Archives for December 2012
“Street theologian”, “Dr. NJ”, educator, storyteller, healer, “the sex guy”, laugher, crier, lover, “soul play”, “beloved”, “kairos” “that weird dude who wears dress socks and Birkenstocks…”
Believe us when we say these are just a few of the things our father has been called or associated with over the years. For as long as we can remember Dad has passionately worked to connect not only with people, but to the human spirit as well. Over the span of multiple decades, Terry has built a successful body of work on his ability to reach people with his words. Recently, he has flirted with writing a book, but often becomes consumed by his hectic schedule and is unable to genuinely start the process.
Our immediate family has expressed unflinching support in this endeavor, and we have every faith (no pun intended) the result—regardless of financial success—will deeply move people. One of my father’s and my favorite quotes eloquently decries, “The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions.” I pray his dream to write a complete body of work does not become a precaution. There are countless reasons why this book could fade into a fleeting idea, rather than come to fruition. I think the amount of time, organization, and planning required to write a book intimidates him. I have no doubt our father vehemently believes in his work—you see it in his face every time he eagerly takes the stage in front of a rabid group of blood-thirsty 8th graders, as if saying “bring it on.” This Christmas, we are asking Terry’s family and friends to reach out and shower him with the support and motivation needed to stare this project in the eye and exclaim, “bring it on!” You are receiving this letter because Terry has been intimately connected to your life at one time or another, and we want you to be included in this process. And how fitting, if we demonstrate our solidarity with him through the very medium he plans to use: the written word…
At a time when society pushes families to spend exorbitant amounts of money on the next best thing, we want to give our father a gift money cannot touch. We humbly request a few minutes, or more, of your time to give Terry the extra push he needs to embark on this journey. It can be as short as a few sentences, to as long as a couple pages—any support will be greatly appreciated. The following are a few questions we created to help ignite the creative spark in you. Please feel free to answer any or all of them.
-How has Terry impacted your life and how do others stand to benefit from reading his book?
-If you had a book by TNJ, would you recommend it to other people? Who would you recommend it to?
-Why do you think Terry should write a book? What topics would you enjoy seeing him write about? What do you think he would enjoy writing about?
As many of you know, our father has a serious affinity for journaling. Consequently, we plan to compile all your responses into a professionally bound journal and present it to him this Christmas. As it will surely take a few days to organize everyone’s responses, we graciously ask you reply by Saturday, December 22nd. Also, please refrain from letting TNJ know about our mischievous, backdoor Christmas actions, as we hope to surprise him.
Please email your words of encouragement to the sender of this email (I.E. Clare or myself).
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact either one of us, as we are more than willing to help. Thank you for your time, generosity, and effort in helping us make this dream a reality.
Kinship in Action
The mission of North Lawndale College Preparatory Charter High School (NLCP) is to prepare young people from under-resourced communities for graduation from high school and to enhance their academic skills and personal resilience so they may successfully complete college. However John Horan, President of the school, has expressed frustration with the difficulty some of his alumni have experienced in finding jobs after they graduate from college. He has expressed how they, like many other young people in our society, need career management assistance because job searching is so difficult. As a result of this concern, an October brainstorming session took place that involved John, members of his administrative team, and Anita Jenke, Executive Director of the Career Transitions Center (CTC). They discussed how the issue of young North Lawndale area college grads struggling to find jobs in a tight economy aligns well with CTC’s mission to provide professional, emotional, and spiritual support to those seeking meaningful work. A partnership was born from the conversation. NLCP and CTC are now working together to usher NLCP alumni who graduated from college to get onto successful career pathways.
In November, NLCP and CTC launched a career coaching and professional assessment program for these alumni. It is an initial pilot program for a limited period focusing on six young adults. These six adults and six CTC volunteer coaches have responded enthusiastically and coaching has already begun. The coaches are impressed with their young mentees, and they have all expressed how honored they are to take part in this initiative. One coach was particularly impressed that although these young adults are unemployed and searching for work, they are still committed to serving their community.
The young adults in this pilot program are seeking employment in accounting, human resources and the nonprofit sector and both CTC and NLCP look forward to reporting on their progress in the future. Surely kinship is at work in this collaboration and it will be the source of many good things to come.
For more information, please contact Vince Guider Director of the Northlawndale Community Engagement, at 312.798.2374 or firstname.lastname@example.org.