“Hi. I just saw a post on Facebook about your CHAIRity event coming up and I want to refurbish a chair to donate for the event. CVEM helped me pay for school a few years ago. You just can’t know how much your help meant to me and I want to do something for CVEM in return.”
That was my introduction to Ms. F who began to tell me what she’d been doing in the three years since she’d come to CVEM for assistance…and it’s A LOT!
Ms. F graduated from CVCC at the end of the semester when we helped out…and she’s earned two more degrees since...and started her own nonprofit organization mentoring at-risk teens… in Russell County because that’s where she’s needed…and just bought 8 acres of land for her gardening and equine therapy programs. With every sentence Ms. F spoke, I realized that she is an amazing woman with big dreams that she is turning into reality, and I wanted to know more. So I invited her to come to CVEM the following week.
Our Direct Services Coordinator Diane Hinnant remembered Ms. F immediately when I told her about the call and upcoming visit. When Ms. F came through the door, she and Diane immediately hugged, both with tear-filled eyes. Not tears of joy exactly; something more.
For the next two hours, the three of us sat together, with Ms. F telling us about her life and dreams and work. A disabled veteran and divorced mother of a young teenage daughter, a woman who has faced astounding challenges throughout her life, she is indomitable. At CherAmi Farms, Ms. F is investing all her resources into mentoring at-risk teenagers in Russell County--teaching organic gardening from seed and the care of horses (she currently has three); connecting the teens with as many opportunities as possible to volunteer in the community.
Currently, about 15 teen girls are actively engaged at CherAmi Farms. They learn and engage in the hard work of nurturing life—caring for growing seeds that stay hidden and do not instantly gratify the gardener; doing the hard, dirty work of caring for horses; volunteering at community events most weekends. But their hard work is bearing fruit—literally fruits and vegetables they sell, and take home, and give to feed homeless veterans. Their hard work bears the fruit of kinship with majestic horses and engagement with neighbors in community.
Ms. F’s dedicated work is bearing fruit in the lives of these girls who are learning a multitude of skills, both practical for their immediate future and applicable for their adult life. And in the process the young women are finding, some for the first time ever, a group in which they truly belong…just as they are.
Do you know this saying? “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Ms. F is living into whom God has made her and calls her to be. It is her deep gladness that nurtures a handful of hungering teenage girls in Seale, AL. The result is nothing less than transformation of lives—hearts and minds and bodies and spirits—transformed by love to hope-filled lives.
Oh, those tears when Ms. F and Diane saw one another again? I believe they are the sign of the kinship we share when we look for where God is at work and join in—when we love like Jesus. A sign of nothing less than transformation.
Want to learn more about CherAmi Farms community outreach? Check out their Facebook page HERE. Want to know the story of how CherAmi Farms got its name? Here’s a link to the story of a WWI carrier pigeon Cher Ami who, though wounded herself, saved a “Lost Battalion” of American soldiers. I suspect you can figure out the connection between this WWI story and the unfolding story in Russell County at CherAmi Farms.
Please join us in this work of sharing God’s transformative love in caring for our neighbors in the Chattahoochee Valley! We invite you to volunteer and join in the work; we ask for your continued prayers for the ministry and your financial support at whatever amount you are able.
May we each daily live into our deep gladness as we go forth into a hungry world; and in so doing, be transformed into God’s dream for us and for the world. – Martha
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a one-time gift or a recurring one.
CVEM is funded solely by the donations of generous individuals, the Episcopal parishes of the Chattahoochee Valley, and the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta.
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Or mail your check to CVEM P. O. Box 5811 Columbus GA 31906