Children growing up in environments of deprivation and fear risk growing up angry and aggressive. Children who grow up in a constant state of anxiety not knowing to whom they can turn for comfort and solace grow up isolated and feeling alone. And be sure it's not just in impoverished or third world societies where this is occurring. There are children all over the United States struggling to learn because of issues beyond the classroom. There are children who have been pushed aside and bullied because they have been perceived as being different, or those who have been pushed into situations that make no sense to them and yet they fear asking for help.
Where do they turn? Some turn within and become reclusive. Some act out against others. When there is nowhere to turn for security and comfort there are always places that will fill the gap. Unfortunately those places are usually harmful to them and others.
President Kennedy once declared, “Children are the world's most valuable resource and its' best hope for the future.” Our children are our future, yet research from the National Center for Children in Poverty reveals about 15 million children in the United States (21% of all children) live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold, a measurement that has been shown to underestimate the needs of families. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Using this standard, 43% of children live in low-income families. These children all need guidance, safety and love. They need structure and boundaries as well as meaningful connections with caring adults. If they are treated with patience and compassion they will learn patience and compassion.
Research from the American Camp Association has indicated that camp provides these needs for children. The problem is that good camps are often financially out of reach of those children trapped in poverty thus preventing the children in need from experiencing the benefits the research so effectively measured.
Shepherd's Spring has entered into a wholesale purchasing agreement with Café
Campesino in Americas, Georgia for fair trade coffees from various countries around the world. Fair trade certified coffee directly supports a better life for farming families in the developing world through fair prices, community development and environmental stewardship. Fair trade coffee farmers market their own harvests through direct, long-term contracts with international buyers, learning how to manage their businesses and compete in the global marketplace. Receiving a fair price for their harvest allows these farmers to invest in their families' health care and education, reinvest in quality and protect the environment.
This empowerment model lifts farming families from poverty through trade, not aid, creating a more equitable and sustainable model of international trade that benefits producers, consumers, industry and the earth.
By adopting a fair trade model commitment is made to the following: Create opportunities for economically and socially marginalized producers; Develop transparent and accountable relationships; Build capacity; Promote fair trade; Pay promptly and fairly; Support safe and empowering working conditions; Ensure the rights of children; Cultivate environmental stewardship; and Respect cultural identity. This is also a visible demonstration of commitment to Shepherd's Spring philosophy of valuing each individual as created in the image of God and subsequently having inherent worth.
Coffee is now available in one pound bags at the new coffee shop in the lobby in our lodge. All of the proceeds from the sale of the coffee are being directed to send kids to camp who would otherwise not have access to camp.