Centering Moment: Act with Integrity

On behalf of the entire Spiritual Life Team, I invite you to spend a few moments in intentional positive thinking.

We have completed one quarter (10 days) of our commitment to 40 Days of Positive Actions!

Thank you for striving with us in this journey.  I am grateful for each one of you.

How are you doing with daily acts of gratitude, kindness and positive thinking?  I hope that you are noticing some changes in yourself.  Perhaps you are like me and have experienced some challenges to focusing on being positive.

At times, I am sure that we all have lost focus.  When this happens, gently direct your attention back to the positive.  Remember that the more time you spend in positive thinking, the more positive your thinking will be.  In addition, your individual positivity makes a difference for our community.

Our theme for this coming week is based on BCC’s second core value:

Act with Integrity.

We also suggest the action theme of Be Honest.

Integrity is compromised of honesty but also truth, congruity, sincerity, and consistency.  It requires ethics, thoughtfulness, intentionality, principles, coherence and moral rightness.

How would you define or describe integrity?

Consider some of these quotes.

Integrity is doing the right thing even when it is difficult. Anonymous

Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not. Oprah Winfrey

Integrity, the choice between what’s convenient and what’s right. Tony Dungy

Have the courage to say no.  Have the courage to face the truth.  Do the right thing because it is right.  These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity. W. Clement Stone

I believe that we live with integrity when our beliefs, words and actions are congruent with who we say we are and who we are in actuality.

Integrity is the difference between just “talking the talk” and “walking the walk.”

I asked a group of our youth to define integrity.  Here was one answer:  “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching and holding yourself accountable when you don’t do the right thing.”

Let’s hold each other accountable with our commitment to positive actions today and this week.

I am grateful for these moments of centering and for your participation.

 

If you would like some scriptures to consider, please continue reading.

The integrity of the honest keeps them on track. Proverbs 11:3a (The Message)

May integrity and honesty protect me for I put my hope in you. Psalm 25:21 (New Living Translation)

Observe those who have integrity and watch those whose heart is right because the future belongs to persons of peace. Psalm 37:37 (Common English Bible)

And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter.  Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right.  Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:8-9

 

When we live and act with integrity, we will have peace.

Blessings on our week ahead –

Stacey

 

Rev. Stacey Nickerson
Director of Church and Community Engagement
Board Of Child Care of The United Methodist Church, Inc.
3300 Gaither Road
Baltimore, MD 21244
(443) 845-4388
snickerson@boardofchildcare.org

Enriching communities, one family at a time.

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I make a commitment to strive for positivity in my life for the next 40 days

Welcome to the first week of 40 Days of Positive Actions and Thoughts!

On Wednesday, everyone in our BCC community was invited to take this pledge:

I make a commitment to strive for positivity in my life for the next 40 days.
I will practice being kind to others as well as to myself.

We begin our positive actions with taking care of ourselves and making sure that we are safe.  I once heard that people training to become Buddhist monks spend the first year of their training learning how to be compassionate with themselves.  In order to care for others effectively, we must first care for ourselves.

Where are you in making yourself a priority?  How do you care for yourself as a whole person – physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually, intellectually?

How can you practice being kind to yourself?

In terms of our BCC core values, safety is first.  Safety is our mindset at all times and in all situations.  We work in a trauma-informed way to prepare our environment, ourselves and others.  What can you do this day to help yourself and others be safe?

You can act on increasing your safety and the safety of others wherever you are.  Each one of us impacts the overall environment and we can contribute positively to the safety of our BCC community.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • check around for items that might be a threat to someone’s safety such as a sharp item discarded on the sidewalk
  • deepen trust in your therapeutic relationships
  • introduce yourself to a visitor or a staff/youth you do not know
  • plan for an emergency
  • help a child or young person to talk about how they can contract for safety for themselves

“At the end of the day, the goals are simple:  safety and security.”  -Jodi Rell

Thank you for taking a moment to reflect with me on positivity, particularly in terms of self-care and safety.

For those of you who would like some religious resources, read on for selected scripture verses in the Judeo-Christian traditions.

