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Rainbow Village offers impoverished families tools for self-sufficiency

first_img Rector Washington, DC Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Rector Belleville, IL Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA By Michelle HiskeyPosted Jun 20, 2013 June 26, 2013 at 10:58 am The Atlanta Diocesan Assembly of The Brotherhood of St Andrew has now partnered with Rainbow Village and spent our National Service Day on April 27, 2013 there transplanting bushes and plants and boarding up older unused apartments, in preparation for the new community center and apartments to begin this year. I can say without any hesitation that this place is the real deal – it is a model for all to follow to teach folks to fish, not just give them fishes. The people who work here are amazingly gifted and tireless. This is a place of the Holy Spirit’s making, there is no doubt in my mind. Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Margaret Fletcher says: Comments are closed. Rector Hopkinsville, KY Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Youth Minister Lorton, VA Cassie Bullabaugh says: In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Tags Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Submit a Press Release Rector Knoxville, TN Deacon Nancey Yancey peeks out from the downstairs window of a playhouse at Rainbow Village, which serves homeless families with children in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. Photo/Nan Ross[Pathways] The congestion in Gwinnett County, Georgia, is hard enough to manage by car. Steven Jackson’s family of six had it even worse the night they had to leave their motel on Jimmy Carter Boulevard.They were broke. They had no car. For Jackson, then a junior at Norcross High School, and his three younger siblings, this was the latest crisis faced with parents who battled various addictions. They had known days where they split up to find beds at various shelters, then reunited the next day to seek meals at soup kitchens.Where would the Jacksons go? How would they get there? Even more importantly, how could they live a more stable life, without so much drama?In transition, like more than 250 other families in the past 20 years, the Jacksons arrived at Rainbow Village – at first in Norcross then in Duluth – which became their vehicle to a new life. Started as an outreach ministry in 1991 by parishioners at Christ Episcopal Church in Norcross, Rainbow Village is a comprehensive program that provides fully furnished homes and support services for homeless families with children. They stay between one and two years as they start over.Rainbow Village required the Jacksons to sign a covenant to live in their community, to contribute up to 30 percent of their income for housing, to attend and complete courses in life skills such as budgeting, parenting, debt repayment and credit repair, to volunteer in the community and to develop a self-sufficiency plan.Most importantly, the Jacksons learned to trust their new patterns of stability, and their children saw what it took to live self-sufficiently. After the Jacksons left, like 85 percent of Rainbow Village graduates, they never were homeless again. Today the entire family is employed except for their father, who recently left a job working for Delta Air Lines as a chef.“Rainbow Village taught my family responsibility and accountability,” says Jackson, now 29 and the children and youth program coordinator there. “With my parents’ addictions, I took on a leadership role with finances and budgeting, to better them and us. I learned that change happens to all of us, but with a village you can pull it together.”The intense structure required by Rainbow Village attempts to meet the significant need of families and children in transition across Atlanta and its northern suburbs. In 2011, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development found that Georgia combined with four other states is home to half the country’s homeless.The team at Rainbow Village includes former residents who’ve since become staff members.Comparing all states since 2010, Georgia experienced the third-largest increase in homeless people. On a single night in Atlanta, Fulton and DeKalb Counties, more than 1,000 families were homeless. Nearly 8,000 more families were homeless across the state. One group, the National Center on Family Homelessness, ranked states on how well each cared for homeless families; Georgia came in next to last.Because so many families with young children are homeless, the average age of a homeless person in the United States, and in Atlanta, is 9. To help families transition permanently out of homelessness, parents must model better habits for their children. To create this vision at Rainbow House, a Christ Church parishioner named Nancy Yancey stepped in, having learned the hard way what positive change requires.In 1991, Yancey relished a sliver of time to herself each week while her young children were in school and day care. She eagerly gave that up, however, after meeting a needy family through Christ Church’s Christmas outreach. Born and raised in Norcross, she wanted to help her community.