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 2022. 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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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 them 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!
We are grateful for our volunteers who helped make the summer program, "Read with Hope" 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:
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!"
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."
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 email@example.com if you're interested!
In the group picture, L to R: Antoinette, Christie, Cindi, Mamie, Xavier, Marianne, Debbie.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.)
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.
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 email@example.com if you are interested!
In the picture (left to right): Makayha, Xavier, Debbie, Esther, Christie and Cindi
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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).
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
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)
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; firstname.lastname@example.org) to sign up!
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.
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...
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!
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/...
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 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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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
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.
We are grateful to be able to share our Spanish language story books with Marietta City Schools dual-immersion class!
The Payne Family Group from North Marietta came out together on a Saturday in September to sort books at Books for Africa!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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!
Our church donated over 50 units of blood!
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.
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!
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!
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!