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A Typical Tiny Home is not an option in areas where Abod Shelters work

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

The goal of the ‘Tiny House Movement’ is to create more affordable housing and to simplify your life. With the ‘Tiny House Movement’ in full swing, there are many options available for individuals downsizing, living more simply and saving a lot financially. The average tiny house is about 185 square feet and can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $90,000 or much higher depending on the extra options and craftsmanship. This amount does not include the land that it will be placed upon or the monthly utilities.

Why such a large difference in price?

The lower the cost depends on if you have the resources, time and know-how to build it yourself and if you are able to find free or second-hand materials to use. The majority of the cost is a result of the extra options. What are the extra options? These are the shrunk down items that fit in small spaces that typical people in the US would prefer not to go without, such as a water heater, refrigerator, stove, toilet, air conditioner, clothes washer/dryer, cabinets, counter, or a table.

Photo credit: Prothaus Interiors.

Photo Credit: The Alpha via New Frontier Tiny Homes

Photo Credit: K6 by kitHAUS

Tiny houses can be as diverse as the people who own them and “going tiny” can mean something entirely different depending on the person you ask.

I volunteer for Abōd Shelters® which is dedicated to providing affordable housing wherever it is needed around the world. We work in areas where the average daily income is less than $1.90 per day. Yes, you read that right. Go ahead, do the math. There is nowhere in the world, where a person could live on this amount. So, even a $10,000 Tiny Home is NOT an option for a family in need.

Even though housing is a fundamental right, 100 million people worldwide are homeless and are in need of a safe, quality built home.

People living in extreme poverty in Africa has grown substantially since 1990,”

– according to the latest World Bank Africa poverty report.

Abōd Shelters® started as a challenge to BSB Design from one of their most trusted advisors, Dr Robert Cooper, PH.D. He believed that BSB had much more to offer than just architecture and planning. He felt that BSB was a design firm that could impact the world in so many other ways and challenged the firm to democratize and create housing for 3rd world countries.

Photo Credit: Dr Robert Cooper, Cooper Neuroscience Lab.

Everyone deserves to live in a home designed by an architect.”

Jack Bloodgood Founder, BSB Design

So with Dr Robert Cooper’s urging and BSB Design’s founding principle thought in mind, BSB leaders came together with the challenge of designing a home for a family that could be built in one day, for as little as possible and that could be shipped anywhere in the world. The winning design, which was ultimately the Abod, is now being manufactured in South Africa and can be shipped anywhere.

Abod homes are not only highly functional, sustainable and can be built in one day, they are often lower cost versus standard construction. Natural light, cross breeze and open loft spaces provide universally enjoyable comforts. The basic shell is included, with add-on options. Architects at BSB Design created Abod with flexibility in mind, so there is no lack of functionality or comfort, despite the price.

  • Compact and cost-effective to deliver. By truck, ship or plane, the lightweight home can be delivered onsite for quick and easy assembly.
  • Readily manufactured in large quantities. All components are made from stock materials.
  • Quick and simple to assemble. An entire single unit structure can be completed in one day by 4 – 5 people.
  • High-quality, enduring structure has a projected low cost via mass manufacturing.

Abōd Shelters® Foundation collaborates with other non-profits or non-government organizations to provide housing for families, teachers, students, provide schools, medical and birthing clinics in areas in need. We recognize the value of collaborating with like-minded individuals and groups to benefit both through: Cost savings; increasing resources, skills and abilities; and improving efficiency. Most of all, collaborating allows both sides to accomplish much more, better, faster and smarter. In our case, it is providing as many homes to those in need as possible.

At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”

– Mother Teresa

Interested in making a difference with homelessness, disaster relief, refugee housing? Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.

One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you! 


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2017. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

A Typical Tiny Home is not an option in areas where Abod Shelters work
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Meet Apricot Lane Farms, Setting the Pace in Modern Traditional Farming

Photo credit goes to Apricot Lane Farms, John and Molly Chester.

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director Ginny@abodshelters.com

One thing leads to another, right? I was introduced recently to Apricot Lane Farms through a friend of Abod Shelters, Will Johnston, founder of Tiny House Atlanta. He knows a great couple who have spent vacation time working with the innovative directors at the farm.

Kevin Bates, a Sales Executive with IBM with a passion for being in the countryside of beautiful Southern California, specifically likes to get his hands into farming because it brings him outdoors and closer to nature. This brought him to Apricot Lane Farms, the dreamscape of Molly and John Chester, a husband and wife team, who left their job titles of ‘documentary filmmaker’ and ‘private chef’ to become farmers and pursue their vision of starting Apricot Lane Farms in 2011.

In December 2015 they welcomed their first son, Beauden, into the family. Molly is an old school chum of Kevin’s. Hope you followed the introduction links.

The Chester’s are a unique, highly spirited couple who are the modern architects of a traditional foods farm. They each bring passion and perspective to the farm’s development and direction that is capturing the imagination of more and more people. In fact, they have even attracted the attention of The Queen of Network TV, Oprah, who now features short segments about Apricot Lane Farms on the O Network each Sunday. It’s a sign they are doing something right.

