Elena, one of the first moms to start the Nuevo Camino program, is making incredible strides in protecting herself and her kids from more abuse. She is also sharing what she has with others in need, including her 14-year old niece who continues to run into roadblocks as she asks the government to help her school. Read more about this young advocate’s heart and some really simple things that we can do to help make her dreams a reality for the community of San Juan de Pomacanchi, high in the Andes Mountains of Peru.
“No one can win the war individually, It takes the wisdom of the elders and young people’s energy”
– Glory from the Motion Picture Selma
Frederick D. Reese is a Legend. And although the acts throughout his life were incredibly courageous, his legacy of love for the next generation is what made him legendary to us.
The first conversation we had with Dr. Reese was in the midst of a battle. The forces of racism and oppression had come knocking at our door trying to stop a youth movement to bring unity to Selma. It seemed so intense at the time. With people calling the local government and threatening to pull funding from our school if we didn’t stop.
But Dr. Reese had withstood many battles of his own. From being a part of the Courageous Eight who compelled Dr. King to come to Selma, to leading his fellow teachers time and time again to the steps of the Dallas County Courthouse. Yet, here he was talking to us because he believed wholeheartedly that we mattered. And that a march led by youth, no matter how it seemed to others, was worth marching again.
Months before, we had met with government officials to plan a unity dance with youth from all over Selma on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where the infamous Bloody Sunday occurred in 1965. As the date came closer, the city government was under a lot of pressure to pull support. When they told us we could no longer host the dance because “you can always do the dance somewhere else”, it ignited a fire in everyone to protest the decision and march on the day we had planned to dance.
But we needed guidance. And when we asked to meet with Dr. Reese, he gave us his full support. Not because we had done everything right, but because he believed our cause was right. Time and time again, he would invite us to teach the dance to kids at his church or talk to his members about the project. It was incredible to be walking in step with one of Selma’s greatest heroes, but also be so understood and welcomed.
Dr. Reese, thank you for standing with us. For never turning a blind eye to injustice, no matter if that injustice took away the right to vote or the right to dance. You lived a legacy of love and we pray that we can carry that legacy forward for more generations.
Friendship is a language spoken everywhere. I had the amazing opportunity to visit Peru as a volunteer for Nuevo Camino. My favorite kind of volunteer work is friendship. Life has many necessities, and among them, at least for a happy life, is friendship. I have been blessed by very good friends in life, so when I went to Peru that was the one thing I wanted to pay forward.
I couldn’t believe how quickly I found friendship. The moment we walked into the shelter I felt connected to the women, children and workers there. Maybe it’s just how different the cultures are – the WARM greetings, kisses on the cheeks, big hugs, and many words of thanks. The kids gave hugs and bezos freely as well!
It amazes me how open the women are to receiving help. They are ready and want to work but just need someone to believe in them and support. Give them a new start, invest in them. Someone to watch their kids and help find good schools for them. They need to go to dinner or tea or shopping or just for a walk around the plaza. Friendship. It goes a long way.
The second day I was in Peru we all went on an outing to a park – the kids and adults alike were so excited! I jumped right in playing with the kids. After awhile, I stepped back to take it all in. The parks there aren’t free, so I wondered how often, if ever, some of these kids and moms had been to a park. I saw one of the moms I had met the day before from across the park.
I had heard her heartbreaking story – forced to leave home when she was 11, finding work in a restaurant, and staying in school. Pregnant at 17 and then abandoned in the hospital right after she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She spent one night under a bridge with a month-old baby before finding a taxi driver, thank God, who helped her and got her to the shelter.
She was standing near the teeter-totters and smiling at the park that day. I realized in that moment that she was such a child herself. But a child that never got to be a child the way I did. The way most kids in America do.
I quickly made my way over to her and asked her if she wanted to do the teeter-totter with me. Actually what I said is “Te queiro?” and pointed to the contraption ☺ The language of friendship. She nodded vigorously, smiled her wide, somehow happy smile and said “si, si, si!!” We climbed on – which was a challenge even for me at 5’9”! We began going back and forth, both of us laughing and squealing. When I hit the high point I screamed!
