LOVESINTENTION DONATION TO BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF THE UMPQUA VALLEY

January 21, 2019

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“A Dog’s Way Home” inspired LovesIntention to donate twenty-five Roseburg Cinema gift cards to the Boys & Girls Club of the Umpqua Valley, Roseburg, Oregon.

Movie review by J.D. Jakes: https://dove.org/bishop-t-d-jakes-shares-love-from-his-lat…/


BROOKDALE MEMORY CARE MUSICAL PERFORMANCE FOR RESIDENTS

December 1, 2017

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Brookdale Memory Care residents enjoyed an early holiday gift through a performance by the Halie Loren Trio.  Halie Loren, international singer and songwriter with Matt Treder on piano and Sean Peterson on bass delighted residents for 45 minutes with standards from the American Songbook and Christmas classics. 

Brookdale management appreciated the financial support of guests that made the performance possible.  A special thanks to Tim Juett, Shelia & Larry Smith, Sandy Montgomery, and other Brookdale staff that enriched the magical experience through their compassionate dancing with residents. 

From left to right: Matt Treder, Halie Loren, Jimmy Manser, Sean Peterson, and Tim Juett

From left to right: Matt Treder, Halie Loren, Jimmy Manser, Sean Peterson, and Tim Juett

 

EMERALD VILLAGE EUGENE:  PROJECT UPDATE

October 23, 2017

Emerald Village Eugene (EVE) is the FIVE-STAR model of how to build a tiny house community. Developed by SquareOne Villages, a non-profit 501(c)3, these 22 tiny houses (160-288 sq ft) have a living room, kitchen, full bathroom, bedroom, and storage, plus community shared amenities (laundry, restroom, tool & bike storage, and a gathering place with large kitchen).

The average rent of $350 per month includes the $50 "equity share" that builds to $1,500, like a savings account. The tiny house resident may stay as long as necessary until transitioning with the $1,500 "nest egg" to traditional housing.

LovesIntention donated funds to two tiny houses for purchase of building materials, garden tools and equipment, and also volunteer construction labor. "It takes a community to raise a village", Dan Bryant, Executive Director, SquareOne Villages:  www.squareonevillages.org/emerald

 

OPPORTUNITY VILLAGE EUGENE’S OPEN-HOUSE

June 10, 2017

Jimmy Manser, CEO/Founder of LovesIntention coordinated representation of Roseburg’s Homeless Transition Action Group (HTAG) with other members, Jim Caplan and Ross Bannister, to attend the third annual open house at Opportunity Village Eugene (OVE).  OVE is an innovative, affordable shelter for homeless people.  The event was held on Saturday, June 10th from 1 - 5 p.m., at 111 N. Garfield St.  Speakers at the event included Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis, Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns and SquareOne Villages Executive Director Dan Bryant.  OVE’s open house was organized by SquareOne Villages, a non-profit organization, 501 (c) 3; dedicated to advancing the development of tiny home villages for low-income people.

OVE is a cluster of 30 small dwellings for the homeless on leased city property.  The program’s speakers described the merits of life in compact housing.  Residents of the village also shared stories about their experiences.  Guests were offered live music, food, guided tours, and activities.  Producers from TinyHousxpedition.com were at the village as part of their national tour to create a documentary film about tiny house communities. Further, the HTAG team visited the site location of Emerald Village Eugene (EVE), a 22 tiny house village currently under construction.

HTAG TEAM MET KEY PEOPLE AT EVENT

·       Dan Bryant, Executive Director, SquareOne Villages and Pastor of First Christian Church, Eugene

·       Andrew Heben, Project Manager, Emerald Village Eugene (EVE), SquareOne Villages, Eugene

·       Lucy Vinis, Eugene’s Mayor

·       Alan Zelenka, City Councilor, Ward 3

RECOMMENDATIONS

·       SquareOne Villages is nationally recognized as a non-profit organization building micro-house communities.  Review their website:  www.squareonillages.org

·       Read Andrew Heben’s book, Tent City Urbanism (available for purchase on Amazon.com)

·       Grant funds enable SquareOne Villages to provide staffing support to municipalities seeking assistance with design, planning, and building micro-housing for low-income people.  Invite SquareOne Villages to make a presentation to Douglas County stakeholders this summer.

An enlightening TEDxSalem presentation by Dan Bryant, CEO SquareOne Villages, Eugene, Oregon.  SquareOne Villages is a non-profit organization, 501(c)3 dedicated to advancing the development of tiny home villages for low-income people.

