Helping Through Community Service


Gift of Giving Tree
Thanks to all of the GFC families that contributed to this year's Giving Tree. The Outreach Department delivered more than 120 gifts of toys, clothes and books to Christian Community Action in Norwalk. We also provided Bridgeport Rescue Mission with a number of children's toys and nearly 50 gift cards that will be distributed to needy families. All told, the contributions from GFC families and a special allocation from the Outreach Department amounted to  more than $5,000 in gifts!  Special thanks to Alison Fisher for all of her assistance  in this year's Giving Tree program!

Change the world, a mind at a time:

In the holiday season, the chance to teach children to live peaceful, emotionally healthy lives is a blessing indeed. Green’s Farms Church supports the Domestic Violence Crisis Center in Norwalk. The DVCC’s PeaceWorks program needs volunteers. Is this your opportunity to take the 300th anniversary challenge and give some of your time and talent to help one of our partner organizations?

The job:
Present PeaceWorks programs in class from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. 

Where does it happen?
In classrooms in public and private schools in Stamford, Norwalk, Weston, Wilton, Westport, New Canaan, and Darien. This year, PeaceWorks reached 25,589 students with 1177 presentations.  PeaceWorkSHOPS, customized out of school time programs that supplement PeaceWorks programming, take place at community organizations, schools, and agencies in all seven towns. Teen PeaceWorks is a network of student-led groups that raise awareness about interpersonal violence and on maintaining healthy relationships within their communities. 

How much time does it take?
Classroom volunteers must be available during the day. Volunteers usually participate in kindergarten and first grade puppet shows, and with time and experience, present in higher grade levels. Volunteers may also help with PeaceWorkSHOPS, which take place in the afternoon or the evening.

How do I learn to do the job?
Volunteers complete a twenty-hour state mandated certification training, provided in Stamford twice a year. All DVCC volunteers must complete 48 volunteer hours, and 6 re-certification hours annually.

Tell me more about PeaceWorks:
PeaceWorks believes prevention of violence begins with the education of children. It provides age-appropriate tools to help them solve conflicts peacefully and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships. PeaceWorks also teaches empathy, tolerance, self-awareness and respect towards all.

PeaceWorks programs are aligned with the Connecticut Healthy and Balanced Living Standards so they supplement the school curriculum. PeaceWorks staff consulted national leaders in interpersonal violence and social and emotional education.  Each program complements the rest; they begin with puppet shows for pre-kindergarten through first grade students which focus on handling angry feelings safely; and then use building blocks of empathy and respect when exploring healthy and abusive relationships with high school students.  

To find out more:
Contact Claire England, Outreach co-chair, or Dona McKenzie, PeaceWorks Coordinator, 203-588-9100 ext 121.  You can also check out the PeaceWorks website.

***************************************************************

OTHER OUTREACH ORGANIZATIONS WITH WHICH GFC IS AFFILIATED:

Homes with Hope (formerly Interfaith Housing) provides supportive housing, emergency shelter, feeding programs, and life skills training.  Members of our church serve dinner to residents of the Gillespie Center shelter in Westport twice a month.

Christian Community Action provides food, furnishings, and other emergency support for families, while the Domestic Violence Crisis Center provides support to the victims of domestic violence.

Pilgrim Towers provides affordable housing for seniors.

Burroughs Community Center provides after-school programs, a community garden, a tax filing service and Quick Start Language Center.

Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport provides a range of social services.

McGivney Community Center is dedicated to education and providing a safe haven for children.

Mercy Learning Center provides women with opportunities to learn literacy and life skills.

Bethel Recovery Center provides a safe and structured environment for women in recovery and their children.

Pivot House provides a turning point for men struggling with substance and alcohol dependence.

Green's Farms Church serves our neighbors in Connecticut, in other parts of the U.S., and around the world via our contributions to our Churches Wider Mission, the outreach efforts of our denomination, the United Church of Christ.  We also support the work of Simply Smiles with children and families in Mexico and South Dakota, and the Indian Gospel Mission in South India.