29th we had four first-time visitors to our Birthday Heroes program: Laurie Allen (not pictured), Cassandra Giles, and Brion and Sharal Ozim.

At times it surprises us how much the children enjoy the activities the team brings. Here one boy spent was meticulous in creating this intricate design on his goodie bag, and he was even more thrilled that we wanted to take a picture of it!

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Goliath Visits Mission 1:27 Adventure Centers!

Several NR volunteers of all ages enjoyed sharing fun songs, a Bible lesson, and activity with two Mission 1:27 Centers this past week! Children and adults alike loved learning about David’s bravery as he faced a giant, as well as the wisdom and courage he demonstrated by knowing when to “walk away” from danger.

We love our times with Mission 1:27 Adventure Centers! ❤️

Pictured: Malik Hussie demonstrates just how enormous Goliath was, compared to one brave little "David" who stepped up to face him!

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Baseball Buddies Come Out for Awesome Saturday Game

On Saturday, North River volunteers had a blast being “baseball buddies,” partnering up with children with special needs as they played a game of baseball. These amazing child athletes enjoyed batting, throwing, and running the bases as their parents, grandparents, and friends cheered from the stands.

Students from Georgia Tech, KSU, and GSU, along with other volunteers from North River, came together to assist, cheer on, and enthusiastically celebrate their baseball buddies.

We look forward to sharing many more fun games with Acworth’s Horizon League, which supports these young athletes and their families!

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"Respect & Relationships" Redefines Poverty & Loving Service

On Sunday, Terri Loso of HOPE worldwide delivered a powerful presentation about honoring the dignity of our neighbors in need whenever we serve. She explained that every human being experiences some type of poverty, whether material (lacking goods) or relational (lacking needed relationships or experiencing broken ones). Terri encouraged us to not focus solely on addressing people’s material needs, but also to build mutually encouraging relationships; getting to know someone on that level then allows us to identify and encourage their existing strengths and abilities while addressing their material needs. Workshop participants reflected on common types of serving opportunities (toy and food drives, soup kitchens, and backpack drives) and brainstormed how we could possibly transform each one from a one-way act of service (doing for) into one that supports and empowers our neighbors by involving them in the process (serving with).

The workshop provided us a great opportunity to gather and learn from each other about how we can love our neighbors in need as Jesus did.

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Lots of Love at Saturday Birthday Heroes Celebration

NR Volunteers came out to celebrate the birthdays of children living at Youth Villages to help make each child feel especially loved and celebrated on their birthday. Volunteer Mamie Mills even received a sweet note from a child who was impacted by her kind smile and evident love. Such an incredible opportunity to connect and spend time with these kids!

Want to join us for the next celebration? There's a new opportunity every month! Click this link for more details and to check out the many ways you can serve with Youth Villages: https://nrcoc.org/ministries/hope-world-wide/pages/service-opportunities

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MUST Ministry Food Pantry Night

North River HOPE volunteers -- alongside other community volunteers from local families, organizations, and businesses -- partnered with MUST Ministries to distribute boxes of foods, school supplies, hygiene items, and diapers to local families on Wednesday, September 14. 

Spanish books go to school!

We are grateful to be able to share our Spanish language story books with Marietta City Schools dual-immersion class! 

Family Group comes together for BFA

The Payne Family Group from North Marietta came out together on a Saturday in September to sort books at Books for Africa!

Campus Training Program Travels to Serve

150 campus students from around the country served wholeheartedly within various community programs during their time here in May. Students sorted thousands of books for Books for Africa; with Baseball Buddies, they assisted disabled children as they enjoyed a game of baseball; they partnered with MUST Food Pantry to organize and pack food donations for our local community; they came out to clean up and restore the Jonesville Historic Freed Slaves Cemetery; and they served at the Care Card Center, writing cards of encouragement to veterans, Jamquest school kids in Kenya, and to local neighbors experiencing homelessness.

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MUST Ministry, YMCA Food Relief, Sheltering Arms, & Give Homeless Hope

North River regularly joins these trusted community partners to provide food, toiletries, diapers, children’s books, and warm clothes -- but never have these essentials been more needed than during the Covid-19 pandemic. This year saw tons of donations and countless volunteers who came out to sort, pack, and distribute them to neighbors in need.

Sending Joy & Encouragement to Ukraine

North River women collected children’s coloring books, stickers, small toys, as well as handwritten cards to send cheer and love to our Ukrainian disciples who became refugees this Spring. These donations brought smiles and countless hours of entertainment and fun for children who had arrived in the refugee center after many had traveled for hours to flee Ukraine. Photos that our members included in their notes were collected by the refugees and displayed on the wall of the refugee center.

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Thousands of Stories Sorted for Books for Africa (BFA)

 Our church family and friends love volunteering at BFA to help sort and organize books. BFA has generously donated over 3,000 Spanish children’s books to us so that we can lend and donate books both locally and internationally!

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Gratitude Packs to Honor Local Veterans

Launched in summer 2022, our ongoing Gratitude Pack initiative provides small baggies with snack items and handwritten cards expressing our gratitude to our local veterans. 

Interested in making some with your family or community group? Visit https://nrcoc.org/ministries/hope-worldwide/pages/care-ministry--113 (scroll down to the second initiative for details!).

