That's how many days until my next trip to Europe.
I'm thrilled to be with a team of individuals who are traveling to Central Europe to be a part of a ground breaking trip - a trip that has the potential to change an entire community.
I'm taking my experience as a Parent Educator to the Roma.
I'm so thankful for the support of many churches and individuals in my community who are helping give to this cause. I accept your donations and support for me with great humility. I am extremely grateful for your belief in this cause.
Read an excerpt from my team leader Bill Howell as he sums up our trip perfectly in his blog entry from www.HowellConnect.org:
The numbers don’t add up. 10-62-50. The numbers don’t tell the whole story. 10-62-50. The numbers are not simply numbers, they are people, they are the Roma(Gypsy) of Czech and Slovakia. 10-62-50.
In the nation of Slovakia, the Roma comprise about 10% of the population. Yet their children account for 62% of the children in special schools. The reasons are many but two of the key factors are prejudice and preparation. The prejudice often comes from members of the majority population who simply don’t want their children exposed to the Roma children. In some cases petitions have been signed informing local officials that placing Roma in the local “normal” school will not be tolerated. The other key factor is preparation. The impact of large families, paralyzing poverty and lack of preparation in the home means that Roma children are not able to compete at grade level when it comes time to enter school. As a result they are classified as “special needs” and put into schools where the curriculum is oversimplified. The result is a lack of education, a lack of job skills, a lack of opportunity and a life vulnerable to unspeakable horrors. That’s where the last number comes in, for while Roma are 10% of the population but over 50% of the victims of human trafficking.
This fall a team from NLI will begin a training initiative for Roma parents. The curriculum is designed to help parents prepare their children (0-6 yrs. old) for a lifetime of learning. Using common tools and items the team will bring (Parent’s Toolbox), the children will learn simple tasks that actually unlock the ability to learn at higher levels throughout their lives. While most of us understand the importance of early childhood education we may not be aware of the crippling effect a lack of basic skills learned at an early age has on later more complex learning. As a result of increased cognitive abilities due to the training, these children will be prepared for a lifetime of learning.
Why?Why should we get involved? Why should we be training parents? How is this missional? Simply put, the work of the gospel is to change lives. By working with these parents we will be helping to change the now and the future of these children. And because this is part of a comprehensive strategy to share the message of Jesus, we will bring the training to villages and towns where relationships are being built and churches are being planted.
This coming November our team, including two early childhood specialists, will be “road testing” the curriculum in Cachtice, Slovakia and Kojetin, Czech. At present we are in a funding stage where we are looking to raise $20,000 for the first phase, including developing the curriculum, translation into Czech and Slovak, the Parent’s Toolbox and initial publishing).
If you are interested in this work, would like to offer your support or would like to extend an invitation, I'd be honored to speak to your church or social service group so you can partner with this worthy trip. Absolutely honored. You can reach me via email at starski(at)hotmail.com.