Category Archives: Volunteer Projects

Latter-day Saint Missionaries Return from Senior Mission

Senior Mission
Jeffrey & Kathleen Bradshaw

Jeffrey and Kathleen Bradshaw interview upon return from two year senior mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to The Democratic Republic of Congo, June 25, 2018.

The Lord’s work continues around the world. There is a great need for missionaries. The influence you make in the lives of others will extend for more than your life-time. Learn more here.

Senior Mission
Community welcome home dinner

Couple Returns from Mission to Democratic Republic of Congo

Former Pace, FL residents, Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and his wife, Kathleen, have spent the last two years serving in the Mission office for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa. They lived in an apartment within walking distance of the mission office, paid all their living expenses and had a full-time work schedule. 

Senior Mission Assignments

Elder Bradshaw worked as the financial secretary handling the day to day expenses of the mission. Sister Bradshaw worked with the young full-time missionaries, women and men, serving in the Kinshasa region. Her tasks involved arranging travel, Visas and monthly supplies for them. When on missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, missionaries have the Sabbath day for attending church services and a personal day each week.

Senior Mission

Working closely with the younger missionaries, the Bradshaws spent many of their personal days visiting the young missionaries. They made  sure the young sisters and elders had plenty of charcoal for outdoor cooking, and Books of Mormon, among other things. The young missionaries come from Europe and other countries within the African continent. Making arrangements can become very complicated when they are coming to DR Congo or returning home. Sometimes there may be political unrest in an area between where they were serving and where their home is. The Church takes great care to keep all their missionaries safe.

Senior Mission

In addition to their office assignments in the mission, they also had the opportunity to gather information for oral history of church members and family history of some of the village chiefs in the area. On one such trip, the village chief could only remember back to his grand parents. He needed to rely on other village elders for help.

Church History

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been in DR Congo since 1986, There are over 60,000 members. About half of these members are men who are long term, active members. Missionaries are baptizing between one hundred sixty-five and one hundred eighty-five members per month. Churches are growing rapidly there and the need for missionaries is great in this region of Africa.

Senior Mission
Baptism class

The city of Kinshasa has about 15 million inhabitants. They have life styles from living in a tin-roofed shack with no electricity or running water to apartments and homes with modern conveniences. There is enough enthusiasm about The Church that a temple is being built in the city. Since the time of Solomon, temples have had the same purposes, including bringing people closer to God.

Holy Temples

Holy temples are as necessary today as they were anciently when they served as sacred locations to make covenants, perform holy ordinances, and to be taught by God. Today in over 140 temples worldwide, Mormons do those same things. In these temples, faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints find opportunities for peaceful reflection and for learning more about God’s plan of happiness for His children.

Every person who has lived on the earth is entitled to the opportunity to receive the blessings of eternal life and eternal family relations. Through the power of the priesthood, members are married for time and eternity. They perform proxy baptisms for their ancestors who died without enjoying the blessings of this saving ordinance.

Senior Mission
Kinshasa Temple in progress

“Our apartment was right across the street from where the new temple is being built,” said Elder Bradshaw.  “We got to see daily progress.”

“The people there are very friendly. We felt very safe while we were on our senior mission,” said Sister Bradshaw. “And there were children, lots of children. They are darling. Most families have very little. Families are precious to them.”

Senior Mission

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Rotary Tree of Remembrance 2017

Rotary Tree of Remembrance 2017

The Rotary Tree of Remembrance was on display during December 2017 in Pensacola, Fl.’s Cordova mall. The tree provided shoppers an opportunity to remember loved ones by placing a yellow ribbon on it. In addition to placing a yellow ribbon, mall visitors could also make a contribution to six children’s charities. They are Gulf Coast Kid’s House, The Studer Children’s Hospital of Sacred Heart, Simon Youth Foundation, Covenant Care Hospice, and Rotary Camp Florida.

In it’s fifth year, the opening ceremony recognized our local Pearl Harbor Survivors, Frank Emond and William Braddock, as honored guests. The Tate High School Chorus, directed by Cynthia Domulot, entertained attendees with a series of holiday themed musical numbers.

Rotary Tree of Remembrance

Rotary members from the CROP (Combined Rotary of Pensacola) and volunteers from the recipient charities manned the tree during shopping hours.

Donations collected totaled over $4,800.00. Checks were presented at the January 11th morning meeting of the Cordova Rotary Club.

Rotary Representatives, Carl Bachman and Robin Foley present donation check to Stacey Kostevicki, Executive Director of Gulf Coast Kid’s House.

 

Rotary Tree of Remembrance
Adrienne Maygarden accepts donation on behalf of The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart

 

Rotary Tree of Remembrance
Christie Parker, Aaron West and Odin Berg receive donation to Covenant Care Hospice.

