See an article about our summer feeding program in Phoenix on the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese website .
FOCUS North America is a major player in the efforts to end food insecurity among school-aged children throughout the country. In an article from September 6, The Pittsburgh Post Gazette highlights the efforts of FOCUS Pittsburgh’s backpack feeding program. You can read the full-length article here!
“During the school year, more than 21 million kids nationwide receive free and reduced-price meals, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture…”
To read the full article click here
FOCUS Pittsburgh’s Community Trauma Initiative has been highlighted by OCN!
Check it out here.
In an interview by 90.3 WCPN, Carl Cook talks about his past gang involvement, his transition, transformation and recovery. Today Carl runs his own non-profit, and is the chef at St. Hermans House of Hospitality- FOCUS Cleveland. You can hear the interview here.
This past year, FOCUS has teamed up with many schools and organizations in cities throughout North America to deliver shoes to children in need. This news report by News 6 San Diego is just one example of how FOCUS is serving children.
This past winter, FOCUS Cleveland-St. Herman’s house was at capacity, providing shelter for the homeless during the coldest months of the year.
This story was featured in the Finger Lakes Times in February, but shoe distribution continues daily in Geneva City School District.
GENEVA — Thanks in part to one Geneva alumnus, over 100 children in the district will now have brand-new sneakers.
Adam Murphy, who graduated from Geneva High School in 2009, now lives in Pennsylvania and works for FOCUS North America, an Orthodox Christian fellowship dedicated to serving homeless and working poor throughout the nation. However rewarding his work on a national scale is, there was one location that weighed particularly heavily on Murphy’s mind: Geneva.
While in Geneva, Murphy was an active volunteer, having served with the Festival of Nations, and his parents still live and work in the city. Consequently, he knows all too well the challenges many of Geneva’s economically disadvantaged face.
“I asked my mom what could be done in Geneva because I’ve always wanted to give back to the community,” he said.
Murphy’s mother, Suzanne Murphy, is a music teacher in the district. His father, the Rev. Gregory Murphy, is pastor of St. Michael’s Orthodox Church in Geneva.
“I know that Geneva oftentimes gets overlooked in terms of projects that go on,” Adam Murphy said, noting larger cities tend to receive more philanthropic aid.
One program at FOCUS seemed perfectly suited to Geneva. It was Operation: Lace Up. This FOCUS program, through a partnership with Toms Shoes, provides footwear to children in need throughout the nation.
Murphy proposed the project to his employer and was able to secure approximately 120 pairs of shoes for Geneva, which are slated to be divided between Head Start and West Street School based on available shoe sizes.
“The sneakers that were provided for Head Start will serve about 25 percent of our families,” said Head Start nurse Kristine Echols, who is in charge of distribution. “Especially this time of year, it really helps that our families won’t have to buy new shoes. I think it’s a wonderful thing to be able to partner with FOCUS.”
“We are so grateful to Adam and to FOCUS North America,” Geneva school Superintendent Trina Newton said. “Many children in Geneva face huge economic hurdles. As educators, this immediately makes us worry about the impact on their academics. But more than that, it makes us worry about their daily lives. Shoes are a basic need and Adam’s dedication means many of our children now have one less basic need going unmet.”
by Nick Chakos
The tech giant Google recently reported that 93 million “selfies” are taken each and every single day. On many days, I think that my 15-year-old daughter is single-handedly responsible for a sizeable percentage of that number. From the time that the first Kodak camera was sold in 1888 through 1950, it’s estimated that a few bil- lion photographs were taken worldwide.
That’s seemingly less than what my other kids, ages 11, 9 and 7, snap, tweet, post and vine in one week. It’s easy to think that young people these days are so hooked on technology, so absorbed in self-promotion through their social networks, that they can’t see past their device’s screens and don’t care for anyone other than themselves, their “friends” and “followers.”
But to dismiss our young people’s social networks as frivolous or downright bad is to ignore the trend of how young people are using their phones, computers and virtual networks to inspire action and activity in the real world. While we do need to be protective of what our young people are viewing and sharing across cyberspace, we also must understand that our children value these networks and connections immensely and that they are not going away any time soon…
As racial and community tensions flare in Ferguson, Missouri following the publication of the recent Department of Justice report, FOCUS North America continues to serve those in need and work to bring the divided community together.
FOCUS has supported local business and community leaders by hosting community events, raising funds for damaged and destroyed businesses as well as supporting Ferguson families and children in need. “A key component of FOCUS’ work is bringing people and communities together, uniting them through understanding,” says FOCUS Gateway City Director Clayton Parks. “It’s what the U in FOCUS stands for and we’re happy that we can help.”
While the local officials have been forming plans to move the community forward in a positive manner, FOCUS Gateway City has made significant contributions on the ground.