The most ancient God is a place of safety; the eternal arms are a support. Deuteronomy 33:27

My God is my rock, in whom I find protection.  God is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.  God is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. 2 Samuel 22:3

I will lie down and fall asleep in peace because you alone, God, let me live in safety. Psalm 4:8

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.  God is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. Psalm 18:2

No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.  My body rests in safety. Psalm 16:9

God’s name is a place of protection – good people can run there and be safe. Proverbs 18:10

You can go to God Most High to hide.  You can go to God All-Powerful for protection.  I say to God, “You are my place of safety, my fortress.  My God, I trust in you.” Psalm 91:1-2

As appropriate, I encourage to discuss images of God that help us feel safe and secure in our relationship with God.  The scriptures give us many starting points for discussion.

May we work together with God’s blessing to increase our sense of safety as individuals and as a community.  May we be kind to ourselves and then extend that kindness to others.

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Washington DC, Mayor Mayor Bowser selects the Board of Child Care’s Early Learning Program in Ward 6 to highlight two tax credits – the Early Learning Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

Mayor Bowser giving press conference

Monday, March 4, 2019

(Washington, DC) – Today, at Board of Child Care in Ward 6, Mayor Muriel Bowser highlighted two tax credits – the Early Learning Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – that can save District families thousands of dollars during tax season.

“Eligible Washingtonians can put thousands of dollars in their pockets through the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Early Learning Tax Credit; but to get the money, residents must know about these credits and claim them,” said Mayor Bowser. “We created the Early Learning Tax Credit as a way of making early child care more affordable for District families. Now, we want to make sure families know about it and are claiming it.”

In last year’s budget, Mayor Bowser created the Early Learning Tax Credit to make child care more affordable for District families. Through the Early Learning Tax Credit, families with children enrolled in a licensed DC child care facility can receive a tax credit of up to $1,000 per eligible child. An eligible child must be a dependent of the taxpayer and meet the following age requirements: a child under the age of 4 (age 0-3) as of December 31, 2018 or a child who reached the age of 4 between October 1 and December 31, 2018.

Additionally, low-income working families are eligible for up to $9,000 in combined District and federal EITCs. In 2018, 25 million workers received more than $63 billion in EITC refunds nationwide. In the District of Columbia, 50,000 workers received $117 million in EITC refunds. However, approximately 19,000 eligible residents failed to claim their credit, leaving nearly $45 million on the table.

Residents who worked last year and had an income of less than $54,884 should learn more about their EITC eligibility. Trained tax preparers can determine if individuals qualify for the EITC and ELC tax credits.

In addition to claiming these credits, families can save hundreds of dollars in tax preparation fees by participating in the District Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking’s EITC campaign. The EITC campaign provides free tax preparation services at 17 centers for families making up to $55,000. Residents can find a full list of free tax preparation sites HERE.

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40 Days of Positivity

On behalf of the Spiritual Life Team I would like to invite all of you to participate in the 40 Days of Positive Actions and Thoughts campaign!

I will practice being kind to others as well as to myself.

Everyone is encouraged to increase the positivity in our individual lives and across BCC.  We will work together over the next forty days (not counting Sundays) to embody our core values of safety, integrity, empathy and impact.  Please join us by taking your pledge of positivity!

I make a commitment to strive for positivity in my life for the next 40 days.

All members of the BCC community are invited to make this commitment.  Attached you will find a calendar to keep track of your actions.  You can write in each day what you do or check it off or place a sticker or color it in – however you want to record how you live out your commitment for each day.  The 40 Days begins on Wednesday, March 6.

Feel free to adapt the chart and use it with your family and friends at home or the young people you work with here.

In order to encourage our BCC youth to participate and provide concrete incentives, we suggest that you tie the pledge of positivity in with our PBIS programs already in place.  You may reward positive actions with “behavior bucks” as appropriate.

At the end of the 40 days, we will have opportunities to celebrate our commitment to positivity.  Please look for the invitations from our Spiritual Life team.

Along the way, we will be supporting our collective efforts through spiritual life programming and weekly emails with specific suggestions on how to implement positive living.  Your actions will make an impact within the entire BCC community and beyond.

Make the commitment – take the pledge – and let’s live and act in a spirit of positivity!