Listen, now, these are not American teeter-totters, I was up there!! [Read more…]
Contributed by Maddie, one of our New Expression volunteers
At New Expression Clarkston, we like to give the kids a chance to do whatever activities they think best expresses who they are. For me personally, art is a way I express myself, so I’ll work with a lot of the young girls who like art too!
In art club is has been so amazing to experience new things to and be with the kids. We’ve been doing a lot of field trips lately. I have taken girls in the community to different places like the library, nature parks and playgrounds. It has been amazing to see them each weekend jump into the car so excited for the new adventure.
As we’ve been adventuring out of our normal meeting space, we have also met new people in the community. One of my favorite memories recently is when we went to one of the Dekalb libraries and taught the girls how to knit and make bracelets. Different kids would come through and just sit down and participate with us. The girls would help each other and encourage each other in making scarves, hats and bracelets. Everybody felt so welcome to talk and jump right in!
We have loved taking art club out to the community!
We are very excited to announce a new way to support abused and abandoned moms and kids in our newest program, Nuevo Camino, in Cusco, Peru. eBay for Charity is an amazing platform that allows charities to raise money and grow support for their cause. We are now an official eBay charity and have launched our own eBay store! Check it out!
One thing we have learned is that the U.S. dollar goes far in Peru to help the mamas and their kids! By buying goods in Peru, selling them on eBay in the U.S., and sending the proceeds back to Peru, the value of those Peruvian goods is multiplied, and the impact is great.
We’ve connected with some incredibly special vendors in Cusco who are eager to help the moms and kids. Our store carries authentic, handmade Peruvian goods—from blankets, to purses, bags, dolls, scarves, and more, which are one-of-a-kind items and a beautiful representation of Peruvian culture, tradition, and craftsmanship.
Shop soon and often, and help us get the word out! Read on for ways to support…
FAVORITE OUR CHARITY ON E-BAY
By favoriting our charity, you’re doing a couple things! The more favorites we get, the more visible we become on eBay for Charity—this means more people have the opportunity to learn about us and support the cause. Also, if you shop for anything on eBay, at check out, you’ll be given the option to add a $1 (or more) donation to your purchase—a quick and easy way to give a small amount that makes a big impact! Favorite us HERE.
SHOP OUR STORE
Buy some amazing Peruvian goods, and feel good about it! 100% of proceeds go to help the moms and kids in Peru. Just browsing and clicking on our items increases our visibility on eBay—your clicks make a difference! These items are truly beautiful and make GREAT gifts. We also sell a variety of other items that benefit the cause. Browse our store HERE.
SELL YOUR ITEMS FOR US
Have some things you want to get rid of? You can sell your own items on eBay and donate a percentage of the sale price to benefit Something New. Your donations are tax-deductible and as a charitable seller, eBay rewards your support by offering you a fee credit based on your donation percentage to Something New. Start selling HERE.
SHARE THE GOOD
Spread the word to your friends, family and network to let them know where they can get some awesome, authentic Peruvian gear that gives back to some beautiful Peruvian people. Follow Something New on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to be one of the first to know when we add new items to our store, have sales, and more!
By doing any or all of these things, you are doing something that matters. Your support is what makes the Something New community so powerful and shows the impact we can have together through individual acts of kindness and giving. Let’s make it multiply!
If ever there was a position custom made for someone, this is it. Lee Farnsworth, who has literally traveled the world, is fully bilingual, has worked with immigrants and refugees in the U.S., and absolutely LOVES people and Latin culture. She is the perfect candidate to be Something New’s on the ground American coordinator for our new program Nuevo Camino. Lee is leaving her job as a community liaison for a school system in the Atlanta, GA area to relocate to Cusco, Peru. But don’t worry, she is originally from Colorado, so the elevation will be fine!
Lee will be a vital asset to supporting the moms and their children directly (she is also a life coach) as well as continuing to build our network, coordinate volunteers and work with local people and programs to build this transition system and community that will allow moms a fresh start and opportunity to thrive.
Read the stories of Celestina, Erica, Mariela, Karina, and Rosabel to learn more about the first five moms who Lee will be working with in the program. We believe that they are just the beginning and as they get help they will be able to offer help to women behind them. We truly are building a community rooted in love.
That’s Lee on the left — along with Becca and a local volunteer in Cusco!
