Family Serve: Service Opportunities for Families

One of the questions we on the External Focus team get the most often is, "Where can I serve with my family?"

This page is designed to answer that question, particularly for families with preschool or elementary-aged kids. (With older kids, many of our standard Ministry Partners and regular opportunities are available.)

FAMILY SERVING GUIDES

Hands & Feet Projects Guide: Some of our members have produced an amazing guide for serving with your kids, with eleven great service opportunities developed so you can get started easily with kids from age 2 to 12.

162 Ideas for Serving with Your Kids: We asked... you told us! This guide is taken from Watermarkers who reported exactly how they're serving with their kids. Get it here.

Significant Summer 2016: A Family Mission: Check out this post for everything you need to engage in the Children's Ministry Significant Summer of service, growth, play, and rest.

Sticky Year & Sticky Serve: The Kids Ministry has announced 2016 as "Sticky Year," all about helping faith "stick" with your kids. One big key is serving with your kids, so Wes Butler posted some ideas and links for doing just that. Find it here.

Beyond Crafts: 4 Tips to Help Serving "Stick" with Your Kids: Another helpful tool written by our External Focus team! Find it here.

HANDS & FEET PROJECTS: SERVING WITH LITTLE CHILDREN

Can you imagine serving with children as young as 2? Not only is it possible, it's being done by numerous Watermark parents in a great ministry called Hands & Feet Projects.

Join with other parents of very young children (2 to 5 years-old) and embark on service projects together this summer! Find them at their Facebook page here (it’s closed for privacy, so just request permission to join).

FAMILY SERVICE WITH OUR MINISTRY PARTNERS

For each of these ministry partners, please contact the individual indicated. Be sure to tell them about the opportunity you're interested in!

CARR ELEMENTARY & READERS 2 LEADERS

readers2leaders.org

Readers 2 Leaders seeks to help all children in West Dallas read at or above grade level, building relationships with kids and parents in the process! They connect closely with several West Dallas schools, including Watermark's partner school, C. F. Carr Elementary. In a community where most students don't finish high school, Readers 2 Leaders and Watermark are seeking to start early to help turn the tide in West Dallas.

Family opportunities: Families can serve at Saturday Storytime, held the second Saturday of every month at Readers 2 Leaders. And when Back-to-School time approaches, there are often multiple activities that kids and parents can participate in together.

Contact: Susie Ashbaugh · washbaugh@sbcglobal.net

BROTHER BILL'S HELPING HAND

www.bbhh.org

Brother Bill's is a comprehensive ministry that impacts over 1,300 households in West Dallas, offering a food pantry, training classes, Bible studies, children’s programs, and a clinic.

Family opportunities: Weekday (and occasional weekend) "Grocery Store" days are great ways for families to meet Brother Bill's West Dallas neighbors. There are also chances to stock the shelves after the Grocery Store. During the summer months, kids can help with crafts during the Grocery Store, and families can also help with "Birthday Party in a Bag," providing West Dallas children with something they might not otherwise receive - a birthday celebration.

Contact: Cynthia Gammill • cgammill723@aol.com

CORNERSTONE CROSSROADS ACADEMY

cornerstonecrossroads.com

CCA is a small, faith-based high school in South Dallas that provides transforming education for urban youth, empowering them to impact their present and future communities for Christ. Volunteers can tutor, mentor, provide lunch, or work on a special project.

Family opportunity: Families can have a blast "sponsoring" individual students (i.e., celebrating their birthday, helping with some basic needs like school uniforms and underclothes, etc.). There's also the chance to provide weekday lunches to the teachers and students. For older kids who need service hours, Scouting projects, etc., contact Kristi about doing a special project for the school.

Contact: Kristi Lichtenberg • kristilichtenberg@yahoo.com

INTERFAITH FAMILY SERVICES

interfaithdallas.org

Interfaith Housing provides transitional housing for previously homeless families, while offering services to help them achieve stability and success.

Family opportunities: Families can help prepare apartments for residents, clean out apartments, organize donations of food or clothes, help in the garden / on the grounds, and help with kids while their parents are in meetings. There may even be opportunities to "adopt" an Interfaith Housing family to prepare their new home and connect with them relationally during their months in the IHC program.

Contact: Lara Jean Landers • watermarkIHC@gmail.com

THRIVE WOMEN'S CLINIC

Thrive Women’s Clinic reaches out to women and men facing unplanned pregnancies, providing education, physical care, and material needs.