Molly and John Chester, Owners of Apricot Lane Farms

Their farm is located in the natural, rich environment of Simi Valley California, along the southern portion of California’s Coast. Interestingly, the farm is just 40 miles north of Downtown Los Angeles and 20 miles east of Ventura in Moorpark, CA. It is worth a visit to Apricot Lane Farm’s charming website as it explains the special world they are creating. Check out their Films and Photos too.

The Chester’s Farming Team have been charged with the mission of creating a well-balanced ecosystem and rich soils that produce nutrient-dense foods while treating the environment and the animals with respect.

The Farm’s residents include pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, guinea hens, horses, highland cattle, and one brown Swiss dairy cow named “Maggie.” The land consists of Biodynamic Certified avocado and lemon orchards, a vegetable garden, pastures, and over 75 varieties of stone fruit.

To inspire you further, here is a new twist, they want to encourage you to experience firsthand as they love to share the farm with you. You can experience farm life by visiting, volunteering in the garden, becoming a culinary intern or even a film intern.

It is because they are expanding such opportunities on the farm, that they are exploring the possibility of using our Abod Shelters solution to provide tiny guest homes for the growing number of visitors to the farm. Abod’s can be easily rotated around the farm and can be arranged in small pods or ‘tiny villages’ to encourage interaction between the guests who come to work on the farm for various periods of time.

We’ve discovered thus far, that we share similar values of putting humanity first, committing to sustainability and a ‘less is more’ philosophy. So if all things line up right we may be seeing a rainbow of Abod homes on the landscape of Apricot Lane Farms in the near future.

I salute Molly and John Chester for their courage and commitment to pursuing their dreams while transforming our view of farming in our current world in ways that benefit mankind.


In heartfelt service,

Ginny Shiverdecker
Executive Director


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Meet Apricot Lane Farms, Setting the Pace in Modern Traditional Farming
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The Results of Hurricane Matthew: Trying to Recover in Haiti

Cover Photo Credit: People walk on the street after strong waves hit the coast at Siboney beach ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Cuba. Reuters bdnews24.com

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

It’s very sad that the country of Haiti was hit with a powerful Category 4 hurricane when they were still recovering from the earthquake of 2010. Some areas were just beginning to flourish again when Hurricane Matthew’s forces caused many deaths, injuries and destruction. Warnings for Hurricane Matthew were in effect for Jamaica, Haiti, eastern Cuba and eastern and central Bahamas. It’s not just the safety and well-being of individuals during the hurricane that is a concern, it’s what comes after as well.

See The New York Times article, ‘Photos and Detailed Maps Reveal Hurricane Matthew’s Brutal Aftermath in Haiti’ to understand the destruction.

Haiti has been hit by many very strong hurricanes but even weaker storms that pass nearby have produced devastating floods and mudslides.

Matthew’s Track History

Because of the infrastructure and the way many houses are built in 3rd world countries there is a great amount of devastation. Not only are the structures easily destroyed but as a result of the devastation the main water sources end up contaminated and then sickness and additional deaths follow. There are always going to be threats to low-lying areas but in 3rd world countries it takes much, much longer to recover and rebuild.

Logan Abassi/Minustah, via European Pressphoto Agency

Houses damaged and destroyed by Hurricane Matthew line a mountain road in south-western Haiti but a lack of clean water could be the storm’s more deadly legacy. Photograph: Rebecca Blackwell/AP

Even though one would think that there is always the option of moving, people have very strong ties to their communities which means moving would be very difficult and disruptive to their initial well-being. Even in the US when Americans considered it likely that a disaster would occur in their area, the majority of them would want to rebuild in the same area. See The Huffington Post article, ‘Rebuilding After Hurricanes: The Public’s View’

It’s been reported by the United Nations latest tally that at least 500 people were killed by Hurricane Matthew and over 100 people are still missing. There are thousands of people displaced as well as additional repercussions as a result of the storm. Cholera is on the rise in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew flooded rivers and destroyed wells. If access to food, water and shelter do not improve immediately, the death toll is expected to increase.

What Matthew didn’t kill, cholera and infections are going to. Infections are coming in.”

said the Haitian Health Foundation country director, Nadesha Mijoba, speaking from Jérémie, a city of 30,000 that was hit by the full force of the category 4 hurricane.

What can you do?

Cash is the most helpful item to provide after a Natural Disaster as it can go directly to items needed for the specific area. Be aware of many scams or organizations that don’t disperse the funds where they are projected. Search the BBB if needed or stick to donating to reputable organizations.

Before sending anything, for example; water, sunscreen, insect repellant, cleaning supplies, clothing, etc. always find out what resources are available to take these items because if there is no way to store or disperse the items to use immediately, they become a hindrance to the efforts. For more information on why this is such a hindrance, read ‘When Disaster Relief Brings Anything but Relief’ from cbsnews.com.

The second most helpful item is your time. If you have the means to help even for a small period of time, you will make a difference.

