“Making a Difference” by attending the National Conference
We gathered together to learn and to share ideas with each other to strengthen our organization’s impact.
As the attendees all heard during the Recognition section of the Membership workshop on Saturday at our National Conference, you can never thank people enough. So, with that in mind, I want to again say “THANK YOU” to all the chapter leaders and members who attended Conference 2017!! To those chapters who could not attend, we missed you and I want to share with all of you the highlights of our weekend!
“Miracles happen. But prayer is needed! Prayer that is courageous, struggling and persevering, not prayer that is a mere formality.” Pope Francis
Never underestimate the power of prayer
Earlier this year, I discovered quite by accident, that I had a large tumor in my abdomen that extended down into my left thigh. I underwent several tests but was told they could not fully determine if it was cancer until they removed it and biopsied it. I am sure many of you have experienced similar circumstances either with yourself or a loved one. It can be a bit scary. I have a strong network of friends and family members around me-I am lucky that way. I knew from cards sent that people were keeping me in their prayers. I have always had difficulty praying for myself so I appreciated this.
Whether you are celebrating a “first” or a “70th” event, Christ Child Society’s legacy of love shines forth!
Patty Myler, Past NCCS President and NCCS Historian, recently found and shared with us the following quote from Leonide Delarue, one of the earliest Christ Child members who also served on the first Board of Managers – “Well so long as it lasts, it will have done good.” And for 130 years, we have done good!! This is especially evident to me when I see chapters gathering their members together to celebrate their accomplishments and the impact they are having in their communities!
This past May, I was honored to speak at the Christ Child Society of Duluth, Minnesota’s very first Red Wagon luncheon. This was an opportunity for Duluth to not only fund-raise but to also “friend-raise” and attract some new members for their chapter.
My presentation, “Serving in the Name of the Christ Child-National Christ Child Society Then & Now,” explored the history of our founder and formation of our organization as well as what we are doing today to spread the word about who we are and what we do in communities across the country.
Whether we are reading to our own children, grandchildren or children we serve, there is so much we can teach them!
School’s out for summer! Children love those words! Children want to swim, play ball, sleep in, go to the playground, watch movies-all great things to do! But both parents and teachers want to make sure that our children are also reading over the summer! I remember when my children were young and we joined the summer reading program at our local library. You kept track of how many books you read and if you reached certain goals, there was some type of prize given out! The emphasis was on the “number” of books read. I now know that the number of books read is certainly not as important as the comprehension of what is read! And where did I gain this knowledge? From reading “How to Make the Children You Love Really Good Readers” by Lillian Restaino Baumann, Ph.D., one of our featured speakers at this year’s National Christ Child Society Conference and a member of our Boca Raton, Florida chapter!
May the sunlight and the rain be reminders that God is at work renewing the earth. May He also be present in our lives, renewing our devotion to the Christ Child Society as we work to grow our impact.
Happy Spring! I am so glad to be able to say that! The NCCS board held an in-person board meeting on March 17th and 18th in Dearborn, Michigan, and we had the opportunity to visit the Christ Child House which is owned and operated by our Detroit chapter. The Executive Director, LaNiece Jones, shared the history of the house with us and took us on a tour of the facility. The Christ Child House was established in 1948 and provides residential treatment services for up to 31 boys, ages 6 to 16, many of whom suffer emotional, behavioral and physical impairment resulting from severe abuse and neglect. Often times, these boys have failed in foster home placements which adds to their emotional distress. The Christ Child House becomes their place of refuge and healing. The staff and Christ Child chapter volunteers are guided by the philosophy – “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood” and they work hard to make that mantra a reality for the children they serve. I think I can speak for all the board members when I say that we were all touched deeply by the boys themselves and the stories that were shared with us.
As we begin a new year, let us strengthen our resolve to challenge poverty one child at a time.
Happy New Year-even though it is the end of January! I don’t know about you but when January ends I am really happy because we are that much closer to spring time! Maybe I should say “Happy end of January!”
On January 11th, the Cleveland chapter celebrated the conclusion of their 100th anniversary year with a special mass at St. John’s Cathedral, followed by a tour of the cathedral and a luncheon.
“Nothing is ever too much to do for a child.” Mary Virginia Merrick
The years have passed and my children have grown and now I get to relive so many happy memories of their own childhoods through my grandchildren! This past Saturday, December 17th, was my granddaughter Stella’s first birthday. It is tradition that my husband and I host our grandchildren’s first birthday parties. And as I was helping my daughter plan and prepare for the day, Mary Virginia Merrick’s words kept coming to my mind, “Nothing is ever too much to do for a child”. I realized that my daughter and I would do anything for this child because of our deep love for her.
“Let not a day pass without having learned something, without having overcome yourself in something, without having performed a kind act, without having accomplished something.”
Mary Virginia Merrick
As members of the Christ Child Society, we are sometimes called upon to move out of our comfort zone to get something accomplished for our cause. Maybe it is seeking donations for an Annual Appeal or chairing an event or speaking to the media to get our story told. Whatever it is, we do it because we believe in what we do for the children who need us most.
In November, I traveled to the Toledo, Ohio chapter to attend their 22nd Annual Celebrity Wait Night event. I presented a seminar in 2013 that featured this event, and I have wanted to experience this fundraiser in person ever since! Due to the great turnout of 550 attendees, it was held in two restaurants, Real Seafood and Zia’s- beautiful locations in Toledo. Along with the “real” waiters, each table is assigned a ‘Celebrity Waiter” whose job it is to entertain the guests, make sure everyone is having fun and of course, seek donations for their effort! I was lucky to get Jane Larsen, the President of the Toledo chapter, as my celebrity waiter!! The evening included a delicious, relaxing dinner and a chance to meet many of the Toledo chapter members. This event raised nearly $41,000 for Toledo’s outreach programs. What a great success!
“I must not rush though my daily duties worrying that I cannot get all that I wish done. I must do but one thing at a time and by that one duty do my best not worrying over what will become of the others…”
2016-2018 Board members pictured with Fr. Ralph Wiatrowski left to right: Anne Kelley, Loretta Haugh, Melanie Mbuyi, Kaye Rowe, Beth Barrett, Marybeth Baucco, Jean Phelan, Linda Henry, Molly Fanning, Mary Jo Dawson, Lambi Newsham and Carol Pickle.
This quote by Mary Virginia Merrick marked the start of the first board meeting of the newly inducted National Board of Directors on Saturday, November 5th. I chose this quote to emphasize to the new board that although we have our work cut out for us, we will all work together, seeking guidance where needed, to begin to implement our new Strategic Plan. The Christ Child members who answered the call to serve on the National Board are a talented, resourceful, and hard-working group (not to mention, a lot of fun too!) I would like to share a little about them with you today.
Mary Virginia Merrick, Servant of God, established the Christ Child Society almost 130 years ago, when she inspired her friends and family members in Washington to join her in personal service to children in need. And she continues to inspire our organization today as do her visionary statements, which come off our lips as we seek to meet the needs of today’s children: “Nothing is ever too much to do for a child,” “Find a need and fill it,” and “To work is to pray”.
Which is why this year the National Christ Child Society and 30 of our chapters participated in our first ever national day of volunteering for National Make a Difference Day on or about, October 22, 2016, in honor of Miss Mary’s 150th birthday. Our theme was Layettes of Love since the packing of layettes goes back to our origin when Mary Virginia Merrick and her friends made and distributed the first layettes for babies born at Christmas time.