With gratitude from BCC’s Spiritual Life Team:

West Virginia Spiritual Life Coordinator –  Mr. Aaron Andrews

Baltimore Spiritual Life Coordinator –  Ms. Lakia Johnson

Denton – Pastor John Allen

PA – Pastor Bobby Jones

WV – Ms. Barbara Byers, Substance Abuse Treatment Director

Rev. Stacey Nickerson, Director of Church and Community Engagement

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MLK Volunteer Day @ BCC

Volunteers putting together Welcome Bags for new residents on this MLK Day of Service.

I just wanted to thank everyone for a transformational Day of Service.  It takes a lot of servants (both young and experienced) to plan and implement an event that is designed for families to serve together with others to meet the needs of their community in a meaningful way.  I am always amazed by the presence of the holy spirit and the enthusiasm of the volunteers.  – Rev. Bruce, Glen Mar UMC
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Core Value Award Winner: Darren Overton

IMPACT drives lasting change

We seek to make lasting change in the lives of those we work with by providing services that are durable, measurable, and sustainable. We will maximize our impact by investing in staff and board development. Feedback gathered from our entire community will enhance and strengthen our programs and their outcomes.

Darren is a Unit Supervisor in the Caminos program. For the past few weeks, Darren has led the Young Men’s Focus Group, which consists of the male youth in the residential program along with the staff. Although Darren’s main responsibility is to serve as the Unit Supervisor, he has dedicated his additional time to plan and run this group. The activities and lessons focus on increasing the self-esteem and teaching life skills. Darren has found ways to promote the group across campus, which has resulted in a consistent increase in involvement and attendance since its inception.
Darren, we appreciate the effort you have made to make this group a reality. I know that you are having a true impact on the attendees both during and outside out of the sessions. Congratulations and thank you!

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Core Value Award Winner: Zach Jones

Listen and respond with EMPATHY

Empathy will guide our programming and culture at all levels. A supportive work and program environment means possessing a desire to know and understand others. We recognize that with empathy we will better understand what type of care and encouragement to provide.

Many of our youth are constantly working through many challenges in their daily life. The role of our staff is very important in making sure that they are supporting our youth in the most trauma informed way. Zach is a Child Care Worker for our Caminos program. He has been seen on numerous occasions taking the time out to make our Caminos residents feel valued by listening to them, attending to their needs, and engaging with them through fun activities like playing board games. Ensuring that our residents are receiving the best possible care while at BCC contributes to our organization’s purpose. Zach I am very grateful for your supportive and therapeutic approach to your work. Congratulations.

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Core Value Award Winner: Devon Stevenson

Act with INTEGRITY

Openness and honesty with all stakeholders make for both the best program outcomes and team culture. We, as an organization, must build trust with our program participants by being thoughtful, transparent, and committed to our decisions and promises.

Our Denton Campus has recently gone through a few changes and transitions, which has required staff to be flexible and patient. Devon is a Child Care Worker at the campus. He has been recognized for how he has embraced the transition by displaying positive leadership capabilities to his fellow staff. Devon has stepped up to take on additional duties to ensure that the program is fully staffed and running smoothly. He effortlessly displays a commitment to PBIS and has dedicated his time to help guide our young people and staff in a new direction of positive behavior.
Devon, thank you so much for being a role model to your fellow staff and our youth. Congratulations!

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Foster Care Youth Panel Blog Post written by SIL Program Participant

The Board of Child Care provides youth with various opportunities to network and express their experiences while in foster care. Below is the story written by one of our youth who participated in panel discussion with other Maryland Foster Care Youth

When I was asked to participate in the MARFY foster care panel, I didn’t have to think twice about giving an astounding “Yes!”. I always enjoy talking about my foster care experiences and giving feedback on what works  and what needs improvement. While participating in the panel, I was asked questions such as “How is my therapy going” and “how am I able to calm down when I’m escalated”, and my overarching response was relationships. At the Board of Child Care, I have formed strong relationships with Child Care Workers who understand me and want to see me succeed.

The panel also consisted of a networking session where I was able to exchange contact information with various stakeholders who will be able to help me achieve my personal and career goals, and gave me an opportunity to connect with the Maryland Foster Care Ombudsman who is always available to offer me support and resources when needed. I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity and hope to be able to attend this panel event next year!

 

 

 

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