American Angel Works

Pain is Temporary

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A Great Christmas Short Story

By Kenneth Stepp

Yesterday I had the pleasure and honor to sponsor a law enforcement officer for Christmas. She was a single mom, and some people I trust a lot told me about her. Well, $500.00 doesn’t mean you can retire, buy land, or take it easy. But to a single mom living on a cops wage it can make a difference. But the story is very cool.

Last year I had the same pleasure and honor as well. I helped a single mom with a badge. But I really kept up with this single mom. I watched as this remarkable woman grew emotionally, and intellectually. She has become strong and independent. It’s been fun to be a part of. Now she is volunteering at a women’s prison mentoring and counseling other women. What a transformation. And a twist of irony. She chose this year’s recipient. I just thought that was cool.

Even though we became great friends over the past year. Yesterday was the first time we ever met. Perhaps I will meet this year’s single mom next Christmas.

info@americanangelworks.org

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Processing Pain. Searching For “Why”

By Kenneth Stepp

I have decided the best way to honor the families is to not say anything. Nothing can be said that would help. As a father of five very special kids I can’t process what happened myself. My wife and I are grieving and thankful for our children at the same time. 

Nothing can be said that hasn’t been said. Praying for them and our nation. I hope if you are reading this you find a measure of peace somewhere.

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A Christmas Story. Homeless Children Have A Better Holliday

By Sharon Smith

"Original Article"

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) — Harry and Lisa Lee answered the call to help this holiday season. Their donation was a real Christmas tree which they rolled through the doors at A Child’s Place.

It will be a homeless family’s first Christmas tree.

"My hope is they’ll love it," said Lisa Lee.

A Child’s Place helps hundreds of homeless children in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Nearly 5,000 homeless children have been identified in the school system. A Child’s Place is able to serve about half of them.

Part of their effort is focused on Holiday Central, where donations are taken to help those families have a better Christmas. It takes a lot of work to gather sponsors, organize all the presents and get them to the right family.

Ann Sherrill is A Child’s Place employee who has been helping children the past 13 years.

"We have some parents who come in and they get so much stuff," said Sherrill. "It’s amazing to them. They didn’t think anyone cared for them," she said.

Turns out a lot of volunteers do care. WBTV found several people helping to wrap presents and more volunteers will be coming into Holiday Central every day.

"It’s good," said Diarmuid O Sullivan, who volunteered with his co-workers. "There’s no question about that. There’s tremendous need and here’s our chance to do something," he said.

For them it’s a small sacrifice and they enjoy doing it. However, it’s not lost on anyone where the gifts are going. This year, at least 1300 homeless children and their parents will benefit from Holiday Central.

"You won’t be able to see the families when they come in. But if you could, it would make you cry," said Sherrill.

A Child’s Place has enough family sponsors for Christmas, but their work with homeless children continues all year. The agency is always looking for donations and volunteers.

During the summer, it sponsors summer camps for homeless children. However, the agency is only able to serve a fraction of the children who need that extra support.

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"My Dash" A Poem By Linda Ellis.

When reading this poem I immediately thought of my father. He spent his life for others. He was honest, generous, and a man I could look up to.

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I read of a woman who stood to speak

At the funeral of a best friend,

She referred to the dates on his tombstone –

From the beginning – to the end!

She noted that first came his date of birth

And spoke the following date with tears;

But she said what mattered most of all

Was the DASH between those years!

For that DASH represents all the time

That he spent alive on earth….

And now only those who loved him

Know what that little “LINE” was worth!

For it matters not, how much we own;

The flashy cars.. the big house.. and all the cash;

What matters is how we live and love –

And how we spend our DASH!!

So think about this long and hard …..

Are there things you’d like to change?

For you never know how much time is left

That can still be re-arranged!

If we could just slow down enough 

To consider what’s true and real,

And always try to understand 

The way other folks feel!

And be less quick to anger….

And show appreciation more

And love the people in our lives

Like we’ve NEVER loved before!

If we treat each other with respect…

And more often wear a smile…

Remembering that this special DASH

Might only last a little while!

So, when your Eulogy is being read

With your life’s actions to re-hash;

Would you be proud of the things they say

About how you spent your DASH?

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North Texas nonprofits guide families out of homelessness

Maybe one day, but for now the Grand Prairie family’s haven is an apartment complex playground.

“Here I am worrying about getting a job and paying bills, but then I see them,” Halfacre, 34, said. “And they’re good, just playing there. And then I know things will be OK.”

Halfacre’s children, teetering out of homelessness with their mother, were once among the estimated 5,000 homeless children in Dallas-area school districts. As the family recovers from the instability, they, and hundreds like them, find refuge in local agencies that open their doors to provide food and shelter, leading the families to a way out of homelessness.

