Saturday night was a Lighthouse teen and parent meeting. Since I neglected to update my personal calendar before scheduling this meeting, my own daughter was away at a pre-season homeschool basketball tournament in Greensboro that night. Since I was leading this meeting, I stayed home. Note to self ... when scheduling a support group teen activity, pick a date your own child can attend.
There are a large number of teens in our support group, but for the past couple of years we have not had anything organized specifically for them. This year I am scheduling monthly teen meetings to provide a chance for these kids to meet and socialize ( not "be socialized" - different thing ), and at the same time for parents of teens to meet and discuss the many questions surrounding homeschooling in high school. Saturday night we had 20 teens and about the same number of parents in attendance.
We started with a "business meeting" in which we discussed some ideas for upcoming activities. Then we had 2 guests share briefly about the non-profit organizations that they are involved in and how we could help.
Denise talked about Blue Star Mothers, a national organization made up of mothers of present or former US military members whose mission is as follows:
The mission of the Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc., shall be to support the Armed Forces of the United States of America and its Veterans; to advocate for America's Armed Forces and those men and women who have served their country with honor; to maintain allegiance to the United States; to educate our members and others not to divulge military, naval, or other government information; to assist and participate in ceremonies which honor remember and support our military men and women and Veterans; to honor those families whose children have died in service to our country; to assist in Homeland Security; to uphold the American principles of freedom, justice and equal rights and to defend the United States from all enemies.
Wonderful organization. Our teens are helping with their Care Packages service project this coming weekend, where we'll be packing several hundred boxes with donated items ( snacks, toiletries, DVDs, books, etc ) to send to US soldiers and sailors serving overseas.
Next, my friend Jennings shared about Ten Eighteen Inc., the non-profit ministry she and her husband started a year ago, based on Deuteronomy 10:18 - "He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing." Currently they are working to raise money to care for orphans and widows in Uganda, through a couple of different local organizations that they have made connections with there. Jennings brought jewelry to the meeting that is made by women living in the Nomowongo slums of Kampala, and a number of the girls and moms were able to get early Christmas shopping done!
After this, the teens raided the snacks and set out the board games they had brought, spending the next hour and a half playing, talking and laughing. The parents went into a separate classroom and discussed high school classes, credits, dual enrollment changes in the community college system, and other similar topics. Hopefully those of us whose children have already graduated or are almost ready to graduate were able to offer some reassurance to those facing those looming high school years. It really isn't as scary as it seems!