Loving Our Neighbor Christmas Cards

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Earlier this month, volunteers from churches across the city helped spread love to neighbors through hand-made acts of kindness.  Thanks to 90+ volunteers, over 300 men & women from 8 prisons, 2 women’s shelters, and 1 recovery center received a beautiful hand-written/ hand-made Christmas card.  Each card included a personal touch (unique artwork, bookmarks, and inspirational words of wisdom), as well as a promise to pray for the recipient.

We are so grateful to the volunteers who lovingly made cards and organized opportunities for others to participate.  It was inspiring to see so many people eager to join the effort to love and serve our NYC neighbors.

We had the opportunity to meet with several ministry/ nonprofit leaders through this project, and we are excited about the opportunities to collaborate/ serve/ spread love in the new year.

^The Artist Collective from TGC Park Slope made a fun event out of the card making.
^beautiful handmade cards from the TGC Park Slope group.
^Raul Baez from WITO, Inc. picking up the cards to be distributed to 8 different prisons.
^Hand-painted cards from talented artist/ designer, Leanne from Liberty Church, Downtown Brooklyn.
^ A CCC family made 100 cards (each with a uniquely inspiring message).
^Friends from Liberty Church Brooklyn hosted a bookmark making table at their holiday party (each bookmark included an inspiring message).
^Hand-painted art and individualized bible versus were placed inside cards delivered to a Brooklyn-based recovery center.

We would like to extend a special thank you to:

Friends from Brooklyn Tabernacle
Friends from Christian Cultural Center
Friends from Weill Cornell Medical Students
Friends from Trinity Grace Church, Park Slope
Friends from Liberty Church Downtown, Brooklyn
Friends from Liberty Church, Union Square
Friends from Trinity Grace Church, East Village

Raul Baez, Executive Director of WITO, Inc., for helping us reach men and women from 8 different prison facilities.  WITO’s mission is to equip incarcerated men & women with biblical principles, financial empowerment and transforming values so they can unlock the doors to success.

Darrell Cheng, Manager of Non-Profit Relations at Trellis, for helping us reach out to church volunteers and nonprofits in Brooklyn and Manhattan.


Check out more photos from the Loving Our Neighbor Card Initiative on Flickr 


Let My People Go Launch

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Let My People Go, a nonprofit committed to empowering the church to fight human trafficking by loving those most vulnerable, will launch their national network at a conference on January 24, 2016.   Attendees will learn how their church can be the solution to the suffering of the vulnerable by addressing injustice through the Let My People Go Network.   Guest speakers include:

  • Kevin Palau, president of the Luis Palau Association and author of Unlikely
  • Raleigh Sadler, Founder and Director of the Let My People Go Network
  • Ben Skinner, Founder of Transparentem and author of A Crime So Monstrous
  • Shandra Woworuntu, Founder of Mentari and appointed member of the US Advisory Council on Human Trafficking
  • Iryna Makaruk, survivor advocate and advisor for Let My People Go

There will also be special guests from the NYPD Vice Squad, Homeland Security, the International Justice Mission, the NYC Mayor’s Office, and more.  The cost of attendance for the 7:00-9:00 pm event is $15, and all attendees will receive approximately $50.00 in books and resources.

Learn more at the LMPG website: lmpgnetwork.org.

NYCS at Movement Day 2016

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Last week while we were at the 2016 Movement Day conference, friends from all over the world– from Indonesia to South Africa– Menlo Park to Dallas– and everywhere in between– stopped by our NYCS booth to say hello, pick up a t-shirt, learn more about how we are celebrating and accelerating collaborations across the city, and to participate in a mural collaboration lead by Thrive Collective (one of our wonderful partners).
Operating on the premise that collaboration begins with action, visitors were invited to answer the question “how should we love our city.”  Over the course of three days 300+ people took courageous action by making their mark on one of four canvas panels alongside professional artists from Thrive.   The finished piece was presented by Thrive’s Executive Director, Jeremy Del Rio, at our  Accelerate 2.0 Fall Celebration.   During the presentation, Jeremy noted that this art installation is a tangible object lesson, offering us a glimpse of “what a city looks like when people come together to love and serve well.”
The mural also served as a beautiful backdrop for our presentation.   Below, is a photo of Evangelist, Luis Palau, when he joined our Executive Leadership team on stage to pray over our new Executive Director, Guy Wasko.
 After the team prayed, Guy proceeded to present the Accelerate 2.0 strategic vision frame, describing what NY CityServe is looking forward to in this new season.


Following the presentation guests caught up before heading off to the final Movement Day activities.   


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Accelerate 2.0 Fall Celebration

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Washington Heights & Inwood Pathways

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Washington Heights & Inwood Pathways (WH/I Pathways) was launched a year ago by a coalition of neighborhood churches and ministries working together to shine the light of God’s mercy and justice upon our communities.  They are currently serving in partnership with the Inwood Academy for Leadership charter school providing adult mentors for middle and high school students.

