Sparking the Spirit of Giving

Posted by Heifer Sacramento On Monday, March 17, 2014 0 comments
Miss Julia's morning class knows how to give.  And her afternoon class does, too.  Julia Neuhauser teaches two groups of children at the Citrus Heights State Preschool in Citrus Heights (a suburb of Sacramento), California. Both her morning and afternoon preschool classes saved their nickels, dimes and quarters, and each class save enough to each donate a flock of chicks to a family in need in another part of the world. 

Ms. Neuhauser said, "As a preschool classroom, I wanted to do a service project, because I think we need to start very early to build empathy and compassion."  Many families in poverty throughout the world struggle for resources to feed or educate their children.  When Ms. Neuhauser reached out to Heifer International about her preschool projects, she asked for a letter to read to her students to help them understand how, through their gift, they were helping a young child to go to school.  

Heifer was able to one better and sent a local Sacramento Heifer volunteer in Linda Eisenman to visit the classes. Linda presented a certificate of appreciation to each class and brought a small flock of chicks so that the children could see and touch what they have given.  Each flock of chicks the children donate will produce eggs, provide nourishment for families, and provide income so that, yes, the children in the families can go to school. Through "Passing On The Gift," a basic Heifer principle, the first family to receive the chicks will donate a flock of chicks to another family in the community, when offspring hatch from the first flock.  This gift continues and is passed on from family to family throughout the community, until all the children are nourished and incomes become stable to provide an education for all the children in the community.

A spirit of giving. Miss Julia's classes say "Pass it on."

Heifer Appreciation Certificate
Ms. Julia's students holding chicks.

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Rancho Cordova Kiwanis Donates to Heifer

Posted by Heifer Sacramento On Saturday, February 15, 2014 0 comments
Feb. 2014 - The Rancho Cordova Kiwanis Club gave $100 to Heifer International, to celebrate their 70th anniversary and their work worldwide to end hunger and poverty. Kiwanis President John Buescher said, "Heifer International's goals are so similar to our own, and their programs are remarkably effective in lifting entire communities out of poverty." The mission of Kiwanis International is "Serving the Children of the World."

The Rancho Cordova Kiwanis Club has a long history of community involvement. The club founded the 4th of July Parade in Rancho Cordova, supports the Key Club (a youth leadership program at Cordova High School), participates in Kid's Day, provides breakfast at the Capital Airshow, lends support to a local girl scout troop, and supports the Folsom Cordova Unified School District with events throughout the year.

We are proud to have the Rancho Cordova Kiwanis' support in Heifer's work to improve children's lives. Heifer International acts a catalyst to help others help themselves. The donation of livestock improves nutrition for each member of the community, but is especially important to growing children. Income from excess animal products allows families to send children to school, purchase medicines, and save for the future.

Heifer Volunteer Linda Eisenman accepts donation from Kiwanis President John Buescher
2014 is Heifer International's 70th year in lifting families out of hunger and poverty while caring for the earth. Heifer's work has grown to benefit 20.7 million families in 40 countries. Stay tuned. This fall Heifer Sacramento will be holding a community celebration of Heifer International's 70th year.

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Passing on Gifts to Honor Generosity

Posted by Heifer Sacramento On Friday, January 10, 2014 0 comments
Passing on The Gift© is far more than a handy catch phrase for Heifer International. It represents success of a family moving from recipient to donor, hope for a family to gain a sustainable livelihood, and continuation of the circle of lifting families up from hunger and poverty.  Heifer Sacramento had the opportunity to pass on a gift to acknowledge seven dedicated congregations in the Sacramento region that have provided exemplary support to Heifer International year-after-year. These seven congregations were chosen to receive Betty LaDuke artprints as gifts from Heifer International and Ms. LaDuke for their steadfast generosity and support of Heifer’s work. Presentations have been made to Carmichael Presbyterian Church, Fremont Presbyterian Church, and St. John’s Lutheran Church.

Pastor Ivan and Ms. Maria Segur with the Carmichael Presbyterian Church

 Amanda Jantz with the Fremont Presbyterian Church
Ms. LaDuke is a world renowned artist based in Ashland, Oregon. In her many trips to Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe with Heifer International, Ms. LaDuke has created body of work that embraces cultural understanding throughout the globe. Her work captures the hardships, beauty, and dignity of the people that Heifer International helps. 

Congratulations and Thank You to the dedicated congregations of Carmichael Presbyterian Church, Fremont Presbyterian Church, and St. John’s Lutheran Church for all you do to help lift lives around the world!

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Caroling for Cows Returns to Woodlake

Posted by Heifer Sacramento On Thursday, January 09, 2014 0 comments
Neighbors and Heifer volunteers got together and sang holiday songs on a Friday evening (December 20th) in the Sacramento neighborhood of Woodlake. Starting at the Woodlake Swim Club, the group of 20 caroled for about an hour. Heifer friend Angela James brought bells and small instruments to accompany the caroling. We sang with gusto such familiar tunes as Frosty the snowman, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer and Winter Wonderland

In the spirit of the holidays, participants and neighbors made donations to Heifer International. For 70 years Heifer International has successfully worked to end poverty while caring for the earth. With extensive training, 20 million families have become self- reliant throughout the. Women become empowered and children have the opportunity to go to school.