We, at Abōd Shelters® Foundation, are looking for Partners to support our ongoing efforts of providing homes to people in need. Abōd Shelters® are a good fit for disasters as they can be swiftly deployed and quickly built to provide immediate housing. Be a part of making this happen. Are you an organization, nonprofit or NGO interested or do you have contact with one? Let’s talk… please contact ginny@abodshelters.com

Del Cramer Campus through Blessman Ministries. A small Abod Shelters Village is in the background where the grannies live with their grandchildren and other children they care for.

One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2016. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

The Results of Hurricane Matthew: Trying to Recover in Haiti
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Living with Hurricane Matthew Where Fear Meets Gratitude

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director Ginny@abodshelters.com

Surviving Hurricane Matthew is a memory that will linger for a long time to come for me. Here on the eastern coast line of Florida the storm blew in unanticipated effects. In the aftermath we are compelled to take a few steps back to refocus, rethink and reframe our view of life.

As the hurricane approached, I was thinking about a local news headline I had just read about homeless children on the Florida coast. My heart sank as I thought about the level of deep fear these children must feel at a time like this. What would they do for protection?

Working for the Abōd Shelters® Foundation, I have been researching the growing homeless situation in our country. The statistics are staggering. Yet in an election year the issue of our growing homeless population across America has gone unaddressed.

According to the Covenant House, every year, more than 2 million kids in America will face a period of homelessness. In addition, children who lack a stable home are vulnerable to a number of adverse outcomes. Some threats, such as poverty and hunger, may precede episodes of homelessness; others stem directly from living without a home. Homeless children are more likely than other children to have moderate to severe acute and chronic health problems, and less access to medical and dental care. Read more information at Child Trends.

Photo credit to: Getty Images, blog by Kevin M Ryan, President and CEO, Covenant House

For 7 days last week I felt the real fear of losing our home. My husband and I recently relocated from Tampa, to the Stuart area, north of Palm Beach, Florida, to be closer to our dear family members.

We just became fully settled into our newly constructed house. We especially love our enclosed patio with seating and dining to make it an inviting tropical atmosphere for family and friends.

It seemed a cruel twist of fate as we watched the machinations of Hurricane Matthew forcefully make its way off the African Coast. Creating devastation to Haiti and resulting in hundreds of deaths, it then turned toward Cuba. It was predicted that it would turn due north toward Florida’s East Coast with a trajectory moving it further up to the Carolina Coast and impacting millions of people. It had been 10 years since any storm of this magnitude found its way here. I felt chills running down my spine.

Personally experiencing a storm of this magnitude was a first for me. The storm was nothing less than surreal. The range of emotions are indescribable and even to this moment I am still processing it all.

Once we began to realize the situation was REAL we took stock and mobilized. Making plans helped us feel in control to a degree and then physically getting ready helped us deal with the inevitable. What did we need to do? We had less than three days to prepare. The weather forecast was full of ferocious predictions that it would hit land here – likely right where we live!

Things you never think about surface like; What if my life or those of my loved ones is threatened? What if the severe winds and rain inflict intense damage or even worse, we lose our home completely?

As we were mobilizing in our neighborhood I witnessed others do the same. The stores were over run with people. My hubby and I faced the crowds to stock up on provisions to last us for a while. Why? The loss of electricity would be the biggest issue. One does not know how long we would go without.

Photo from EUMETSAT

https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes explains what actions to take when you receive a hurricane watch or warning alert from the National Weather Service for your local area. It also provides tips on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane.

Once we accomplished this task we moved on. What did we need to do to protect the house? I brushed away the sadness to be productive. Thankfully, we did not need to put up protective shutters because our home was built with major storm protection in mind. Older homes were not protected so we went to help family and their neighbors get shutters up quickly. There was intermittent rain that eventually did not stop for hours. We pressed on and got the job done until we dropped from exhaustion.

Storm day arrived so we sat tight waiting for it to arrive. The anticipation was so stressful. Will it hit land with 130 mph winds or hug the coast and creep northward? One seeks any distraction possible to stay sane knowing the worst of it was due to arrive in the deep, dark of the night at 3 a.m.! We retired that night not saying very much but knowing our hearts and minds were full of anxiety. Suddenly our electricity went off.  All we could do was to wait it out. Eventually, dawn came with us wide eyed as kids on Christmas morning wondering what we might discover. Looking out our windows much to our surprise, we found our neighborhood was spared tragic damage to homes. The neighbors were appearing on their front lawns to check on each other, to talk and connect. We survived but what of the rest of the area?  Time would tell as we began to venture out into the community.

Vero Beach resident Michael Banks found a tree in his side yard split in two, but there was no major damage. (Photo: JON SANTUCCI/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS)

All through the night, I wondered if those homeless children were in shelters and out of harm’s way. Hours into the day when the storm passed the electricity was restored. I checked the headlines to see if everyone had made it through safely along our coast.

What good comes from an experience like living through Hurricane Matthew? I learned long ago in every challenge there is a gift. We just have to wait for God to reveal it. If we are open, it will surface in the form of a blessing that helps us just when we need it. We all feel we were spared the traumatic evil that could have befallen us. We feel humbling gratitude for safe family, friends and strangers. For now, that is the overwhelming emotion here on the Treasure Coast of Florida. I will share the blessing once it reveals itself. I trust it will. But for now I am going to make a donation to the homeless kids in the area who need it most.