Three years ago, SquareOne Villages built Opportunity Village Eugene, a cluster of 30 small dwellings.  Currently under construction, Emerald Village Eugene will include 22 tiny houses.

SquareOne Villages has acquired grant funds for staff to assist municipalities with the design, planning, and building of micro-house communities.

    

 

MOTHER’S DAY COMPASSIONATE CONNECTION

May 14, 2017

Jimmy Manser, Sandy Montgomery, Majorie Mitchell, and Linda Fisher would not be able to commemorate Mother’s Day with their moms anymore. Their mothers were in heaven. For comfort, companionship, and connection, Jimmy Manser, CEO/Founder, LovesIntention invited these three ladies to join him for Mother’s Day at Sweet Cheeks Winery & Vineyard in Eugene; all expenses paid, including roundtrip transportation, wine/food, and entertainment by Halie and The Moon.

Left to right sitting at table:  Linda Fisher, Sandy Montgomery, and Majorie Mitchell                                                              Standing left to right:  Halie Loren, international acclaimed jazz/pop vocalist/songwriter                                                             and Jimmy Manser, CEO/Founder, LovesIntention

 

Halie and The Moon (left to right): Daniel Gallo, Beau Eastlund, Halie Loren, Bobby Stevens, and Kathryn Dudney  Website:  http://www.halieandthemoon.com/

Halie and The Moon (left to right): Daniel Gallo, Beau Eastlund, Halie Loren, Bobby Stevens, and Kathryn Dudney

Website: http://www.halieandthemoon.com/

Sweet Cheeks Winery's website:  http://sweetcheekswinery.com/

Sweet Cheeks Winery's website: http://sweetcheekswinery.com/

 

 

FREE FIREWOOD FOR WOODSTOVE HEATING

November 27, 2016

To commemorate the holiday season’s heart of generosity and thanksgiving, LovesIntention is coordinating a compassion project to provide free firewood while supplies last throughout November and December 2016.

Project targets the elderly, single mothers, and disabled that meet the following criteria:

1. Financial hardship
2. Woodstove’s primary heat source
3. Firewood (oak, madrone, and fir) is the woodstove’s fuel

Call (541)677-0859 to request assistance. Firewood distribution is scheduled on Saturdays by appointment.

 

 

SAVING GRACE PET ADOPTION CENTER VOLUNTEER

October 8, 2016

LovesIntention is a movement to celebrate kindness, compassion, and voluntary service to strengthen communities. Jimmy Manser’s fifth volunteer venue was added this past week:  Saving Grace Pet Adoption Center.

The only full-service open-admission animal shelter in Douglas County, Oregon, Saving Grace Pet Adoption Center cares for homeless, abandoned or neglected animals.  Their mission includes providing shelter, food and medical care until the animal can be reunited with their families or adopted by a new home.

Jimmy’s primary volunteer role is to walk dogs for exercise, socialization, and basic training.  Jimmy is pictured with Callie, a 7 year old Lhasa Apso.  For more information about adopting an animal or volunteer opportunities, check the Saving Grace Adoption Center’s website:  http://www.savinggrace.info/

 

LAUNDRY LOVE

August 13, 2016

For many Baby Boomers, our Moms in the 1950s hung the wash on a clothesline to dry.  Remember the clothes pins bag, and the parade of white sheets “sailing” on that clothesline on a sunny day?  Mom’s labor of love.  Just so the family’s clothes are clean for school, work, church, and sports.  While it wasn’t necessary to have the latest style, Mom knew that wearing fresh smelling and iron-pressed clothes was important to self-esteem and appearance in the classroom, office, and athletic event. 

We “boomers” blessed with a Mother’s dedication to put “ready to wear” in our closets, can fondly remember that Hallmark picture.  While the world has changed since those “Happy Days”, it continues to be important to wear clean jeans, even if the denim is purposely faded with “designer holes” at the knees!  Everybody wants to be “hip”, but who wants stinky clothes to wear?  Some people may not think they have a choice.

There’s a whole segment of our society that simply doesn’t always have resources for freshly washed clothes.  Homeless.  Unemployed.  People with chronic illness, addiction or mental health disorders.  Dysfunctional families.  The poor and marginalized.  Human dignity and connection to healthy living includes having clean clothes to wear.  Laundry Love, like a Mother’s compassionate heart for her family, serves this mission.

While a national movement, Laundry Love is designed as a local community outreach.  In Roseburg, Garden Valley Church (GVC) has an active Compassionate Ministry that includes Laundry Love.  Coordinated by Linda Greco, Laundry Love is a GVC family affair.  Church members donate quarters and laundry soap to fully support the ministry.  Any person entering the commercial laundromat during Laundry Love is offered assistance, excluding loading clothes into the machines and folding clothes.