Homeless families are Dallas and Collin counties’ fastest-growing segment of the homeless population, a trend reflected in the rest of the country, according to the Urban Institute, a national data and research group.

“The biggest percentage of our clients is the ones bordering on eviction with no place to go, and the largest percentage of those is single moms,” said Kathy Severance, executive director of LifeLine Shelter for Families, which is helping Halfacre.

The Grand Prairie nonprofit, one of the 23 agencies receiving funds from The Dallas Morning News Charities this year, is helping Halfacre and her family with rent, budgeting and job searching.

“We’re blessed to watch change happen — positive change,” Severance said. “These are people who know what they want, career or education, but just need a little help.”

A helpful push

That help for families all over North Texas comes from other agencies including Frisco Family Services Center and Family Gateway — agencies also receiving funds from DMN Charities. The three organizations work with school districts that refer parents and students to the agencies.

“We have students who are referred to us by their counselors or school advocates,” said Nicole Bursey, executive director of Frisco Family Services. The organization helps prevent homelessness by providing funds for rent, prescriptions and clothing and gives food to hungry students in Collin County. So far this year, they’ve served 970 families.

“People think Collin County is an affluent county,” Bursey said. “But we do have this need. People lose jobs and get sick and families are faced with hard choices.

LifeLine Shelter doesn’t help clients who need chronic assistance, but rather the families who can achieve self-sufficiency with a push from a caseworker. LifeLine, which doesn’t operate as a shelter, pays rent at apartment complexes for families for up to three months. Only about 16 percent of their clients need help for the full three months, Severance said. This year so far, the organization has served about 150 families.

Meanwhile, Family Gateway has served more than 300 families this year, many referred to them by Dallas ISD. The Dallas nonprofit provides emergency shelter but also provides transitional programs and case management.

Breaking the cycle

The three programs prevent poverty from starting or help pull families out of poverty.

“Our goal is to break the cycle of homelessness,” said Robert Alberts, executive director of Family Gateway. “And that means breaking the cycle of poverty. We do that by working with the kids.”

The organization works with parents to help them become independent, but also incorporates the children. Older kids get homework help or special classes and there’s play therapy for younger children. The average age of homeless children in the country is 6 years old, Alberts said.

“By the time kids have come to us, they’ve been homeless seven times,” said Heidi Hodges, director of programs at Family Gateway. “So they’re behind emotionally, socially and academically.”

Homeless families are sometimes not counted as homeless in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development because they live in homes with friends or family, but are not self-sufficient. They are in school districts.

“It’s devastating for the children,” said Grand Prairie ISD social worker Christine Gonzalez. “They get tired and they just need some stability in their lives.”

Keeping hopes up

Halfacre’s two older children, Nakayla and Kai Foster, are third- and second-graders who have been to four elementary schools. But their mother says despite their instability the two girls have kept their grades up. They also help their mom with their younger brother, Kayden, 2.

The mother is hoping to find a better-paying job that will allow her to save money and provide more for her children. She works at a day care now. She said during her struggles to keep her family together, she once considered giving the children’s father full custody. The three are now

info@americanangelworks.org



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Frank Needs a Kidney

My friend Frank Jakes needs a kidney. That is a big ask, I get that. Frank has been the kind of person that has given his entire life. I first met Frank & Betty in the mis 90’s. We have been going to the same church since 1995. As we’ve grown into a church that serves over 20,000 per week, from the mere 180 that came when we started, Frank has been in the middle of it all. For so many years when we would hear of someone making a huge difference, giving in an amazing way, or helping beyond imagination, it was always Frank. Now he needs us. If there is someone out there that would donate a kidney for this great man, please contact us immediately.

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Inspiring Story Of A Community Reaching Out To Help The Homeless

From The Daily Mail
Friday December 7, 2012
Donors affected by stories shared in Neediest Cases
Advertiser

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Readers often enclose notes with their contributions to the Neediest Cases Appeal, telling us about a certain story that touched them.

Such was the case with a reader who was struck by the plight of a woman abandoned by her caretaker who ended up homeless before a social service agency learned of her situation and stepped in to help.

"I thought Case No. 6 was very moving," the reader noted.

The donations so far will help that woman and many others whose cases have been published - $27,441.08 has been donated to date.

2012 contributions

So far, the $27,441.08 that has been donated to date will help fund published cases. There are hundreds of other cases submitted by social service agencies that also may be helped, if contributions allow.