In heartfelt service,

Ginny Shiverdecker
Executive Director


Hurricane Matthew was the worst natural disaster to hit Haiti since the earthquake of 2010. The country is still trying to recover with some areas just recently starting to flourish again. Hurricane Matthew’s forces caused many deaths, injuries and destruction along with new cases of cholera being reported. Read about one town, Jérémie, that was directly in its path.

Abōd Shelters® are a good fit for disasters as they can be swiftly deployed and quickly built to provide immediate housing. We currently are looking for partners to help make this happen. Are you an NGO or do you have contact with one?

There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Simply connect with Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Living with Hurricane Matthew Where Fear Meets Gratitude
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One Humanity: What Can You Do to Make Someone’s Life Better?

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Merriam-Webster defines humanitarian simply as “a person who works to make other people’s lives better.”

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

There is an unprecedented number of people that need help worldwide. So who are actually providing help to these people in need? Other people. Most reference these individuals as ‘humanitarian aid workers.’ They work in front line conditions all over the world, facilitating the distribution of aid to people who have suffered from human or natural disasters.

While the job varies from truck driving, drilling wells, distributing food, water and clothing, to writing funding proposals or auditing books, it takes an individual that feels a true calling to be a full-time Humanitarian Aid Worker. Read ‘Why You Might Want to Work in Relief and Development (And Why You Might Not)’

While millions around the world are in dire need of humanitarian assistance, being a humanitarian worker is frequently unsafe. According to consulting group Humanitarian Outcomes, in 2015 alone, 287 aid workers were victims of major attacks.

“Humanitarian Outcomes (2016), Aid Worker Security Database https://aidworkersecurity.org/sites/default/files/HO_AidWorkerSecPreview_1015_G.PDF_.pdf

With aid organisations increasingly working in riskier environments to reach those most in need, 2013 was the deadliest year on record for aid workers, with nearly 500 attacks.”

What Makes A Country Dangerous for Aid Workers? by Jason Miklian, Kristian Hoelscher and Håvard Mokleiv Nygård

What makes a country dangerous to humanitarian workers? Jason Miklian, Kristian Hoelscher and Håvard Mokleiv Nygård wrote in theguardian five key characteristics that were uncovered about countries where aid workers are assumed to be the most at risk. See below insert or dive deeper into this group’s research on ‘Understanding Violent Attacks against Humanitarian Workers’.

Key Characteristics About Countries Where Aid Workers Are Most At Risk:

  1. Countries at war are more dangerous
  2. Whether combatants follow the “rules of war” has little impact
  3. Criminal violence doesn’t influence risk of attack
  4. An international military presence isn’t riskier – but UN peacekeeping forces might be
  5. More developed states are safer

How do we keep our aid workers safe and at the same time get to the people who are in need?

Having good relationships with the community members who are most influential is important to be safe. In ‘14 ways humanitarians can stay safe in insecure environments’ in theguardian, Rachel Banning-Lover collected a panel of experts suggestions on how humanitarian organizations can continue to work with most at-risk communities.

Photo credit: Rapheal Frankfurter, Executive Director of Wellbody Alliance

Suggestions to Work With At-Risk Communities:

  1. Befriend the Influencers
  2. Identify our own weak spots
  3. Relate to new players on the scene
  4. Set humanitarian standards for everyone
  5. Look out for all your staff
  6. Ask what value you bring
  7. Know the risks of working with certain donors
  8. Understand the ‘guys with guns’
  9. Accept that we aren’t politically neutral
  10. Use drones for good
  11. Leave security to the soldiers
  12. Set a clear point of exit
  13. Recognize that working with the private sector may bring greater risks
  14. Better aid will keep us safe

There are 130 million people that need help now so we need to balance keeping our aid workers safe and providing support to those in need.

While I don’t feel the calling to be a full time Humanitarian Aid Worker, I still get extremely frustrated over the time it takes – a snail’s pace – to get help to people in need.

Since I don’t have a bajillion dollars and it takes much more than money to solve these issues, I try to resolve to leave the big decision-making and actionable steps up to those that are most influential. I say “I try” because my heart is still substantially weighted and aching for those that are suffering. For me it helps my heart and mind to get involved where and when I can, which is on a local level in my own community.

You don’t have to work full-time as a humanitarian to make someone else’s life better. My coworker volunteers every Saturday morning at one of the local hospitals to cuddle and rock babies that were born premature. The mothers will never meet her to express appreciation and the babies will never remember her but she provides a soothing and calming human touch that is desperately needed for their growth so they can go home to their families sooner.

Photo Credit: Kye R. Lee – Staff Photographer with Dallas News.

