Link to Deep Roots’ Spring 2015 Newsletter: Spring Newsletter 2015
It’s been a busy Winter season! We have five families experiencing homelessness in residence at Clairvaux Farm, and as you read this a Mission Trip group from Nazareth College (Rochester, NY) is working hard with local volunteers to [at last!] complete the renovations on our final four family rooms in the Residence Building and we will reach full capacity. We have been working hard for months to reach this point, gathering funds and volunteers. It is a joy to be so close to completion.
Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we enter the summer season with a strong schedule of Mission Trip groups who will be helping complete the construction of our Education Building. This will provide dedicated space for the children and young people to study, do homework, browse the children’s library – in a space which they will know is devoted to helping them secure their futures. Parents also will have a place to work on resumes, job search, and other personal business so essential in this high tech age. 2015 is the year we hope to complete this work and get this building up and running.
We do continue to need your faith, hope, and love. Thanks to all you who partner with us to make this mission a real place of help for folks we care about so much.
From the newsletter:
On one of the coldest afternoons in mid-February, we got a call to help a woman and her teenage daughter were sleeping in their car. That night they slept in a warm room at Clairvaux Farm and the following day they were laughing as they helped prepare lunch with everyone in the dining hall. This is what Clairvaux Farm is about: it is a place of refuge and a place of meeting; shelter from the storm and a place of transformation; from homelessness to home. We are filled to capacity now, and in March we will add four additional family rooms with the help of volunteers from Nazareth College in Rochester, NY and Trinity United Methodist Church in Chesapeake City.
On Sunday afternoon, February 7, the young people of Elsmere Presbyterian Church in Wilmington joined with the young people of Deep Roots to celebrate a Valentine’s Day Craft Event at Clairvaux Farm. For the community at the Farm it was a time of celebration for another reason as on that Saturday a mother and her three sons, who had been in residence for the past three months, were able successfully to transition to permanent housing. The family will continue to be involved with the monthly Deep Roots events and the mother will continue to participate in the “Serve Safe” food handler credentials training in which she had been enrolled along with others at Clairvaux Farm. But they have joyfully ended their homelessness.
At its heart Deep Roots at Clairvaux Farm is not defined primarily as a shelter; we offer families experiencing homelessness a home. We are an organic community designed to end homelessness for families through emergency housing, direct assistance and ongoing extended community involvement through the Deep Roots fellowship and mentoring program. Over 50 young persons participated in the craft event, making Valentine cards and cookies to give to parents and other family members. One five-year-old girl proudly carried her hand-crafted card around the playground, eager to show everyone what she had created for “my mom.” When I asked her to show me, she held it up with a huge smile and then, without breaking the smile, she began pulling cookies wrapped in plastic sandwich bags from her coat pockets carefully describing each carefully decorated goodie as, “this is for my brudder… and these are for my sisters…” all the way to her mom who was to get two cupcakes. Then she quickly corrected herself and said, “Oh, I forgot, one of the cupcakes is for me!”
Cookies, valentines, & cupcakes are perhaps not the most potent of instruments for change in the world. But the loving experience of creating them, of passing on the joy of giving, may transform a soul forever. Who is to know? But we do know how important it is to try, one child at a time, to fashion for them a vision of it. Well, maybe it’s not a vision, perhaps it’s just a cookie after all. Yet, strange how when we ourselves look back, did we not build our own adult lives on such small things as cupcakes and valentines? And the care we learned from those who cared for and about us.
– Carl Mazza