Happy May! Creators of Hope takes time this month to celebrate our amazing volunteers. Check out their experiences. Maybe they’ll inspire you to join us on an upcoming mission trip!
Today we feature our volunteer Ashley, who joined us for our January mission trip and was a terrific member of the team.
Ashley is actually a second-generation Creators of Hope supporter. Her dad went on two of our earlier trips and shared his wonderful experiences with her. She also had the chance to see what mission trips are like when she took a separate trip to Springfield, Illinois. With all of that info to get her started, she couldn’t wait to join us this year.
One of her favorite parts of the mission trip was being part of the crew. Our team has members both from the US and Jamaica, and Ashley loved getting to meet and work side-by-side with so many energetic, devoted people, all working toward the goal of making families’ lives better. Taking part in a Creators of Hope mission trip lays the groundwork for friendships that last a lifetime.
Ashley also told us how special, and how important, it was to her to know she was making a difference for people who needed her help. How many times do we get the chance to give real, concrete, hands-on help to people who truly need it? The toughest part of the trip for her, she said, was “wishing we could’ve helped more people!” She talked about having a tough time leaving Jamaica, knowing that so many people still had very little, and needed support to help build better lives for themselves and their children. At the same time, she knew that she and the rest of the team had done so much to help Jamaica’s families, giving them a start and a resource they’d never had before.
When asked why she thought other people should consider joining a Creators of Hope mission trip, Ashley told us that her experience “was really eye-opening.” She stressed how powerful and moving it was to meet people who had so little, but still had so much happiness and love to share. It gave her a different perspective on what’s important, and showed her how strong and resilient love and happiness are, and how strong a foundation they can be in people’s lives.
Using your time and talents to help people who need it. Meeting terrific friends. Getting a whole new view of what really matters in life. Doesn’t this sound like a great adventure? If Ashley’s experience inspires you, learn more about our mission and see how you can help out!
Last time on the blog, we took a look at how environmental stresses affect people living in poverty, especially Jamaica’s vulnerable rural poor. Today we’ll think about the flip side of the coin: how poverty can affect the environment itself.
When we think about the environment and the way we use natural resources, we’re often looking at who has control over the resources we use. Who is farming the land? Who is fishing, mining, growing and harvesting wood? When we look at farming especially, we can see the shift away from small independently-owned farms to massive operations that own large amounts of land and resources.
When resources are concentrated that way, we have a situation where many people don’t have much control over their world and what happens in it. In terms of the environment, this means that people who don’t own most of the land can’t control how that land is used, can’t control whether resources are managed sustainably or not, and can’t change much about environmental damage that might happen: for instance, pollution going into the air and water that everyone shares.
Good environmental practices and sustainable use of resources depend on everyone getting involved. The more people are able to manage their own corners of the world, and be stewards of their own piece of the earth, the better everyone’s quality of life can be.
In rural Jamaica, the generations-long cycle of poverty has meant that many communities don’t have the resources to protect and manage their environment. They’re among the vast numbers of the world’s poor who create a tiny carbon footprint, compared with more industrialized and prosperous communities, but who have to live much more immediately with the effects of environmental problems and natural disasters.
At Creators of Hope, we know that even small changes can create a big impact. That’s why we make it our mission to build homes for Jamaica’s rural poor. Building homes for people without them, giving them that foundation of security and basis for prosperity, helps to level the playing field a little piece at a time. People who have homes and can work toward better lives are also in a position to take their place in the world community as a whole. They can become stewards of their own resources and help all of us help create a healthier planet.
Learn more about us and consider donating to support our work building homes for Jamaica’s rural poor!