Whether you have extra time to give each week or each month, below are examples that will make a positive difference in someone’s life:

  1. Visit someone in the hospital, nursing home or an elderly person in their home. This can be very lonely to those who do not have family or visitors to provide encouragement or comfort when they are in these situations. Many times bringing a calm dog (get permission from staff in advance), reading part of a book, providing a magazine – even if it is used, playing cards or simply visiting and chatting for a few minutes will make a big difference in someone’s life.
  2. Help the homeless by calling a local shelter to find out their needs. When I worked at a women’s shelter we would get a few calls from people that wanted to know what we needed but only had time to give. I would arrange for them to come in to make a nutritious meal with the women. This was beneficial for both the women that lived there and those that volunteered their time. The women would receive education on preparing nutritious, well balanced meals and have normal conversations with other adults. Many of the residents had addictions so having conversations and sharing about themselves was great practice and at times mentorships would develop. Another group saved hotel shampoos, toothbrushes and toothpaste and would package them up in a gift box with a note of encouragement for each new resident.
  3. Mow the yard, buy a bag of groceries or shovel snow for a single parent or elderly person. Single parents are sometimes stretched to the limit with the amount of responsibilities they have. A small gesture such as these take a huge load off their plate to be able to do something else that is needed. Without a doubt, you’ll lift their spirits. Many older individuals want to stay in their homes as long as possible and can do yard chores but may be limited somewhat. Every once in a while, one of my mom’s neighbors snow blows her drive during the winter. I know personally how much this helps and means to her.
  4. Provide a meal to a new parent or someone who is sick or recovering from surgery. Being a new parent, having a sickness or recovering from surgery can be very overwhelming where just taking a shower is difficult, let alone preparing a meal. Yet a nutritious meal is what they need to give them energy and get better. As you are preparing a casserole or pasta dish for you family, double it so that it doesn’t take that much extra time. Add a vegetable and fruit and viola… you have a gourmet meal to provide! Prior to visiting my aunt and uncle before he passed away from a terminal disease, I would stop by the grocery store, get groceries for my family and buy extra fresh fruit to leave at their house. I would write a bible verse on a 3×5 card and drop it in the bag. When I would return, the bible verses would be taped next to his bed and the fruit would be gone.

In all of these situations, you will put a smile on someone’s face, including yours, and more than likely inspire others to do the same for someone else.

If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing nothing for nobody.”

Malcom Bane

Interested in being ONE person that makes a difference with homelessness, disaster relief, refugee housing?

  1. Organizations, groups and churches of all sizes can help Abod Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support.
  2. College Students can help Abod Shelters spread the word on campus or bringing a campaign to your university.
  3. Through Partnering with companies and individuals who share our passion, we can provide homes to everyone in need.

Del Cramer Campus through Blessman Ministries. A small Abod Shelters Village is in the background where grannies live with their grandchildren and other children they care for.

One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2016. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

One Humanity: What Can You Do to Make Someone’s Life Better?
read more

Feeling Joyful: A Proven Result of Giving Back

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director Ginny@abodshelters.com

Want a Lift? Feeling joyful is a proven result of giving back. As with all things in life, time passes quickly and good intentions often remain just that without an actionable plan. Giving back has to be adopted as a life plan – and joy will follow. I’m sharing this ‘giving back’ life plan with two thoughts in mind:
1. If you are like me, you may be looking over your shoulder thinking “where did the last six months go?” As we move into the remaining days of 2016 it is timely to reflect on our state of affairs
2. With a clearer understanding of where we have been, we may look forward to identifying how we can amp up giving during the upcoming holidays.

Here is some food for thought: Have you considered how various forms of giving back benefits your level of joy? Read to the end to uncover the pearls of wisdom.

One of my favorites topics to discuss with Abōd Shelters® Foundation’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, Doug Vander Weide, is how to cultivate more joy in life.

Doug is a man of purpose and character with a range of successful clients that includes professional athletes. In a world of bad characters, Doug is one of the white hats with a fully developed life as he cultivates the vital dimensions of what he calls a ‘wealthy lifestyle.’ For him it’s about living through your values – not feeling rich because of accumulating wealth. It’s about feeling wealthy by focusing on making the right lifestyle choices along the journey to financial independence. A big part of living a ‘wealthy living’ is the role of giving back and philanthropy.

In light of a recent conversation I had with Doug about balancing the role of philanthropy in my life, he recommended a book that would allow me to delve deeper into the psychology of joyful living. Having established a successful financial management firm, Valiant Wealth, when Doug offers insight, I listen. The book Doug recommended was, ‘The Thin Green Line, The Money Secrets of the Super Wealthy’ by Paul Sullivan.

I picked up a copy the night before my trip from West Palm Beach, Florida to Los Angeles, California, last week for an important Abōd Shelters® Foundation development meeting with Ty Pennington, our Goodwill Ambassador.  Doug and I met with Ty, and his agent Bill Stankey, to plan an Abōd Shelters®  Village of the Future in eastern AfricaInvesting a portion of my time to help guide Abōd Shelters® efforts to improve shelter conditions for the worlds neediest populations is a passion of mine for very personal reasons. But I wondered how does this work really affect my level of joy or my well-being?  How can others experience this form of joyfulness too?

The author provides a well-researched and personal account that is both readable and informative. Paul Sullivan sheds light on many valuable ways to think about our relationship with money as few others have. He includes the positive impact giving back offers us and how it not only makes us feel good, it actually impacts our financial well-being for the better.