The mission of WH/I Pathways is to recruit and equip community leaders to mentor youth in Washington Heights and Inwood to achieve greater possibilities for a safer, healthier and thriving neighborhood. Their vision is for a generation of young people who value themselves as image bearers of God, model Christ, and contribute to the renewal of their communities and the world.

Learn more about Washington Heights & Inwood Pathways by clicking here.

The Chinatown Initiative Loving & Serving Chinatown

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The Chinatown Initiative Loving & Serving Chinatown
The Chinatown Initiative started meeting together in September 2014 after the Cityfest Launch event, and they have been meeting monthly ever since to partner together to see how they can impact the Community. They have about 6-8 churches that come together regularly to work together with a total of 15+ churches in their broader network.  A few key initiatives they have been involved in include:
Public School 2
The Chinatown Initiative is investing ongoing efforts and energy to make an impact in the lives of kids who might be disadvantaged or at risk. At PS2, they have given Christmas gifts to the 4th and 5th grade classes, partnered with World Vision to give the entire school of PS2 and PS1 School supplies, and now they starting a Mentorship program on Saturdays at PS2 for the 3rd – 5th grade kids.
Chinatown Chinese New Year Parade in February 
The Chinatown Initiative participated in the Community event with 5+churches participating with over 150 people joining and distributing tracts and being a witness.
Monroe Street Festival in June
The Chinatown Initiative joined the Annual Street Fair with 15+ Churches and Parachurch Organizations this June by participating and doing outreach to our Community of Chinatown.
Deuteronomy 15:4 Homeless & Poor Outreach
The Chinatown Initiative is meeting the needs of those who are disadvantaged and showing love and kindness to those the homeless and poor in Chinatown and NYC.

Thrive Collective Celebration at the UFT

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Churches, students, and community supporters celebrated with Thrive Collective at the UFT in June.  

On June 17 Thrive Collective’s staff, board, volunteers, students, and community supporters gathered at the United Federation of Teachers to celebrate the end of another great school year serving 100 schools throughout New York City.

Thrive was joined by churches, community supporters, students, faculty, and artists as they honored Scott Stringer, NYC Comptroller, Michael Mulgrew, UFT President, and Kevin Palau, NY CityServe Co-founder, for investing in arts education and school mentoring.

The event included: 2 finished in-door murals (currently installed at schools in the Bronx), 100 pieces of student artwork (from schools across the city), 20 pieces of 3-D and 2-D artwork from professional artists, several films, a 50 piece photo gallery, and an experiential exhibit (where guests could paint a 10 foot “mini-version” of a mural that we painted earlier this spring in the Bronx).

Bronx Bethany Church of the Nazarene & ThriveNYC Mental Health

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Last month, one of our partners, Bronx Bethany Church of the Nazarene, held a training event in conjunction with 7 different organizations. 31 participants gathered at Bronx Bethany Church of the Nazarene for an 8 hour free course in which all trainees received certification from the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare as Mental Health First Aiders. Participants learned the sign and symptoms of the most common mental health problems, where and when to get help, and types of help shown to be effective.  Certification establishes that all trainees have been trained to provide initial help to people experiencing mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, and substance use disorders.

The First Aid Mental Health Certification Training workshop was conducted through the Mayor’s office in collaboration with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, as a part of ThriveNYC.


ThriveNYC is a plan of action to guide the city toward a more effective and holistic system that outlines 54 initiatives, 23 of them new, to support the mental well-being of New Yorkers. Additionally, ThriveNYC creates a model that can be applied nationally and a framework for advocacy.  To find out more about ThriveNYC, please visithttps://thrivenyc.cityofnewyork.us/.


Five Churches Collaborate to Honor NYPD PSA4

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Earlier this fall, five churches from the Lower East Side collaborated to honor and stand with the officers of NYPD Police Service Area 4  (PSA4).

Officers from PSA4 (located at 130 Avenue C/ East 8th Street) are responsible for patrolling twenty-five New York City Housing Authority developments in the 5th, 7th, 9th and 10th Precincts in Manhattan.  Volunteers from Abounding Grace Ministries, Dwell Church, CityVine + Trinity Grace Church East Village joined together to selflessly serve food, present recognition, and break bread with the officers.  

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Thrive Collective Serves in the Bronx

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In June the Longwood section of the Bronx became a little brighter and colorful. Students from PS 333 and 335 worked together with NY CityServe partner, Thrive Collective, on a shared schoolyard mural that offers a glimpse into their neighborhood and how they see it. Every week during lunch time 6 classes, 3 from each school, joined us in the yard to help paint the mural. The results were fantastic.

Once the mural was all complete, on June 4th, Thrive Collective,  joined a dozen Bronx based artists and arts organizations gathered to celebrate the rich cultural legacy of the Longwood neighborhood at the first I Am Longwood Arts Fest. Enjoy the video above, capturing the beauty of the mural, festival, and community collaboration at it’s finest.

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