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When helping can hurt
By Romanita Hairston     April 11th, 2016

Many years ago, early in my nonprofit career, I was visiting with a church partner in Tacoma. I was there to consult with them on the afterschool program they wanted to start. We happened to start talking about their food bank and feeding programs. As the pastor and a few key leaders talked about these programs, I could sense their energy and compassion for the people they served. I could also tell that the church truly saw reaching out to the community as part of their mission. They shared enthusiastically about their weekly feeding programs, food distributions, and holiday programs.

There were so many things to be impressed by, but I found myself oddly concerned and almost worried by their exuberance. As they talked, I couldn't help but notice how proud they seemed of the long lines that flowed out of their large building onto the sidewalks and around the corners. "At Christmas," one leader stated, "I can't see the end of it [referencing the line] and they come early, regardless of...

I am like God
By Romanita Hairston     March 29th, 2016

One of my favorite things to do with kids is ask them why they are thankful to God. They give the best answers. I remember a particular answer that has stuck with me for years, like an ebbing tide that rises and falls during particular periods of my life. On a sunny afternoon in December, which is rare in the Northwest, I was talking to a group of young people of varying ages. My daughter was one of them. The question: Why are you thankful to God? Her answer: "I'm thankful to God for creativity because He is creative."

My daughter truly is creative, and it is through this medium that she has mastered her academic pursuits, putting to use a love of reading to power her educational process. I have to admit that there is no rocket science in that statement, but there is a deep knowing in it that society often overlooks. It is a connection that I didn't consciously make up to that point, and I love the arts and creative genres.

This lack of connection is to the detriment of some childr...


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