Family opportunities: Families can help organize our supplies and stores, donate materials needed by new parents, or even hold a diaper drive with friends to gather lots of resources for new moms and dads!

Contact: Steve Robinson • PregnancyResource@watermark.org

2NDSATURDAY

www.2ndsaturday.org

2ndSaturday strives to reach lives, restore hope, and redeem community in the inner city of West and South Dallas.

Family opportunity: Families make up 15-20% of the volunteer force at the monthly Home Restorations. A variety of activities is available as teams restore houses on the second Saturday of each month. Contact the 2ndSaturday team to ask about what ages are appropriate for their present projects.

Contact: Marcus Toussaint • serve@2ndSaturday.org

SOUTH DALLAS TEAM

Our South Dallas Team is devoted to loving and serving in a variety of ways within the Cornerstone Heights community, in partnership with an inner-city church.

Family opportunities: C-Kids on Saturday mornings is a VBS-style time with the kids of South Dallas. Meanwhile, the Homework Center after school is another chance for families to jump in to help tutor and to play.

Contact: Billy Washington • servesouthdallas@gmail.com

MERCY STREET

mercystreetdallas.org

Mercy Street builds Christ-honoring mentoring relationships with hundreds of kids in West Dallas.

Family opportunities: Mercy Street provides the opportunity for Watermark families to introduce their children to the children of West Dallas... and find that both groups are impacted! Contact Ken to find out more about these opportunities, which include mentoring a fourth-grader or coaching a West Dallas soccer or baseball team (that your child can play on, too).

Contact: Ken Dawkins • westdallas@watermark.org

ADVOCATES FOR COMMUNITY TRANSFORMATION

actforjustice.org

Advocates for Community Transformation (ACT) empowers citizens of West Dallas to combat injustice in their neighborhoods. ACT gives both legal professionals and many others the chance to help transform a community through connecting with residents and participating in events.

Family opportunity: Monthly prayer walks around the neighborhood allow ACT and volunteers to get to know neighbors and seek the Lord on behalf of this area of our city!

Contact: Valerie Maniscalco • actdallas@watermark.org

RESTART 133

restart133.tumblr.com

Restart 133 ministers to inmates at Lew Sterrett Country Jail, building relationships over time through a variety of spiritual and practical courses.

Family opportunity: Families could "adopt an inmate" to pray for him or her specifically each week.

Contact: watermarkrestart@gmail.com

INTERNATIONAL FAMILY INVOLVEMENT

MISSION OF HOPE HAITI ORPHAN SPONSORSHIP

mohhaiti.org/child-sponsorship

Mission of Hope is a ministry that serves a region of Haiti north of Port-au-Prince through a school, an orphanage, food distribution, and local construction that builds homes for families. MOH also provides medical care to the region, including providing prosthetic limbs to those who need them.

Watermark families can directly sponsor kids to help provide a Christ-centered education and a meal each day. Visit mohhaiti.org/child-sponsorship to find out more.

HAITI FAMILY TRIPS

watermark.org/internationaltrips

Watermark’s Haiti trips are a powerful way for families to make an impact and be impacted... together! We generally offer Family Trips in November and February, and trips are eligible for families with kids in 3rd grade or older. Training usually starts a month or two before each trip.

For more on Haiti discipleship trips and an application, visit the web page above. After taking a look, contact kbundren@watermark.org with questions.

ALARM ORPHAN SPONSORSHIP

watermarkworldwide.com

For now, our sponsorship of ALARM orphans is full!

OUTSIDE WATERMARK: WEE VOLUNTEER

While Wee Volunteer is not affiliated with Watermark and is a secular organization, some Watermark families have found this to be a fun and helpful way to dive into service with their younger kids. Moms or dads serve with their kids in various areas of impact. You can also view their calendar to decide what activities make the most sense for your family (and will have the most impact).

Since we can't really "endorse" an outside organization like this, we simply encourage you to use your judgment as you consider how you get your family involved. And please contact the External Focus Team if you have any concerns or questions: externalfocus@watermark.org.

We also encourage you to include discipleship in any service you do with your kids (including with Wee Volunteer)! Help your children understand that service isn't simply about making ourselves feel good or "checking a box." As Christians, we care for and sacrifice for others just like God has cared for and sacrificed for us. We also seek to build relationships with people who God loves - and we might even get to share God's Good News with them! This includes the people we serve alongside, who - by seeing our desire to love others - might ultimately glorify God themselves (Matt. 5:16).

The Wee Volunteer site can be found at www.weevolunteer.org.