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Front Page » Authors » Bio for Elizabeth Exley » Archives for Elizabeth Exley

By Elizabeth Exley on April 22, 2008

rainbow-trout.jpgIn high school, my mother and I waded out into the water of our cold Crane Creek to fill up some vials with creek water. For me, it was just another one of my mother's many volunteer activities. She had decided to become a Stream Team member, and so I would help her determine the health of the stream. She and I together were one little team doing one little job in small town Missouri.

But together the efforts of little teams really can make a difference. I didn't know it at the time, but about 68,000 other Missourians across the state were (or would be) doing the same thing. This means that about one in every one hundred people in Missouri have been partners with us in caring for our streams over the last 25 plus years: cleaning them, monitoring water quality, advocating for better policies and/or educating others.

Read more of this post here ...

By Elizabeth Exley on March 19, 2008

Here’s a story that was sent to me a few weeks ago:

[Amanda] Dye, 23, opened the Energy of Hope orphanage last January in Zambia, a South African nation where 16.5 percent of the population has HIV or AIDS. Now the orphanage has 13 children, ages 6 to 14. Dye, who runs the orphanage from Liberty, [MO] is the children’s legal guardian and is responsible for financing their care and education.

The most amazing thing about this story...

Read more of this post here ...

By Elizabeth Exley on March 18, 2008

Last week, I posted a story about a man in Kansas City who draws from his experiences with drug dealing everyday to help kids learn about their own potential. This week, I wanted to share a story I heard on NPR about a former police officer turned school security guard who’s really trying to make things work in struggling New Orleans schools. His story is inspiring to his students and to those of us who are trying to figure out how to make schools better across the country...

Read more of this post here ...

By Elizabeth Exley on March 15, 2008

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be posting some amazing stories about amazing people doing amazing things that have been sent to me or that I’ve read over the last few weeks. This is the first story — about Pat Clarke, a coach in Kansas City who’s using sports to mentor kids. He used to deal drugs as a teenager, but now he’s all for prevention — getting the kids while they’re young and showing them the variety of opportunities they can have. You can read the full story at the Kansas City Star website, but I’m adding a few excerpts below:

Clarke tells whoever will listen, whether it’s Mayor Mark Funkhouser, a City Council member or LINC staffer Charlane Scranton, who assists him, that inner-city kids exist within a state of emergency…

[Clarke] wanted to do something that mattered. Selling drugs looking over his shoulder wasn’t it. He began organizing sports teams for kids…

In one of his first games [with the kids], his pitcher threw a straight shot over the plate. The batter slammed it toward the third baseman, who dived off the line and caught it backhanded. The third baseman’s mother was a crackhead. Clarke had bought his shoes for him. The boy looked at Clarke, who returned his stare briefly and then turned to hide his tears. He was proud of the boy, of his coaching, of something he had done. Nothing else had ever meant anything like it.

Read more of this post here ...

By Elizabeth Exley on March 10, 2008

Zack and I visited a small church outside of Charleston, SC, a couple of months ago where they were showing a video about the Convoy of Hope.

The emotional video tugged on everyone’s heartstrings, as the church leaders asked for volunteers to participate in a one-day event where tons of food would be distributed, and where resume assistance, free haircuts and medical care would be provided. We knew we couldn’t attend the Charleston event, but we kept looking for another opportunity to see Convoy of Hope in action.

Read more of this post here ...

By Elizabeth Exley on March 8, 2008

A friend sent me this article on the Lower 9th Ward Health Clinic:

Before Katrina, this was Berryhill’s own home. The living room where her kids congregated after school serves as a waiting area now, its walls painted a peaceful powder blue. The bedrooms are exam cubicles, the kitchen a file room and office…

Another registered nurse, Alice Craft-Kerney, runs the business side as the clinic’s executive director. She grew up in the Ninth Ward, and rode out Katrina in her brother’s house a mere three blocks away. The story of how these neighborhood women and nurses gave a home — and themselves — to help a community they cherish is one of faith and perseverance but, most of all, friendship.

It is also the story of health-care delivery in post-Katrina New Orleans, where clinics have cropped up in corner groceries and old department stores, and Good Samaritans are stepping in to mend broken bodies and souls.

Read more of this post here ...

By Elizabeth Exley on March 8, 2008

HENDERSONVILLE, NC—According to their website, Bridge of Hope is “an effective local approach to ending homelessness for single mothers and their children in partnership with mentoring churches.” Although it’s local in nature, the program has expanded to five states and 14 localities, serving women and children across the country.

Based on two simple (but very difficult to address) ideas — relationships and breaking the cycle of poverty — this 20-year old model has had astounding success. Eighty percent of the families they serve have successfully completed the program, achieved permanent housing, gained employment, and built a more stable environment for their lives.

The way in which the church-based Bridge of Hope model has achieved these successes is beautiful in its simplicity and attention to detail.

Read more of this post here ...

By Elizabeth Exley on March 7, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS, IN—The Fairness Foundation (FF), located in Indianapolis, Indiana, was founded in 1998 to work broadly for fairness in healthcare in response to rising healthcare prices, disparities in healthcare access and affordability, and other problems of the healthcare system. They have recently added to their menu of services—helping uninsured and underinsured hospital victims get out of debt. Over the last year, the tiny staff of seven people has helped almost 200 people save more than one million dollars on hospital bills. Read about and listen to some of the stories of their success on the website.

The Fairness Foundation was the brainchild of Pat Rooney, a former health insurance salesman and a conservative reformer who has worked for many years for school choice. As the former Chairman and CEO of the Golden Rule Insurance Company, Rooney became more and more aware of the injustices in the evolving insurance system, and eventually sold his shares in the late 1990s and reinvested them in the Fairness Foundation to work against many of the problems he had seen in the industry.

Read more of this post here ...

By Elizabeth Exley on March 6, 2008

This is one post in a series about Small Churches outlining how a few churches are helping their members and their communities.

My last post in the small church series was on Antioch Baptist Church, a Christian community in Chapel Hill that provides a long list of services for their church community and the broader area. Green Street United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has been working toward that same goal for years (their history dates back to a tent revival in 1902). In fact, the church has created a quasi-community development corporation which was designed to “develop ministries and programs of compassion and justice that enhance the development and serve the needs of West Salem and the greater Winston-Salem area.”

Read more of this post here ...

By Elizabeth Exley on March 6, 2008

LAS VEGAS, NV/ST. LOUIS, MO—In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire decimated four square miles of the Midwest, leaving 90,000 individuals (almost 1/3 of the city) without homes. Many of the survivors fled Chicago for a new life. And so began Jewish Family and Children’s Service in St. Louis, MO. This organization was created as a response to the Chicago tragedy but, over the last 137 years, has provided a range of services to families and children in the St. Louis area, touching 60,000 lives within the past year. And this is only one of about 200 similar agencies in North America.

I first learned about the Jewish Family and Children’s Services on a recent trip to Las Vegas. I visited the local agency (the Jewish Family Service Agency) that serves their community through a Holocaust Survivor program, a food pantry, mental health counseling, case management, volunteer programs for homebound seniors, burials, adoption programs, and emergency assistance. When I arrived, the waiting area appeared to be a microcosm of the broad array of services they provide—kids were playing at the tiny table in the corner, an older woman sat across from me, and the other individuals in the room spanned about all age, gender and ethnic categories possible.

Everyone was smiling and welcoming, and soon Eric Goldstein, the Interim Executive Director, met me in the waiting area and gave me an overview of the services and a tour of the packed office.

Read more of this post here ...

More blog posts by Elizabeth Exley:

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