Something New is always looking for, well, something new. A new niche that our organization and army of committed volunteers can fill. A need just waiting to be met. We have found just that and would like to introduce our newest NEW — Nuevo Camino (New Path)!
After some of our young volunteers spent a few months over the summer in Cusco, Peru learning Spanish, they convinced a group of our board members to visit the city to consider ways we may be able to help. The young students were struck by the poverty and struggle of the people, and were also blown away by their tremendous kindness, hospitality and rich culture. Early this year, the board members made that journey and after meeting a woman who runs a local shelter for women and children, the idea for the Nuevo Camino program was instantly born.
Not because we love programs, but because we love people. There are few, if any, options for these women who have been victims of domestic violence after they leave the shelters, which can only help them for around three months. No program that we have found exists to help them transition, find jobs, find housing, develop skills and stay safe. They need community and a little support!
“There are many around the world who need help and our team felt a deep connection with these women. They are the ones that came into our path. These women are fighters. They have a strong work ethic and a desire to grow and do whatever it takes to provide a better life for their children,” said Jason Armstrong, the recently named CEO of Something New.
As an organization we are still learning a lot about the environment in Peru, and Cusco specifically. We are partnering with many local volunteers who are excited to have some partners in helping these women. The program will evolve over time, and we will certainly keep you posted! But the needs are immediate and we are kicking off the program by supporting five families who will soon be transitioning out of the shelter. We have already interviewed each mom for the Nuevo Camino project and assessed her and her children’s needs, as well as started a plan for each of their transitions. We will provide life coaching, help connect them to local resources, work alongside them to find work, and provide financial assistance as needed. We don’t have to be experts to dive in, but we are excited to learn more and to offer what help we can.
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” – Mother Teresa
If you would like to learn more or get involved, contact us.
We are very excited to announce a new position and a new member of our team. Jason Armstrong, a long time volunteer and board member, has recently accepted a role as the Chief Executive Officer of Something New. Jason has extensive experience in the medical field. He started his career as an ER nurse in some of the poorest cities in America and has grown into a top business development executive for a large national medical provider. His experience is vast, and while he has a knack for spreadsheets and numbers, his heart has always remained with the people.
He and his wife Becca (who has served as our Executive Director for the past two years), have always had hearts for adventure. They relocated from their home in Colorado over 10 years ago to help build our flagship program in Selma, Alabama and have since moved to Atlanta, Georgia as our focus shifted to work with refugees and immigrants. Before that they both traveled extensively and have worked with people all over the world.
That’s why when the Nuevo Camino program began to take shape, we felt Jason would be a huge asset to our leadership group. He has a big vision and an even bigger heart, see his bio here! He and his partner in life, Becca, will now partner to help take Something New into new territory once again. And we can’t think of a better team to get us there!
Trauma- a type of damage to the psyche that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event.
This word has become more real and relevant to me as we get to experience the incredible stories of some amazing individuals. Starting this month, we get to spend time with and teach middle and high school refugee students in Clarkston once a week. The students we teach represent many walks of life from Ghana, Kenya, Korea, Dubai, Sudan, Uganda, Congo and Zambia just to name a few. As we listen to their stories, the reality of their traumatic experiences come to life in living color. The persecution and violence they faced have given me a different perspective in how I view the issues here in the USA that we can address as citizens and New Way trainers.
Their stories also continue to validate and reassure me of the work that we do and how much it’s needed. Although the students’ circumstances may leave lasting psychological scars (and physical scars for some), you can feel hope. As we go through activities together, you feel hope arise through smiles and laughter, sometimes even tears. We feel how love touches the human soul and reminds each person of their gifts and value on this earth.
These weekly workshops have become one of the most powerful hours of my week as I see love conquer hate and heal brokenness in many. I see those that would not talk laughing uncontrollably with their peers. I see those that could not speak English well, speak the language of love that we all understand.
Although my natural experience are not anywhere close to being the same as the students, I am learning that any level or degree of trauma must be addressed with patience, love and understanding. I walk away weekly having learned more than I could ever teach. There is truly a New Way of dealing with the trauma in our lives. We must learn to go through the struggle together because we come out closer and stronger in unity on the other side. We are human! We are love. We are family.