 

Tree of Remembrance
Elaine Sites and Annette Massicotte received check for Reading is Fundamental Pensacola.

 

Rotary Tree of Remembrance
Robin Foley accepts donation to Rotary Camp Florida.

 

Tree of Remembrance
Group of donation recipients.

 

Following these presentations, Billie and Robert Nicholson of Rusty Buggy Enterprises were recognized for their media support for the past five years.

Tree of Remembrance
Billie and Robert Nicholson of RustyBuggy.com
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Stronger Communities – One Volunteer At A Time

Volunteer
Photos by Robert Nicholson

Somewhere, in a neighborhood, the sounds of hammer and saw waft through the air. By following the sounds of construction one finds a new home taking shape. Not any new home, but a Habitat for Humanity home complete with many service opportunities during construction. Dozens of volunteer builders converge their individual efforts into a symphony of service, resulting in a finished masterpiece.

Volunteer

Pensacola Habitat for Humanity

Pensacola Habitat for Humanity, is a non-profit, ecumenical, Christian ministry. They have provided over 1,300 homes during the last 35 years in Northwest Florida. Homes are priced at the cost of construction and come with interest free financing.

Volunteer

The community supports habitat in many ways. Volunteers come from all walks of life. During a Wednesday visit I encountered young and older volunteers of all faiths working side by side. Volunteers from Temple Beth-El of Pensacola climbed ladders and layed tarpaper. There were Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints driving nails and installing supports. Some volunteers came alone – to just serve. When lunch was called, the members of Saint Paul Lutheran Church, ELCA of Pensacola donated and served a hardy meal. People of all faiths pitched in with support for each other to create something wonderful.

Volunteer

Volunteer

When the service bug hits you, there is a handy way to find out where you are needed. Simply go to www.JustServe.org to make a difference in your community.

Volunteer

Latter-day Saint Missionary, Sister Morgen Mantlo said, “I love being a volunteer at Habitat. This kind of volunteerism brings lasting satisfaction. The service ethic is one that is handed down through generations.”

Volunteer

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Baking the World a Better Place

Baking the World a Better Place

Baking the World a Better Place

This month, women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are celebrating the 175th anniversary of the, the Relief Society, the oldest and largest women’s organization in the world. Rather than a church-wide “event,” Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, encouraged the Relief Society’s more than 7 million members to remember the milestone during meetings in their local congregations.

Women in Pensacola’s congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints celebrated the event by “Baking the World a Better Place.” 16 ladies got together with sugar, flour, shortening, apples and spices to make apple pies. In today’s world, it is often easier and certainly quicker to stop by the local grocery store to make a selection. Making pies from scratch is a project that requires talent, a desire to serve, and a lot of patience.

Event leader, Vicky Garrett, arranged for the ingredients, some of which came from members’ “food storage”, mixing bowls, measuring tools, rolling pins, pie pans and apple peelers. “The plan was to make service pies,” she said. Members and guests worked together to mix the pastry ingredients and roll out the dough. “We had to be careful not to over work the flour and shortening mixture to assure a tender crust.”

Once the pastry was placed in the pans, other women filled the shell with apples, flour, sugar and cinnamon. The final group applied the top layer of pastry, cutting special shapes for decorating, applying an egg wash, and then monitoring the baking time.

Baking the World a Better Place

Service to Others

While the pies baked, members had a discussion of the importance of serving in families, communities and the world. The Relief society purposes document states “Relief Society helps prepare women for the blessings of eternal life as they increase faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His Atonement; strengthen individuals, families, and homes through ordinances and covenants; and work in unity to help those in need.”

The last part of the event was a drawing for the pies. The winners were challenged to find someone who should receive the pies. Recipients included a widow, a lady who had surgery, and a family packing to leave the area.

A ukulele group member, who is a single woman and lives alone, received one of the pies. She shared it when the group went to lunch together following a practice session. She asked the waitress for a to-go box for the one remaining piece. Then she gave the waitress the last slice of the pie.

Another pie was delivered to two brothers who care for their 96 year old mom. “It was yummy,” they said.

The Pensacola, Florida Relief Society sisters are baking the world a better place and brightening the lives of others, one pie at a time.

Baking the World a Better Place
Photos by Vicky Bright Garrett

 

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Days for Girls Feminine Hygiene Kits Completed

Women from the Pensacola Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are proud to be a part of making feminine hygiene kits for women and girls in need through www.DaysForGirls.org.

Young women and girls in developing countries may not have access to sanitary feminine hygiene products to use during their monthly menstrual periods. What if not having sanitary supplies meant missing days from school or days of isolation? Many girls have to make do with leaves, mattress stuffing, newspaper, corn husks or whatever else they can find, but still miss up to two months of education and opportunities every school year. Over time, this missed education perpetuates poverty in their lives.

