Friday, July 30, 2010

Back to School - Target

Ayone who has young kids is familiar with the section of Target just inside the entry where the Dollar stuff is arrayed in bins. This time of year the bins are stocked with really fantastic classroom instructional materials. The stuff pictured here all came from the Target dollar bins and exceeds any Liberian teacher's dream of classroom materials. Everything pictured here all together cost less than $30 total! Click to make the picture larger so you can see the items.
Pictured in rows top to bottom, beginning at top right: Classroom timer, signs-on-a-stick (these silent classroom directions would be PERFECT for Hope School for the Deaf), paperback book Sea Creatures (the $ bins are loaded with so many books that would be perfect for building a little Liberian classroom "library", 25-pk Award Book Marks(on top of the Sea Creature book), Bright Green Desktop Pocket Charts Stand.
Next Row top: 100-piece boxed puzzle (Space), wooden perpetual calendar (apple shapes for days of the week-CUTE!), flash cards (animals, space etc.), boxed bingo games (math and time), Foam Clock.
Next row top: binder pouch (.75 - great bargain for teachers), Teacher Grade Book, Teacher Plan Book, classroom card scheduler (red and white striped thing. the white stripes are actually cards that go into the red pockets).
Next row: Plastic pencil box (also a bargain at .75), Dictionary and Thesaurus (great bargains at $1 each - smaller pocket versions are available at the back of the store in the School Supply area for $1.99).
Items such as the classroom card scheduler and the Desktop Pocket Charts Stand could be particularly useful at Hope School for the Deaf where the deaf students need visual aids for directions, classroom activities, etc.

Back to School!

Parents, retired teachers, empty nesters, school age kids, grandparents, - everybody loves Back to School excitement, right? Back to School is the second biggest retail event of the year and major retail chain stores stock special items that are only available for the few weeks leading up to September school start dates. These items are particularly useful in Liberian classrooms. LOEP gratefully accepts donations of school supplies all year round - we are blessed with ample storage space - but this is our busy time gathering donations of school supplies and planning teacher training.

The annual October School Supply Shipment is very important to our work with Liberian students and teachers. Student supplies shipped in October arrive in time for Christmas and teacher instructional materials arrive in time for classroom use. October is also when we ship training supplies for the LOEP team to use in teacher workshops and training.
What they Need
There are many generous folks, church groups, Rotary Clubs, neighborhood groups, office workers, friends of LOEP, who help with this effort. The question "what do they need" always pops up. To help your contributions be as useful as possible and take advantage of the special items available now in stores, LOEP has put together a list. For your convenience, the list is divided into blog entries by store so you can see clearly what we need and where it is available.

Watch this blog for the next few days to see what the kids and their teachers need!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sister Act for Liberia

There are several of us who keep our hands busy "crafting for the cause" of Liberian children. We have figured out a way to combine our interest in arts and crafts with our commitment to supporting education for children in Liberia by making and selling our own handcrafted items. It is intriguing to observe how interests can become family "traits". Art work and aid work definitely runs in our family and, apparently, we are not the only ones.
Sisters who craft for Liberia:

Char Turner
Cause for Creation - See sidebar for link
Char and her husband became involved with helping Liberian children years ago before the end of the war in Liberia and have remained dedicated and committed to their work ever since. Char was a stamp artist at the time, just beginning to take time to develop her creative side after ending her busy career as a shepherd with her own beautiful, prize-winning flock of sheep. Drawing from her experiences as shepherd, horsewoman, farm wife and vet tech, she taught herself to carve lino cuts. Not surprisingly, her work centered around animals, farm scenes and nature. Since then, Char dived into the deep end of the creative process and began making her own paper infused with natural elements such as flower petals, hay and straw ,and leaves. Her original prints on handmade paper are exquisitely charming organic art.
Selling her beautiful art work online as Cause for Creation, Char has raised thousands of dollars for Liberian orphans and vulnerable children and has been a great support to LOEP.

Beth Iden
Pockets, Pouches and Bags
Some of us can never get too much of African wax print and batik fabrics. It isn't enough to cover head to toe in African style outfits every chance I get. I need bags, accessories, home decoration and screen savers too! Sewing is a fun hobby for me and the African fabrics make it even more fun so the more fun I have the more stuff gets made. When my friends and family had all the handmade items they could use in 3 lifetimes, I had to find another outlet so I could keep sewing. Now I make bags, accessories (eyeglass slips, cell phone pouches, etc.) and baby bibs with African fabric and all sale proceeds go to LOEP.
A huge bonus to my crafting is spending time with my sister, Char, at the Harrisonburg Farmer's Market where we sell our hand crafts. She is at the market every Saturday selling her bautiful art work and my crafted stuff and I join her there once a month. We have such a great time together talking to folks at the market about Liberia, the children and our work there.
The Lewis Sisters and Two Friends
Hopeful Cards
This sister act online business specializes in lovely handmade cards. The brains behind Hopeful Cards is Seneca Lewis and her sister who live in Pennsylvania, where their interest in Liberia is definitely a family "trait". Seneca's Dad has made several trips to Liberia as a short-term missionary and her Mom is a Reading Specialist who has been involved in work on behalf of Liberian orphans for years. Seneca and her sister, along with two of their friends, have started their own business with a web site, no less. These young ladies are such an inspiration as well as being very talented! Proceeds from the sale of their cards all go to help orphans and vulnerable children in Liberia.
Hopeful Cards
Giving joy to friends while giving hope to orphans