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99 Balloons:: Updates


TRAINING CONFERENCE 99 Balloons hosted our second rEcess Training Conference on October 5-6. Over 30 folks gathered in Fayetteville, representing existing rEcess programs as well as 6 new churches from Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee and Colorado. The conference provided a thorough training on how to build a rEcess program, as well as information on how to engage local families affected by disability beyond rEcess and also opportunities to engage kids with special needs globally. We are encouraged and excited by the new relationships and connections that were formed, and have continued the conversations on how to help these churches build a rEcess program in their area.


This year we launched The Story Fork blog and featured an 8-week series on “Imperfect Vessels”. There were 13 contributors sharing stories and using their gift of words to advocate on behalf of children and individuals with special needs locally and globally. In the two months that the series ran, over 5,000 people stopped by to read. We encourage you to check out the series online if you haven’t already.


Imperfect Vessels was such a great celebration of the work God is doing through 99 Balloons. Our desires for the night were for folks to have a great time, and for them to really get a feel for the local and global work taking place through 99 Balloons. It was a huge success as over 175 folks attended and got to learn of all that is happening in the world of 99 Balloons. We had 7 art stations featuring work from 7 incredibly talented artists, and over $15,000 was raised to support the local and global work of 99 Balloons. Many thanks for all of your help in making this night a success! We look forward to hosting a similar event next year and celebrating all that the Lord continues to do to bless children with special needs.


In early November, 99 Balloons attended a Disability Conference hosted by Desiring God in Minnesota. We had a booth at the conference and were able to hand out lots of information and materials regarding our local and global initiatives, as well as meet some key people doing great work engaging disability.


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Current rEcess Sites::

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Arkansas::! ! Bentonville!! Bryant Decatur! ! Fayetteville (2)! Rogers Siloam Springs! ! ! !

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Louisiana:: Baton Rouge

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Missouri:: Bolivar

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Oklahoma:: Stillwater

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Texas:: Dallas

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There are currently 11 rEcess programs, with the most recent having launched in October at Watermark Community Church in Dallas. Through our recent Training Conference, as well as connections made via email and through the Desiring God conference, we are talking with 9 additional churches and individuals who would like to start a rEcess in their area.


Four Square is a program specifically designed for siblings of children with special needs where they can feel supported, inspired and encouraged as they build relationships with other siblings and share about the unique joys and challenges of having a sibling with special needs. The program will include a variety of planned activities ranging from fun games, to story-telling and opportunities to talk more about our journeys and experiences. The four core values ("SIBS") of Four Square are:: • Share - Four Square is a place where we can openly share with one another about our journey as siblings and see that we are not alone. • Inspire - We want each and every sibling to understand that they are unique and special, and want to inspire and encourage them in their gifts and talents. • Bond - We see Four Square as a long-term program and relationship where siblings can develop a close bond with one another, as well as bond with our leaders for years to come. • Support - Ultimately, we want each sibling to feel supported and loved by others that are on a similar journey. Four Square will launch in early 2013.


PRAYER CARDS

One of the ways we have helped churches, groups and individuals change the story for kids with special needs globally has been through our Prayer Cards. Prayer Cards allow you to pray for a particular child with special needs, as well as become educated on the perceptions of disabilities within the geography that the child lives. This year, 57 individuals have committed to praying for these children and for change.


GLOBAL PROJECTS

This year we helped raised over $11,000 for 8 different Global Projects and were able to impact children with special needs in Ecuador, Uganda and Ukraine. Some of these projects include a goat farm for a children’s home in Uganda for children with special needs. Goats milk is the most nutritious, so we helped fund the purchase of two goats to provide fresh milk for the kids at the children’s home, as well as a goat pen. We also were able to make new connections in Ecuador this year and helped provide adaptive handwriting equipment for kids with special needs to more fully participate in school. These types of resources don’t exist in Ecuador, so we were able to purchase and send supplies and handwriting tools to a children’s center in Ecuador. These tools are designed to aid in proper handwriting techniques.


CHANGING THE STORY As folks across the country begin to engage in rEcess programs, we desire to educate them on the plight of children with special needs globally and encourage them to help change the story. Each month, we are asking a different rEcess site to “own” the featured Global Project for that particular month and try and go above and beyond to raise awareness for that particular project. The October project benefitted children with special needs in Ecuador and was owned by the rEcess at Indian Springs Baptist Church in Bryant, AR. One of their rEcess volunteers came up with a “Change to Make a Change Campaign.” They shared about the Global Project with their church congregation and took up a special offering one Sunday for the Global Project Fund. From just one day of collecting change, they raised over $1,500 for Global Projects!

99 Balloons - December 2012 Update  

Update on Local and Global work of 99 Balloons

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