Recent contributors include:

  • Anonymous     $5,000
  • No name please     $1,000
  • In memory of Thomas     $1,000 
  • Hark and Frank Veltri
  • Mark & Kristin Jacobs     $550
  • The Napier Church     $500
  • Doug & Bonnie     $500
  • No name please     $250
  • Anonymous     $250
  • Patti Hedrick     $250
  • Kay Cunningham     $250
  • Joyce Board     $200
  • John & Susan Wiseman     $100
  • In memory of Will, George,      $100
  • Mary, Carolyn, Nick & Maysel
  • Tom Waldorf     $100
  • In memory of Steve Gernert     $100
  • Leah Lewis     $100
  • Robert Hornish Jr.     $100
  • Rick & Donna Campbell     $100
  • Buddy & Stacy Davidson     $100
  • Michael Stajduhar     $100
  • Col. & Mrs. N.J. Hun     $100
  • In memory of Ruth Y. Booth     $100
  • In memory of TPB & EWB     $50
  • In memory of Larry Randolph     $50
  • Jerry & Robin Workman     $50
  • In honor of Sweet Parker     $50
  • Pamela Campe     $50
  • A German Immigrant     $50
  • Martin & Marsha Weirick     $50
  • From Bill     $25
  • I Corinthians 15:1-4     $25
  • In honor of ARF     $25
  • Anonymous     $25
  • Beverley Bolland     $15

Total    $11,315.00

Previous Total    $16,126.08

Grand Total    $27,441.08

http://www.dailymail.com/home/NeediestCases/201212060237


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Exciting News About American Angel Works. We’re On The Move

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By AAW

Even though I started American Angel Works in 2009, I never took the time to make it a nonprofit. I called it “my template”. We were always sponsored by other nonprofits as a fundraising platform. Today we are a real nonprofit.

I spent the day with my accountant yesterday. We filled out a 31 page form to become a 501c3, rewrote my articles of incorporation for the sate, and paid a huge fee, $850.00. On top of that I paid my accountant, and a filing fee to the state for the amended articles. We also filed for an expedited 501c3 status and was granted that after an hour on the phone with the IRS. By the end of the year we will have 501c3 status and no longer be sponsored by an outside 501c3 nonprofit. I just opened our bank account, and sent Paypal documentation of nonprofit status. It’s been a great morning.

Go back to our site and read about our 100% plan. It could revolutionize the way charity is done.

info@americanangelworks.org

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The New Illegals are Americans? Yes You Read That Right

In 1985 my wife and I decided to move from Louisville Ky to Atlanta Ga to work with the aging homeless. So we sold our home, closed Stepp’s remodeling  and moved south. And after all these years, I’m actually doing what I came here to do.

“It’s the economy stupid”. Those words were a winning battle cry for Bill Clinton. It was true then and is as true today. The nation has an economy in decline. Yet many cities around the US are passing laws that make those effected the most, are hurting the most, and have lost the most, pay more. Not in dollars but in basic human rights, freedom, and basically living.

I woke up this morning, grabbed a cup of coffee, started returning last nights emails, and clicked my tv on. Channel 2 News. Just the Stepp family’s favorite news station. Although I’ve heard of cities making it illegal to be homeless, I really never allowed the thought to sink in. Urban Camping is the new catch phrase for living on the streets. Sounds like an adventure doesn’t it? Something you do on a 3 day weekend with your kids once a year. Or the Scout outing you went on as a kid. But it’s not.

Homelessness in America passed epidemic levels in 2009. Entire families, single moms, disenfranchised people, the mentally ill, etc. The list is too long to write in this post. I’ve heard it said that anyone could become homeless. I don’t believe that is true. Foe example. If my family lost our jobs, had no money, no friends to live with, couldn’t get help from government agencies, etc. We could move back to Kentucky. My family lives on a beautiful piece of land up there. It’s our little bit of Heaven. Three beautiful homes are on that land. Swimming pools, ponds, a lake, a high end horse ranch, etc. Absolutely gorgeous. But everyone doesn’t have that. Think beyond yourself.

This morning South Fulton County announced they passed a law banning urban camping. Roswell, Alpharetta, and many other local cities have these laws. What this does is it moves all the homeless families closer together. Eventually they will all be forced to be in the same place. Hearded and stored outside like cattle. A small area out of view from tourists, and the general population. A cardboard city. A city with no laws, no safety, and no hope. Rape, murder, robbery by default will be just a normal day. Is that what we have become? A nation that hides problems instead of caring enough to fix them

Trey Noran has a nonprofit in Las Vegas named :His Love Street Ministries”. He was the first one to bring this problem to my attention. Banning urban camping is making it illegal to be homeless unless they are in the controlled, forgotten, and lawless environment, out of sight, as I described above.

Seeing homeless families while I drive through a city doesn’t look good for the city. But there are alternatives. Instead of having government agencies handle the problem, a city could simply fund the homeless advocates in the area that have a history of being on the front line helping the homeless. Denver did. They started renting out abandoned hotels and allowing homeless nonprofits to manage them. They do a great job at about 10% of the cost. That is what Americans do. They show compassion, they do not hide the problem and hurt already hurting people. Make no mistake. When Jesus coined the phrase “The least of these”. The homeless, I believe, would be who he meant.