Sullivan highlights many lessons in his book and I wanted to share my favorite one with our Abōd Shelters® followers. Many wealthy people have various reasons for giving, but it is the act itself that makes us feel good. Paul calls these Givers, members of the pure-joy club. I love these words. Their mix of planning to give and spontaneity of giving can serve as a model to others because it can be adapted by people in all income levels. One wealthy couple shared that they never kept track or spent a lot of time planning to have great impact on a cause, they responded to the moment and the authenticity of the need whether big or small. The wisdom is not the amount you give, but that you give. Therein lies the rush of feeling joy.

Furthering this insight is information from the American Enterprise Institute which indicates people who give to charity regularly were generally more affluent, all other things being equal. Also, people who volunteer do better financially. The data showed that people who give to charity are forty-three percent more likely than people who don’t give to say they’re very happy people. If you give blood, you are happier. If you volunteer, you are happier. You cannot find any other service that will make you happier.  The data indicates the positive impact on life is extraordinary.

As we look toward our plans for the holidays, remember the joyful boost you will experience by giving from the heart in various ways. If you are a habitual giver, consider the benefits of being spontaneous or change it up by giving in any way you can to a different need or organization than what you have given before.

If Abōd Shelters® finds its way to your list, we THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts. It will be used to build homes for one of our communities in Africa in January 2017.

Lastly, remember it is not just about giving money, it is about volunteering too.


In heartfelt service,

Ginny Shiverdecker
Executive Director


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Feeling Joyful: A Proven Result of Giving Back
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One Humanity: Have You Ever Heard of the Boy and the Starfish?

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

I am both inspired and deeply saddened by how often individuals feel compelled to set out alone without the best resources, income, skill sets or tools because they recognize helping some is better than helping none. In many cases, they are willing to do so by putting themselves in uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous situations to make things happen.

As Nicholas Kristof wrote in his lengthy article, ‘D.I.Y. Foreign-Aid Revolution’ back in 2010:

“It’s striking that the most innovative activists aren’t necessarily the ones with the most resources or the best tools. If that were true, a team at the World Bank would have addressed the menstruation problem long ago, and G20 countries would be leading the effort to prevent Congolese warlords from monetizing their minerals. Rather, what often happens is that those best positioned to take action look the other way, and then the initiative is taken by the Scharpfs and Shannons (individuals referenced in the article) of the world, who are fueled by some combustible mix of indignation and vision.”

As I was pouring over the countless CNN Heroes nominations starting with the article I wrote last week on Thulandi Madondo, ‘Making a Difference in Kliptown: One Youth at a Time’, I was amazed and excited about how each of these individuals have singularly made a huge impact in the lives of so many all over the world just by recognizing a need, starting small and doing what they could.

Just as the little boy recognized in the story of the starfish…

Individuals may not be able to solve the problem at its root, but by having a heart the size of the world they are taking on the world’s problems – and making an impact – often where large organizations aren’t. Larger organizations often look at whether or not they can save all of the starfish. As a result, no one gets helped.

Take Paula Claussen, who twenty-five years ago took less than a one-hour drive to Mexico to donate clothing and was so shocked by the conditions that she started Project Mercy. The nonprofit has constructed 1250 homes for people in Tijuana.

I think an adequate shelter is a basic human need. Anyone that has a solid shelter over their head has a better chance of achieving a better life.” – Paula Claussen

A decade ago, Maggie Doyne, took a year off after high school and went hiking in northern India. What she witnessed in a war torn Himalayan village changed her future US college years to buying land in Nepal and becoming the mother of 50 children.

When Umra Omar visited her childhood community in the remote area of islands near the Kenya-Somali border she learned about a life-saving medical aid project that had been abandoned because of security reasons. She now helps Safari Doctors provide free basic medical services, including immunizations, maternal health care and treatment for malaria and other common diseases in the region to more than 1000 people a year.

Jeison Aristizábal has been working to change perceptions and give young people with disabilities in Cali, Colombia a brighter future. His nonprofit, ASODISVALLE (an acronym that translates to Association of Disabled People of the Valley), offers a range of services that have helped transform the lives of nearly 3,000 young people and their families — all for free.

These same kindhearted individuals receive criticism because they are said to only being a bandaid and not solving the underlying causes of the problems.

“It’s fair to object that activists like Doyne are accomplishing results that, however noble, are minuscule. Something like 101 million children aren’t attending primary school around the world, so 220 kids in Doyne’s school constitute the teensiest drop in the bucket. The larger problem can be solved only if governments make education a top priority (which they haven’t), just as ending the wars in Congo may require the concerted action of states. Well-meaning individuals like Doyne help at the edges but don’t fundamentally change the nature of the challenge; indeed, charitable construction of schools and hospitals may sometimes free up governments in poor countries to use their money to buy weapons instead.” Nicholas Kristof, ‘D.I.Y. Foreign-Aid Revolution’

But smaller organizations or individuals take a different attitude, they believe even saving one starfish matters. They leave the root of the problem to the big organizations believing that if even one individual receives the care needed to transform their life – it matters. And after experiencing that, who knows what that individual might turn around and do for someone else or even the world?