“It was a classic thing that churches do: take a basket of food to the family,” she recalls. “When I opened the door, I was appalled. I could see the ground through the floor. The elderly couple lived with their grandson, whose parents were drug addicts. After I dropped off the food and said a prayer and went home, I couldn’t bear it. I had to go back.”For the next six months, the more needs she saw in their lives, the more she helped. She arranged for all the public assistance for which they were qualified, a subsidized apartment, and donated furniture. She helped them gain custody of their grandson.A year later, when she returned, the family was “right back to their normal M.O.,” she recalls. “The son moved in and took all the money, did drugs and lost the apartment. I had taught them nothing about self-sufficiency, but only to be dependent on me. It was a huge learning curve.”Yancey could no longer set a trained eye on what she was sure someone needed. That had worked in her career as an interior designer for the home furnishings coordinator at a department store. When she agreed to lead Rainbow Village 20 years ago, her task was helping families envision a new life for themselves – not do it for them.The name for Rainbow Village hearkens to the biblical story of Noah, who suffered a traumatic transition when a tremendous flood wiped out his home and all the others as far as he could see. The rainbow serves as a reminder that God is constant throughout transitions, and that this particular village serves a rainbow of people as well.A new 12-unit apartment complex on Duluth Highway was dedicated debt-free in March as phase one of Rainbow Village. A capital campaign has raised $4.6 million of its target $9 million to build 30 apartments and two common spaces. Photo/Bill MonkThe original inspiration came from Ida Costell, who always took in her teenaged son’s friends who had been kicked out by their families. When Ida died, her son, Josh, gave $25,000 to Christ Church to form a ministry for homeless families in her honor.The church donated an additional $10,000 and labor to convert a condemned home into a duplex that began serving families in 1991, and Christ Church continued to furnish and maintain the homes. In 1993, Yancey became executive director and CEO; in 1995, Rainbow Village incorporated as a nonprofit.(Eventually, in 1998, the work would lead to Yancey’s ordination as an Episcopal deacon. “She went from designing interiors of homes to interiors of souls,” the Rev. Joel Hudson, the founding rector of Christ Church and chair emeritus of Rainbow Village, likes to say.)Initiative, development, accountabilityEarly on, Buckhead Community Ministries would send people to Rainbow House, and church members served on the screening panel. Later, school social workers provided referrals of families whose hungry children wore the same clothes to school each day. To live at Rainbow House, a family agreed to three principles: initiative, development and accountability.The three tenets grounded Rainbow Village’s classes and counseling that address physical, emotional, financial and educational needs. Families acquire the tools to dig out of the quicksand that has sucked them down before: lack of affordable housing, employment and day care; cycles of poverty and domestic violence.Some families at Rainbow Village struggled to overcome their own resistance to change, too. Says Yancey, “The biggest challenge has been to choose families that are ready and willing to make significant life changes.”Transitions can be messy.“We were one of the only families to leave and be allowed to come back,” Jackson recalls. “When we came back, our dad couldn’t come with us because he was pulling us down.”Other families, including Bishop Keith Whitmore and his wife, Suzie Whitmore, have pitched in to help those at Rainbow Village. Between 800 and 1,000 volunteers a year help with, among other things, home maintenance and furnishings, special events, meals, administrative assistance, school supplies, tutoring and after-school activities.“What I loved most was that they were not just worried about helping my mom, they actually paid attention to the kids and helped us,” says Tyera Braud, whose family – a single mom with six children – lived and learned to thrive at Rainbow Village. “What a lot of people fail to realize is that it’s not just the parents that have a rough time, the kids do as well.”Lynnette Ward, a former resident who, like Jackson, now works at Rainbow Village, recalls arriving in 1997 without “a clue what I was getting myself into and not sure I could make it.” Before that, Ward had been in an abusive marriage for five years and moved from a battered women’s shelter in North Carolina to one in Georgia.Consistent loveHer life further unraveled, but as she moved through that valley she experienced the transformational power of consistent love.“Rainbow Village provided a place for myself and [my] children to heal. They provided assistance when my third child was born with major birth defects, by way of rides to the hospital and child care for my two young children at home. They stood by me when my second child was also diagnosed with major health issues,” Ward recalls.“They found an attorney who helped me get a divorce. They worked with me on my financial goals and provided access to a Stephen minister. Rainbow Village helped me find matching funds for a down payment on my first home. They also worked with me as I began understanding my own self-worth. … My children and I have had a stable home for over 10 years because of what I have learned through Rainbow Village. My children have grown up watching God’s love by the actions of others. I have been given the gift that many mothers have naturally. I have a loving and caring relationship with my son, and after what I had been through with my ex-husband, I was not sure I would be able to have with any male.”The gaining of trust, more than any other material belonging or tangible asset, impresses Franklin Rinker, a Christ Church member from Braselton who became a two-time Rainbow Village board member.“I heard Nancy preach a Sunday sermon at Christ Church about needing money, and by writing a check, I got involved,” he says. A retired hospital CEO who coped with the rise of indigent care, Rinker knows about shepherding the needy through transitions. Hisexperience with building new hospitals helped Rainbow Village expand into a new apartment complex where 12 families now live.The 12 apartments and Family Service Center are phase one of a three-phase campaign launched in 2010.“In the health world, we talk about continuum of care, from the time you get sick and need to be hospitalized to post-hospital care,” he says. “There are a lot of similarities with Rainbow Village. We find broken people on their paths and help educate them and send them out as regained citizens who have good things in life to look forward to, instead of being beaten down and taken advantage of.”