Youth Village Heroes Honor Local Children with Birthday Celebrations

Several volunteers provide monthly "Birthday Heroes" parties for children within this residential treatment program who have experienced trauma. Games, cards, and love encourage these kids so greatly and help them feel as special as they deserve to feel on their birthdays.

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READ with HOPE! Library Officially Opens

We have almost 6,000 books in our library, ready to be lended or donated locally and internationally! We began our reading and lending books program for our local community this past summer and also partnered with local apartment complexes to provide ample reading opportunities for children on summer break.

Volunteers Visit Mission 1:27 Adventure Centers

Our teens and adults provided several fun, Bible-based activities for school-aged children within two Centers! Our own Janice Youmans also regularly volunteered to help students from one center with their reading skills. 

The HOPE Depot Opens for Business!

Our HOPE Depot in the Lighthouse was created in order to receive and distribute donations of all kinds throughout our community! It’s full of books and LOTS of love! Please pop in to the Lighthouse to see the fruits of many labors and hours of volunteerism.

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Connection Cards Updated for Many Areas

Come to the HOPE Depot in the Lighthouse to grab our updated Connection Cards! These cards contain up-to-date resource info in order to best assist our neighbors experiencing homelessness. Connection Cards go in Care Packs, which also include handwritten Encouragement Cards and essential food items. There are cards available for the Marietta, Gwinnett, West Cobb, Cherokee Co., Atlanta, and Kennesaw-Acworth areas (pictured), as well as blank cards that can be filled in with relevant local resources.

Interested in making Care Packs with your family or community group or on your own? Visit this page for information on what to include: https://nrcoc.org/ministries/hope-worldwide/pages/care-ministry--113

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Students Create Care Cards en Español!

Not only were encouragement cards made and distributed locally, but Chandler Payne and his fellow Kings Academy Spanish students sent 85 beautiful handmade encouragement cards to children who attended the HOPE worldwide medical clinic in Honduras! The kids were thrilled. Our VBS kids also made Spanish cards to send!

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Hundreds of Care Packs Distributed!

Hundreds of Care Packs were created and distributed to our neighbors experiencing homelessness throughout the Atlanta metro area. These packs contain a Connection Card with resource info, a handwritten encouragement card, and essential personal care items.

One of our high school seniors, Sarah Dey, led her fellow student government friends to create 150 Care Packs! Our VBS kids also made packs and cards! 

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American Red Cross Blood Drive
January 2022

Our church donated over 50 units of blood!

MLK, Jr. Day Celebrated with Acts of Service

"Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve... You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." MLK, Jr.

 

At the height of the pandemic in 2021 and through the snow and ice in 2022, our NR family and HOPE
worldwide chapter donated over $18,000 of essential food items, toiletries, school supplies, children’s
books, and warm clothes to support our neighbors in need. We partnered with seven community partner
organizations
to distribute these items, to honor Dr. King's enduring legacy of love and service. 

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Thank You, North River...

for the ways you serve and give to our community! Check out our 2021 year in review.

Care Cards
West Cobb Family Group making Care Packs and Care Cards for Children and Adults!
Sample Care Card for Children Sample Care Card for Adult
Thank You!
October Coat Drive

Thank you, North River family for your generous donations of over 300 great quality coats, jackets, and sweaters, and over 200 warm hats, scarves, and gloves! These will be distributed with love to needy families and individuals experiencing homelessness next week! Thank you for providing love and warmth to so many!

Books For Africa
Grow the impact and volunteer!
Books For Africa (BFA) has collected, sorted, and shipped over 52 million high-quality books to all of the 55 countries in Africa throughout the past 30 years!
This past year alone, BFA sent over 3 million books valued at over 26 million dollars! 
Sign up as a volunteer to help sort and pack books during two-hour time slots Monday through Friday.
You can sign up with friends. Minimum age is 14 years. There's a brief orientation before each volunteer time.
Visit the website to learn more and sign up!
Good News from Honduras!

WOW! THANK YOU to our wonderful North River Family and VBS Kids for bringing huge smiles to 200 children in Honduras during the recent HOpeww medical brigade! 

Our very own Mandy Sanders, Ph.D. served in the brigade providing mental health support and art therapy to many children and adults who have suffered extreme trauma. She carried your cards and books with her to encourage the children! 

Thank you for loving our church family and children around the world!

Birthday Heroes Get Creative to Support Youth
(From Youth Villages' Spring 2021 Newsletter)

At the Inner Harbour campus, we have an amazing group of volunteers who bring joy to the youth on campus: our Birthday Heroes! For the last four-and-a-half years, a group of volunteers from North River Church of Christ in Marietta, Georgia, have dedicated themselves to creating a fabulous monthly party for the children who are celebrating birthdays while in our care – including crafts, games, themed cupcakes, and more. Due to safety restrictions last year, the Birthday Heroes volunteers could not come to campus, though that has not stopped them from supporting our children in a myriad of ways.

They sent handmade cards with jokes and candy treats, cards of encouragement, and they even hosted an in-kind donation drive for undergarments, which our youth always need. They recently donated 372 candy-filled Easter eggs so our youngest children could enjoy an egg hunt! While they have not physically seen the youth since last spring, their thoughtfulness and care have continued in creative and meaningful ways. We are beyond grateful for the consistent care our Birthday Heroes provide for our youth!