A lot of the lives that Abōd Shelters® have touched are because their friends, family or their small organizations have gotten together to help one family or one school or one community. For example, we understand that providing just one home for one teacher can make a lasting difference in a community because the lives of hundreds of children will be improved by that one teacher.

Interested in being ONE person that makes a difference with homelessness, disaster relief, refugee housing?

  1. Organizations, groups and churches of all sizes can help Abod Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support.
  2. College Students can help Abod Shelters spread the word on campus or bringing a campaign to your university.
  3. Through Partnering with companies and individuals who share our passion, we can provide homes to everyone in need.

One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2016. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

One Humanity: Have You Ever Heard of the Boy and the Starfish?
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Making a Difference in Kliptown: One Youth At a Time

Cover photo credit: Aurica Hurst, Temple University student

We didn’t want to see other young people going through what we’d gone through: No uniforms … feeling hungry in class,” Madondo said. “We know the problems of this community, but we also know the solutions.”

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

Growing up sharing a toilet with neighbors and bathing out of a bucket is typical for nearly 45,000 people who live in the slums of Kliptown, a district in the largely black township of Soweto near Johannesburg, South Africa. Townships, which are located throughout South Africa, are often underdeveloped urban living areas on the periphery of cities where non-whites were forced to live from the late 19th century until the end of apartheid. Most often, residents do not own the land so houses are built illegally with informal construction which is unregulated by the government.

This results in a lack of the most basic services such as: Sewage, clean water and electricity, which greatly impacts resident’s quality of life.

Thulani Madondo,  30, grew up in Kliptown with 9 siblings. Financial pressure forced all of his older siblings to drop out of school. Madondo was the first member of his family to graduate from high school. He washed cars and worked as a stock boy to earn enough money to stay in school. Ultimately, he couldn’t afford to go to college though.

Not wanting other young children to go through what he went through, he and other Kliptown natives founded Kliptown Youth Program (KYP) in 2007.

Thulani Madondo struggled as a child growing up in the slums of Kliptown, South Africa. Today, his Kliptown Youth Program provides school uniforms, tutoring, meals and activities to 400 children in the community. “We’re trying to give them the sense that everything is possible,” he said.

A tutor works with students in the after-school program. Students and their parents have to sign a contract saying the child will stay in school and attend mandatory tutoring session twice a week; in exchange, KYP agrees to provide uniforms, books and school fees.

The program requires a commitment from its members. Every child must come in with a parent or guardian and sign a contract. Students must agree to stay in school and attend mandatory tutoring sessions twice a week; in exchange, KYP agrees to provide uniforms, books and school fees for any student who cannot afford them.

The formula for making the program work is that they provide tutoring Monday through Thursday and on Fridays and Saturdays students play sports or participate in cultural activities.

There are more than 10,000 children in the community, so working with 400 might seem like nothing,” Madondo said. “But if (they) are dedicated … we can make a difference.”

The organization not only provides a lunch for each child to take to school but a hot meal for when they return. The children have a 30-minute walk to school since there are no schools located in their township. They do have the only library in the community with nearly 300 Internet-accessible laptops. The laptops were donated thanks to the One Laptop per Child non-profit organization that provides the world’s poorest children with access to low powered laptops. Students can borrow these computers for 3 days to practice their computer skills and complete assignments.

I reached out to Mr. Madondo to talk about his successful program and how Abōd Shelters could support their work but didn’t hear back in time for this post.

Abōd Shelters recently posted a blog titled, ‘Heroes of True Character: What Would Mother Teresa Do?’ and in it we ask “Where are our heroes of true character today?” Well, here is one who is making a big impact in the young lives of so many!

For many, it is our past experiences that impacts what we do in our future. Other times it is seeing someone else do something impactful which then motivates us to do something. While we may not be driven to devote our lives full time to doing what Thulani Madondo does on a daily basis, we can still choose to make a difference.

Whether you have extra time to give each week or each month, you have the ability to put a smile on someone’s face, including yours, and more than likely inspire others to do the same for someone else.

Interested in being ONE person that makes a difference with homelessness, disaster relief, refugee housing?

  1. Organizations, groups and churches of all sizes can help Abod Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support.
  2. College Students can help Abod Shelters spread the word on campus or bringing a campaign to your university.
  3. Through Partnering with companies and individuals who share our passion, we can provide homes to everyone in need.

One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Making a Difference in Kliptown: One Youth At a Time
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New Way to Do Good: When Traveling Makes the Journey More Worthwhile

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director Ginny@abodshelters.com

If you’re reading our blog you most likely are a caring soul who look for ways to make a difference both big and small. You then may also enjoy hearing about this latest discovery.

Many of our friends through Abod Shelters travel pretty regularly. Some travel for business, others travel for pleasure and many others go on mission trips with the goal of volunteering their time to do good works in remote places of the world. When you are on the road, there is nothing more important than having safe, comfortable shelter to spend the night. For those who have spent time in third world countries where amenities like electricity, hot water, heat or air conditioning are non-existent, you come to really appreciate all the hotel room details you once took for granted.