Be an Instrument for Change in the World

Women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Pensacola, Florida, accepted the challenge to be an instrument for social change for women all over the world. When they learned that hygiene items they have used for years were not available in other places, they selected a service project to create reuseable sanitary feminine hygiene kits working with the Days for Girls, an organization set up to organize volunteer seamstresses.

Sewers created the three basic parts in the hygiene kits  from patterns developed by this international organization. The parts include flannel inserts to absorb menstrual flow. These liners are made from flannel serged around the edges to prevent fraying and include an additional center strip for extra absorbancy. These are placed into shields which snap through the legs of under panties.

feminine hygiene
photo by: Billie Nicholson

Shields are made from colorful 100% cotton fabric and contain a waterproof liner stitched inside. They have end pockets to hold the liners in place. Darker colors are preferred because they camouflage blood stains. When they are  not in use, they can all be stored in drawstring fabric bags.

Feminine Hygiene
photo by: Robert Nicholson

Making Feminine Hygiene Kits

The first evening, thirty ladies got together from four different church congregations. Enthusiasm for the project spread throughout the area. During the summer and fall, work groups met monthly  at five locations across the Florida Panhandle. As the project continued, unfinished items moved from work group to work group. The project included school age girls to grandmothers . Even  non-sewers could help by cutting patterns, ironing and turning parts inside out was .

Feminine Hygiene
Photo by: Billie NIcholson

Work sessions were scheduled and announced on social media as well as the volunteer service website, JustServe.org. This free website allows organizations to post upcoming projects and the number of volunteers needed. It provides a place for workers to sign up and communicate with the organization as well as collects metrics on how many volunteer hours were donated.

Completed Feminine Hygiene Kits

Completed kits include the three sewn parts as well as panties, soap, Ziplock bags for storing and washing soiled items. The kits also include health and hygiene information.

How did the Pensacola group do? At last count, the group had completed:
749 flannel liners
351 shields and
294 drawstring bags.

What kind of influence do these kits have? They help girls stay in school, strengthen confidence and support healthy communities.

What difference do they make? After distribution, school absences dropped from 25% to 3% in Uganda. In Kenya they dropped from 36% to 8%. In general, women menstruate 60 days or 2 months a year. Days for Girls feminine hygiene kits are designed to last 2-4 years. Imagine earning back 240 days of opportunity.

Since their establishment, Days for Girls has developed a global network of over 780 chapters and teams, companies, governments, and non-government organizations in over 100 countries.

In addition to organizing volunteer seamstresses around the world, currently, they are also running micro-enterprises for women’s groups in under developed countries to make these kits and provide for women in their communities.

They are working to help girls gain access to quality sustainable feminine hygiene, vital health knowledge, and income generation opportunities.

In conclusion, working on this project, women across the Florida Panhandle have come together to serve women in other parts of the world. They remember, “when you are in service to your fellow man, you are in the service of your God.”

For additional information on this project, contact www.DaysforGirls.org.

For additional local projects in which you can volunteer, visit: www.JustServe.org. You’ll be glad you did.

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2016 Rotary Tree of Remembrance a Big Success

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The Fourth Annual Rotary Tree of Remembrance was on display at Cordova Mall in Pensacola from Sunday December 4 through Tuesday, December 27, 2016. Pensacola Cordova Rotary, Rotary E-Club of the Southeast USA & Caribbean,  sponsored the Rotary Tree of Remembrance at Cordova Mall, located at 5100 N. 9th Avenue in Pensacola, FL. Local Combined Rotary Clubs of Greater Pensacola members served as volunteers during shopping hours at the mall to share the purpose of the tree.

The opening ceremony, held outside Dillard’s entrance at 3:00 PM on Sunday, December 4th, included entertainment by the Tate High School Choral Group, under the direction of Cynthia Domulot.

Tree of Remembrance
Photo by: RustyBuggy.com

An observance of the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day, the Japanese attack that resulted in the US entering World War II was included. Lt. Col. Cass Phillips, USN (ret.) represented our local Pearl Harbor survivors.

“I am really proud to be in this place with our local Pearl Harbor survivor, Cass Phillips,” said Mayor Ashton Hayward. LCdr Phillips was among many who filled out ribbons of remembrance for the tree.

Tree of Remembrance
photo by: RustyBuggy.com
Tree of Remembrance
Photo by: RustyBuggy.com

Tree of Remembrance Touches Hearts

Holiday shoppers’ hearts were touched as they stopped to remember loved ones and place gold ribbons on the tree.  “This is an opportunity to extend the spirit of holiday giving by making a contribution to local youth organizations,” said Dave Reed, Pensacola North Rotary member. This year’s contributions totaled $11,023.00. Checks were presented to recipients at the Januart 5th meeting of the Cordova Rotary.