According to the Laundry Love website (laundrylove.org), since founded 12 years ago, an estimated 600,000+ loads of laundry has been done, and over 450,000 people served.  If you’d like to start a Laundry Love in your community, explore the video and website for how to get started.  

 

JOY OF A CYCLING VOLUNTEER

July 26, 2016

“Hey, sounds like a great idea, but I could never ride 62 miles!” That’s what some of the women in Marty Fink’s YMCA Indoor Cycling class said when they first heard about Cycle Oregon’s new event, JOY RIDE on June 11, 2016. Just for women.

With only three months to get his women’s group ready, Marty recognized the daunting challenge. The six women in his group were mostly novice and recreational bicyclists. However, Marty was no novice when it came to leading people in recreational venues. While retired from a lengthy YMCA career as CEO, he readily assessed his women’s group capability, and volunteered to train them for success. Marty has been riding and bicycle touring personally and professionally for many years. He’s also a League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor. Yeah, he had the right stuff! One woman in the group needed a bike. Another had never ridden more than 15 miles. Then, there’s the woman that predetermined she could never exceed 30 miles. Marty was very familiar with an individual’s mental preparation, and limiting self-actualization. That’s an incentive for an accomplished mentor that revels in leading people to their potential. Marty was excited to start training his women’s group. He had three months to get the group ready for their best cycling effort.W

To prepare for the JOY RIDE, Marty and his group of six women cycled twice a week in a training format. They built endurance for physical distance and mental courage. He taught them how to use their gears to climb hills, change a flat tire, and how to take care of their tires to prevent the chance of flats. Throughout the training period, Marty shared most of his travel stories with one of the woman to boost her skills and confidence to cycle hills rather than dismount the bike and walk. Most of the women in his group had taken the Safe Cycling class he taught at the YMCA of Douglas County. All six women were “Y” members. Once the three months of training was complete, the group had cycled almost 400 miles; but never more than 40 miles in any one day.

The JOY RIDE event’s day began when the gates opened at Stoller Vineyards in Dayton, Oregon for registration. With over 800 women registered for this historic cycling event, Marty’s group was among the first in line. Perfect temperatures and mostly overcast skies greeted the cyclists for distances of 17, 38 or 62 miles in Oregon’s Dundee Hills. Marty’s group targeted the 62 mile course. Their disciplined training sustained them for the distance, crossing the finish line with smiles, pride and the joy of camaraderie. Marty couldn’t have been more proud! To underscore Marty’s satisfaction, one of woman texted him just after she crossed the finish line with “We did it – 62 miles – we couldn’t’ have done it without you!” Joy in volunteering was Marty’s reward!

94 YEAR OLD TAKES FLIGHT ON JULY 4TH

July 4, 2016

After retiring from the VA Health Care Administration in May 2015, Jimmy Manser formed an internet platform and Facebook page called LovesIntention to inspire generous, kind and compassionate volunteer service in communities.  He volunteers weekly at Brookdale Memory Care, Mercy Health Hospice, and Riverview Terrace Retirement Center. 

For several months Jimmy has been working on a volunteer project for a married couple at the Riverview Terrace Retirement Center.  They have been married for 73 years.  To protect their privacy, their names will not be revealed.  The husband is a 94 year old Veteran.  He was discharged from the Army in 1946.  That same year, he obtained his pilot’s license and joined the Seward Volunteer Ambulance Corp in Alaska.  He was a member for over 20 years; serving as president for 6 of those years. During this span of volunteer service, he logged over 3,000 hours of search and rescue.  He owned one of the airplanes in Seward, which he put into service at his own expense to help people in distress.

While he hasn’t flown an airplane for many decades, his passion for flying had not faded.  When Jimmy mentioned that he would partner with Dave Olson, a local pilot to take him on a short flight around the Umpqua Valley, his spirits soared. 

Dave Olson is a 68 year old retired Army Veteran. Dave has been a licensed pilot since he was 19. He graduated from Roseburg High School in 1966.  He served his country in combat missions, including 7 years with SEAL Team Six.  Dave earned a degree in 1975 from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. 