“To be in a situation where you’ve been abused continuously and your children have been deprived, you don’t trust a whole lot,” he says. “But by the time families graduate from Rainbow Village, the parents and children give testimonials of what this has meant to them, and there’s not a dry eye in the house.”A model for othersToday, Rainbow Village’s operating budget is about $900,000. The capital campaign has raised $4.6 million of its target $9 million toward completing an entire village with a family service center, community center and 30 apartments. The goal is completion by 2015 and becoming a model for others to replicate to support families who need to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.As former residents circle back to work at Rainbow House, their stories are powerful templates for current families in transition. Jackson says he recognizes the same fearful eyes and nervous disposition that belonged to him when he did not have a permanent home.“You might be smiling, but you’re scared it will all change tomorrow,” he says. “You don’t know if you can be comfortable, especially after so many transitions.”Amid foreclosures and unemployment, Rainbow Village’s largest segment remains single mothers and children. “However, in the past year we have served three single-parent fathers and their children as well as one two-parent family with eight children,” Yancey says. “This is largely due to unemployment for long periods of time.”Rainbow Village is most resonant in its recognition of suffering as a portal to a richer life in which one’s past experience can benefit others.“In looking at my life, I pray that it was to prepare me for something better,” Jackson says. “With what I have gained, I am very humbled, and I hope I will always have this feeling that I am still not too far away from being homeless. I want to stay humble and know that I can always give back, that I can reach back and reach others.”— Michelle Hiskey is a freelance writer in Decatur, Georgia, and a member of St. Bartholomew’s, Atlanta. This article first appeared in Pathways, quarterly journal of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. Associate Rector Columbus, GA Rector Pittsburgh, PA martha knight says: June 26, 2013 at 11:13 am It is so wonderful to hear about this organization. It is clearly changing lives and showing us all how to live the gospel message to love one another. Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Submit an Event Listing The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Poverty & Hunger Rector Tampa, FL Curate Diocese of Nebraska TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab Director of Music Morristown, NJ Featured Eventscenter_img Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Comments (4) Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET June 20, 2013 at 5:38 pm What a truely amazing story. This is unambiguous living of the gospel. This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Featured Jobs & Calls Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Press Release Service An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Submit a Job Listing Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis Rector Martinsville, VA June 20, 2013 at 7:39 pm Fantastic story. Report more recovery stories such as these. Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Rector Collierville, TN Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET Rector Shreveport, LA Rector Albany, NY Rainbow Village offers impoverished families tools for self-sufficiency Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Rector Bath, NC Rector Smithfield, NC Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Billy Harrison says: Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR last_img read more

Abortion access threatened as restrictive bills make their way through Texas Legislature

first_img Previous articleClass of 1971 celebrates 50 year graduation anniversary and reflects on time at TCUNext articleAlpha Chi Omega wears denim, helps raise awareness for sexual assault Katherine Lester Life in Fort Worth + posts Katherine Lesterhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/katherine-lester/ ReddIt Facebook Twitter TCU students show off years of work at first virtual honors research forum TCU places second in the National Student Advertising Competition, the highest in school history Students debut performances of drag personas as part of unique new course Katherine Lesterhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/katherine-lester/ NewsPolitiFrogPolitiFrog NewsThe 109The 109 NewsAbortion access threatened as restrictive bills make their way through Texas LegislatureBy Katherine Lester – May 4, 2021 1022 RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Linkedin World Oceans Day shines spotlight on marine plastic pollution Student e-commerce startup helps upcoming TCU designers grow their businesses Facebook printLoading 50%Anti-abortion bills make their way through the Texas LegislatureWhat the heartbeat bill passed by the Senate could mean for Texans.By Katherine LesterClinic manager Angelle Harris walks in the front door of the Whole Woman’s Health clinic in Fort Worth, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. Faced with drives of four hours or more to Fort Worth, Dallas, El Paso or out-of-state clinics, many women in West Texas and the Panhandle need at least two days to obtain an abortion _ a situation that advocates say exacerbates the challenges of arranging child care, taking time off work and finding lodging. Some end up sleeping in their cars. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)Clinic manager Angelle Harris walks in the front door of the Whole Woman’s Health clinic in Fort Worth, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. Faced with drives of four hours or more to Fort Worth, Dallas, El Paso or out-of-state clinics, many women in West Texas and the Panhandle need at least two days to obtain an abortion _ a situation that advocates say exacerbates the challenges of arranging child care, taking time off work and finding lodging. Some end up sleeping in their cars. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)For women seeking an abortion in Texas, access to the procedure could soon prove to be even more of a challenge.The Texas Senate passed ­five bills last month that would further restrict access to abortions in Texas, one of the most stringent states on abortion in the country. One of the bills passed, Senate Bill 8, is known as a “heartbeat bill” and would ban abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy or once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The bill has an exception for medical emergencies but excludes rape or incest.A House committee also advanced a package of anti-abortion bills on April 15 including House Bill 1515, a companion bill to Senate Bill 8. The full House will vote on ­­­­­these bills before the end of their legislative session.Senate Bill 8House Bill 1515The bill also gives private citizens the ability to sue abortion providers or any person who “aids or abets” in the elective procedure.Abortion access in Texas is already heavily restricted compared to other states. In 2017, 96% of Texas counties had no abortion clinics. Counties with clinics often have long wait times and other challenges. “This new law will make it so almost nobody could get an abortion at all,” said Joanne Green, a political science professor at TCU with a focus on gender politics and reproductive rights. “I knew a TCU student who had to terminate. Just to get an appointment took weeks, and she happens to live in a county that has places to get an appointment.”Many women might not know they are pregnant within six weeks of conception. “Let’s just say, for the average person, it takes them a little bit of time to realize they missed their cycle, then to get the pregnancy test, to make the choice, to get the appointment,” said Green. “Because there’s so few of these clinics, it takes sometimes a long time to get an appointment, therefore, already putting you beyond the six weeks.”Green also said to expect this legislation, if passed, to be challenged and eventually make its way to the Supreme Court. Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt are all Supreme Court decisions ruled in favor of reproductive rights activists. Decisions like these may be challenged more frequently with a conservative majority in the U.S. Supreme Court. Many states have had an uptick in pro-life legislation and other conservative legislation meant to challenge past decisions since Justice Amy Coney Barrett was appointed late last year.Moving the heartbeat bill through the courts would benefit the pro-life movement by potentially overturning Roe v. Wade. Elizabeth Bott, a junior early childhood education major and president of TCU Students for Life, said the bill aligns with her group’s aims.“I think it’s awesome that our legislators are starting to put a bold bill out that could possibly end up one day reaching the Supreme Court and overturning Roe v. Wade, which is of course a huge goal of the pro-life movement,” said Bott. “It’s not the biggest goal, but it is a goal.” Clinical coordinator Jaunita Loza walks down a hallway past a room named after Margaret Cho at the Whole Woman’s Health clinic in Fort Worth, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. Marva Sadler, director of clinical services, said that the entire clinic has quotes and pictures throughout with various rooms named after “Women of Power.” (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)Clinical coordinator Jaunita Loza walks down a hallway past a room named after Margaret Cho at the Whole Woman’s Health clinic in Fort Worth, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. Marva Sadler, director of clinical services, said that the entire clinic has quotes and pictures throughout with various rooms named after “Women of Power.” (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)Whole Woman’s Health v. HellerstedtThe Supreme Court ruled in favor of reproductive rights activists in 2016 in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision. The court established that the restrictions placed on abortion clinics under House Bill 2 passed by the Texas Legislature were unconstitutional and placed an “undue burden” on those seeking an abortion. Even though the court ruled in favor of the clinics, many clinics had already suffered in the three years it took the bill to reach the Supreme Court. “The abortion-rights activists won that decision with Whole Woman’s Health, but it was after the clinics already closed,” said Green. “People don’t seem to appreciate that was a very empty victory because the pro-life strategy worked. They passed a law they knew was unconstitutional. They wouldn’t admit to that, but they probably knew it was unconstitutional.” The court’s ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt found that half of the 40 clinics offering the procedure in Texas closed as a result of HB 2. “This decrease in geographical distribution means that the number of women of reproductive age living more than 50 miles from a clinic has doubled, the number living more than 100 miles away has increased by 150%, the number living more than 150 miles away by more than 350%, and the number living more than 200 miles away by about 2,800%,” according to the decision.HB 2 limited abortion access in a different way than heartbeat bills would. However, like HB 2, HB 1515 could have similar damaging effects to remaining clinics, even if ruled unconstitutional like HB 2.“They could pass anything knowing it’s unconstitutional but it’s going to take four years to get to the Supreme Court,” said Green. “We could be living in the most horrible of totalitarian states.”TopBuilt with Shorthand Katherine Lesterhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/katherine-lester/ ReddIt Twitter Katherine Lester A fox’s tail: the story of TCU’s campus foxes Linkedin Welcome TCU Class of 2025 What we’re reading: Rangers welcome full crowd, police chief testifies in Chauvin trial Katherine Lesterhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/katherine-lester/last_img read more