Classroom in a remote area of Ghana where Abod homes were built to support a fish farm and house workers and consultants.

Bed provided by World Vision staff with needed mosquito / insect netting in southern Zambia.

Traveling through Asikuma, Ghana where Abod homes were built to be used as birthing and maternity centers.

Traveling is not an easy matter. It starts with the online search which takes more time than it used to. In order to get the best rate, you need to spend time searching several sites. Sometimes it depends on the day that you search. It may seem like a game that the online sites play, but this is just the first step in the journey.

If you’re like me, you look for a good deal to get the best possible hotel room rate. This weekend while reading the New York Times, I came upon an article, ‘Donate to Charity, Get a Hotel Discount’ by Elaine Glusac. It sounded worthy of noting, so I wanted to share it.

If you are driven by finding the deal perhaps there is a new way to approach the pursuit that can make a difference to more than your heart – it can also touch the heart of others in need. 

A new hotel booking website, Kind Traveler aims to link discounted rates to charitable donations. It began in early August with mostly boutique and style-focused hotels in 11 locations in the US, Mexico and the Caribbean. Users who make the minimum donation of $10 a night to a charity through the website will get 10 to 25 percent off published rates.

“Kind Traveler’s mission is to transform travelers into a force that benefits local and global communities, the environment and animals,” said Jessica Blotter, the chief executive and founder of the site.

The hotels select local charities they support. Kind Traveler users can also allocate their donations to go to a dozen global charity partners.  Kind Travelers vets its partner hotels based upon wellness features, sustainability measures and community impact. Charities are organized on their site by the causes they represent. Hotels participating include 1 Hotel South Beach, Virgin Hotels Chicago and the Benjamin in New York which is close to where I used to live in Manhattan.

Kind Travelers founders say the rates are comparable to those at online travel sites. After all, we all know there is wiggle room in the costs.

This certainly sounds worthy of checking out if you are bound for any destination where they have a hotel partner. Perhaps booking through this site will also offer the emotional benefit of an enhanced night sleep knowing you made a difference.

Do you have experience using this site or have others that you feel make a difference and are worthy to share? I would love to hear from you.

There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect with me at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.


In heartfelt service,

Ginny Shiverdecker
Executive Director


New Way to Do Good: When Traveling Makes the Journey More Worthwhile
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One Humanity: Promoting The World Coming Together

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

World Humanitarian Day is held August 19th of every year. It is a day which recognizes and pays tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service. The 2016 Theme was ‘One Humanity’. While it is a day to bring about awareness with events held around the world, there are 130 million people around the world that need humanitarian assistance to survive because of disasters or conflicts. According to the UN Refugee Agency:

We are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. An unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 21.3 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.”

This past World Humanitarian Day highlighted the theme of ‘One Humanity’ by promoting how the world came together in Istanbul around the Agenda for Humanity. The Secretary-General’s Agenda for Humanity is asking global leaders to commit to 5 core responsibilities.

Read the details of the agenda with its objectives for each responsibility in its entirety here. 

  • 5 Core Responsibilities:

    1. Political Leadership to Prevent and End Conflicts
    2. Uphold the Norms that Safeguard Humanity
    3. Leave No One Behind
    4. Change People’s Lives – From Delivering Aid to Ending Need
    5. Invest in Humanity

In addition to calling on leaders of parties, national and community leaders, leaders of businesses and enterprises, young people, leaders of international aid organizations and individual citizens, the Secretary-General calls upon “global leaders to place humanity — the concern for the dignity, safety and well-being of our citizens — at the forefront of all policies, strategies and decision-making. Take more initiative to prevent and end conflicts, putting the appropriate national capacities and resources behind those objectives. Increase the number of staff working on peace, conflict resolution and prevention. Bring other leaders together to find solutions and invest in international cooperation and a stronger United Nations. Stand up for values and respect for the rules that we have agreed upon and show the courage to look beyond short-term election cycles and political mandates. Leaders of the twenty-first century must think beyond borders and national interests.”

With an unprecedented number of people that need help worldwide today, it’s all hands on deck. As a citizen of the world, ‘One Humanity’ includes you. You can be helpful on any level from volunteering in your community to spreading awareness.

The United Nations Office has made it easy to help people understand real scenarios faced by people every day. You can start by taking the following ‘Would you Rather’ quiz: https://worldhumanitarianday.org/. After taking the quiz be sure to share your personalized graphic on social media using the #sharehumanity hashtag.

Interested in being ONE person that helps us make a difference with homelessness, disaster relief, refugee housing?

  1. Organizations, groups and churches of all sizes can help Abod Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support.
  2. College Students can help Abod Shelters spread the word on campus or bringing a campaign to your university.
  3. Through Partnering with companies and individuals who share our passion, we can provide homes to everyone in need.

Refugees at a makeshift camp near the Greek village of Idomeni; thousands are stranded at the Balkan border. Picture: AFP/Getty

One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2016. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

One Humanity: Promoting The World Coming Together
read more