Tree of Remembrance
Photo by: RustyBuggy.com

Donation Beneficiaries

Tree of Remembrance
Photo by: RustyBuggy.com

Donation beneficiaries include Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart, Gulf Coast Kid’s House, Simon Youth Foundation, Rotary’s Camp Florida, Covenant Hospice and Reading is Fundamental Pensacola.

Rotary participants from:
Pensacola Cordova
E-Club of Southeast USA & Carribbean
Cantonment
Five Flags
Gulf Breeze
Milton
Pace
Pensacola North
Pensacola
Perdido Key
Seville
SubWest
spent many hours at the tree assisting shoppers as they placed ribbons on the tree. Over a 1,000 ribbons were placed on this year’s tree.

Tree of Remembrance
Photo by: Robin Foley

Students from Interact Pace High School, Interact  Gulf Breeze High School
Rotaract from University of West Florida & Pensacola Rotaract also volunteered to work at the tree.

A special thanks to volunteers from Naval Air Station Technical Training Command (NATTC) Pensacola, who manned the tree during it’s first week.

After the holidays, Scouts will retire the ribbons placed on the Tree of Remembrance at the Boy Scouts’ annual U.S. Flag Retirement Ceremony. This service will be scheduled for later in the year.

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Making Feminine Hygiene Kits – A Project for Everyone

Girls in developing countries around the world suffer indignities, infection and even exploitation during the menstrual flow times of their life. Without sanitary supplies contained in feminine hygiene kits, girls and young women miss days from school and have their ability to work impacted. Without pads, they may have to use rags, mattress stuffing, banana leaves, feathers, and cow dung to manage their menstruation.

Often girls miss several days of school each month impacting their education and perpetuating poverty in their lives. In Uganda, where the feminine hygiene kits have been introduced, the school absenteeism has dropped from 36% to 8% in Uganda. Schools in Kenya have reported a change from 25% to 3% .

feminine hygiene kits
Days for Girls

Making Feminine Hygiene Kits for Days for Girls

Days for Girls International is a grassroots 501(c)3 non-profit. Women, and girls discover their potential and self-value, are equal participants and agents of social change. They have opportunities to thrive, grow and contribute to their community’s betterment while ensuring quality sustainable feminine hygiene. Their mission is to create a more dignified, free and educated world through access to lasting feminine hygiene solutions and health awareness.

The Pensacola congregation, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ladies service organization President, Billie Nicholson, said, “Julia Gibson, from Gulf Breeze, FL introduced this program during a church women’s group meeting. She explained how women  in developing  countries have unhealthy feminine hygiene. Many of us were aghast. We had no idea that items we have used each month for years were not available other places.”

Then she told of the international project, Days for Girls,  created to organize volunteers to sew feminine hygiene kits. Julia described how excited young ladies are when they receive the kits. They  are also taught ways to care for the reusable kits so they will last for several years. Following our meeting, many women  wanted to know how to be a part of this sewing project. (Picture chickens chasing June bugs.)
“The excitement was contagious,” Nicholson said.

Work Events Planned

One of our members, Wendi Mihalik, contacted representatives of Days for Girls to get details on how to get started. She learned what types of fabric were needed and how to order some hard-to-get supplies. Within a few days, we scheduled a work event. We posted the project  on  the community service website, www.JustServe.org and on social media pages that were shared over and over. The night of our event, we had thirty women from four different Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Wards show up. Women and young girls  cut patterns and fabric. They serged, ironed, and sewed items to create  components of the  feminine hygiene kits.

Days for Girls, Int’l. has designed reusable pads, shields and drawstring bags, which can be sewn by volunteers. They are part of kits that also contain panties, soap and plastic bags for washing them. The kits also include health and hygiene information. Workers inspect each item for quality of construction.

Work Events Go Viral

Needless to say, we didn’t finish that first night.  We scheduled a second event  for the following Saturday. That allowed us time to complete 34 shields and many reusable pads. Some women took drawstring bag sets home to continue working on their own. It didn’t stop there. The desire to work on this project has spread to five more church wards in our Stake (regional organization). Navarre, Fl Ward has a meeting planned Thursday July 21 and Milton Ward is having a meeting on August 25.

Feminine Hygiene Kits Final Destination

As we work together, we take unfinished items from one group to the next. Some of the kits are already on their way to a Days for Girls Uganda chapter in Orem, Utah.

The Pensacola stake sisters finished the following items to send—
59 bags
41 shields
345 liners

We will send more completed kits in November. Working on this project, women across the Florida Panhandle have come together to serve women in other parts of the world.

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