Caroling for Cows 2013!
The carolers collected enough donations for a goat! The spirit of goodwill again returned to Woodlake!

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Social Capital Helps Ecuadorian Fishermen Achieve Collective Vision

Posted by Heifer Sacramento On Sunday, November 24, 2013 0 comments
This is one in a series of articles contributed by Heifer Sacramento volunteers reflecting on their experiences from visiting Heifer Ecuador projects in 2013. 

The 2013 Project Visit to Ecuador was rich and multi-faceted. It provided our volunteer visitors profound experiences, insights, and inspiration.  One theme that stood out for me, common to all three projects we visited, was that of social capital-- one of the five components of Heifer’s newly developed theory of change. Pierre Ferrari, Heifer president and CEO, writes that the World Bank defines social capital as ‘institutions, relationships, and norms that shape the quality and quantity of a society's social interactions.’ Through the impact of social capital, Heifer project participants are able to have sustainable development and prosper economically. I’d like to share my experiences that exemplify this idea with reference to The Artisanal Fishing Project, the first stop on our tour.  (Italicized items reference components of social capital.)
For generations, thousands of families in and around Puerto Bolivar, a town located on the Pacific Coast near Machala, Ecuador, have derived their sustenance and livelihood from fishing the waters of this beautiful port surrounded and protected by mangroves.  In modern times, their way of life has become more difficult in several ways.  For one, the resource poor fishermen require loans to outfit themselves for fishing. But they can only qualify for loans at high interest from lenders, who act as predatory middlemen, that require the fishermen to sell their catch to them at lower than wholesale prices.  For another, large-scale fishing corporations, whose boats are supposed to remain eight miles off shore, routinely encroach on the supposedly protected artisanal fishing grounds, causing a decline in the fishery.  If that weren’t enough, the small scale fishermen even have to deal with incidences of piracy.
Ecuadorian artisanal fishermen cast nets with high hopes for sustaining their way of life.
Heifer is supporting the development of collaboratives of fishermen and their families to encourage collective action along with fairness and equality of access for the resources they have traditionally depended on for food security and income.  We learned of an ingenious approach whereby Heifer has provided seed money administered by the local Movimiento de Mujeres de El Oro, to support the empowerment and social inclusion of women in the community as full participants in the Artisanal Fishing Collaboratives. These women-- wives, mothers and daughters of the fishermen-- have chosen to use grant funds to provide low interest loans to fishermen within the organization to purchase needed equipment and supplies. Provision and repayment of these loans is a seen as a viable expression of the Heifer cornerstone value of passing on the gift. As loans are repaid, additional fishermen can access resources and new members can enter the collaborative and, in the long run, new collaboratives can be formed.
The collective has also chosen to use funds to construct a pier and adjoining meeting facility. The overarching goal is to promote community organization and solidarity in working to achieve direct access to the market and fair prices for the catch with the eventual elimination of the middlemen. Objectives to reach this goal include fostering a collective voice to influence local government, holding commercial interests accountable to the letter of the law, and promoting the health of the fishery and mangrove forest.
Our experience with the fishermen was definitely hands on; in fact it was 'all hands on deck.' The Heifer volunteers joined two-man crews on their small boats for a day of fishing.  In between casting and placement of the 1,000 meter nets and hauling in the catch (given a bit of good luck), our crew, Hector and Umberto, told us about decreased catches, piracy, concern for the health of the mangroves with their importance to the ecosystem and expressed antipathy for the middlemen with colorful adjectives. In spite of these challenges, the men had high hopes from their participation in the collaborative.
Celebrating the gift of life one fish at a time.
Following our day of fishing, the community hosted a celebration complete with delicious food and dancing, which was preceded by formal expressions of gratitude and dedication to a vision for a brighter future. Marlena Flores, a primary organizer of this event, made an eloquent speech that touched me deeply. She said that before her involvement in the collaborative she was treated more like a maid rather than a wife and a woman with a say in her life, and that was how she saw herself. Now, after two years with the collaborative, she sees herself and is seen as a valued member of her family and community and knows that her efforts can make a difference in fostering and sustaining healthier, happier lives for all.
“Social Capital” is an abstract concept, but essentially, it references a collective vision, along with new beliefs and ways of thinking and acting that make change possible. Combine that with solutions, systems and structures created through interdependence and synergy, add ongoing support from Heifer’s 12 cornerstone-based training and education, and you have a recipe for an improved standard of living within stronger and more vibrant communities. – John Brewer

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Heifer in Sacramento is a grassroots volunteer group in Northern California, with a common goal of fulfilling Heifer International's basic mission - "To end hunger and save the earth by passing on the gift to others." We are an extension of Heifer International and together we are improving our world and the lives of resource-poor families while building the foundation for a peaceful world in practical, down-to-earth ways.