Dave Olson owns three planes that are hangered at the Roseburg Regional Airport.  For this LovesIntention project, Dave used his 1947 Stenson 108-2 airplane (four-seater).  On the morning of July 4th, 2016, Dave and his newly formed Army friend took flight.  The event was observed by his wife and family.  While the plane was expected to disappear from view for a 30 minute flight over the Umpqua Valley, it returned briefly for a “touch and go”.  To everyone’s surprise, the Stenson once again soared from view.  For a few minutes after watching the plane disappear, everyone wondered where these pilots were heading.  Was their passion for flying taking them to the Oregon coast for a “wing-wave” over the Pacific Ocean?  When the plane finally touched down later that morning, we asked the pilots why they returned to the air instead of landing the plane?  With their combined flight experience of 90 years, they enthusiastically admitted with a sly chuckle, “for a few minutes we debated if we had enough fuel for a fly by Portland, but finally decided to stick to the flight plan”.  Good decision!     

 

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MUSIC FOR HEALING VOLUNTEER

April 2016 

Mercy Medical Center’s Music for Healing lifts the hearts, spirits, and minds of patients, staff and visitors.  Musical volunteers play for nearly 40 minutes at three different stations in the hospital.  Retired VA doctoral physical therapist, Tim Juett, volunteers with Music for Healing, twice a month.  The first time he volunteered to play accordion music was the week of the tragic UCC shooting incident.  Several of the survivors were still hospitalized with their families on vigil.  After playing music for a while, a Red Cross worker, who was there to support UCC victims and families, came forward to Tim.  With tears flowing, she profusely thanked him for the serene peace that his music provided to many traumatized individuals that day. Her emotion evoked Tim’s tears too.  He had no idea of the therapeutic impact of Music of Healing until that moment.  Through volunteering his musical talents in the hospital’s healing ministry, a steady stream of appreciative “thanks” echo from patients, family, and staff.  To consider sharing your talents with Music for Healing, contact Mercy Medical Center: 

http://www.mercyrose.org/volunteers-contact.php

 

EASTER SUNRISE FAMILY BALLOON RELEASE

March 27, 2016

 

 

A VOLUNTEER’S PASSION FOR MISSIONS

 March 2016

Shane Stone took leave from his business and family to join 7 other volunteers on his first mission’s trip to Nicaragua.  The 15 day mission in March 2016 was led by the outreach ministry of Garden Valley Church.  Shane has been on 12 missions to “love on people” in Mexico.  Throughout the prayer-focused mission in Nicaragua, Shane witnessed the healing of about 25 people.  Shane’s prayer commanded Jesus to heal these people.  The evidence of the Lord’s powerful hand was seen in the release of hard-core pain and complete restoration of other physical conditions.  Their prayer ministry took them to people’s homes, some suffering from polio and confined to wheelchairs; and others mining in a rock quarry.  Along their compassionate journey, the mission’s team brought bags of food for the impoverished Nicaraguan people.  Many had not eaten for several weeks.  To fund a mission’s trip next year to put roofs on schools in Nicaragua, Shane’s goal is to raise $45,000 from the business community.  Through his intentional heart, Shane has cultivated a passion to serve God’s people in Nicaragua.  That’s LovesIntention!

 

DANCING WITH THE STARS

March 2016

Through a mission of compassion, kindness and volunteer service, LovesIntention is a social advocacy network, founded by  Jimmy Manser on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2016.  He “walks-the-talk” through his volunteer service at several sites in Roseburg, Oregon.  On St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, he was “dancing-the-talk” at two festive venues, “back to back”.  Brookdale Memory Care’s celebration of the Irish was highlighted by The Accordion Club of Roseburg (pictured above with Jimmy).  Most residents danced in their seats or from their wheelchair.  It appeared the lively music awakened many residents, evidenced by broad smiles, toe tapping, arms waving, and laughter.  A few residents braved the dance floor, followed Jimmy’s lead, and re-discovered their dancing steps with joy and grace.  After an hour of traditional Irish songs featuring the band’s four musical artists, the residents and Jimmy were happily exhausted.  But, wait, there’s more!

After a quick face wipe, Jimmy hustled a few miles over to the Riverview Terrace Retirement Living Center where Tami & Da Boys (pictured below with Jimmy) were already underway with their distinctive St. Patrick’s Day sound.  Besides the decorative atmosphere re-creating an Irish pub, beer and wine, an assortment of cheeses and crackers was also served.  Jimmy’s primary role was to serve residents their favorite beverage and snack, and be available to dance.   Tough volunteer gig, but somebody has to do it!

 

 

HEART FOR THE HOMELESS

March 2016

Have you ever been cold, and dependent on donated clothing to stay warm?  Or, have you been more than hungry, almost to the point of starving, when a service organization’s kitchen gave you nourishment in body and spirit?  Have you ever been soiled in filthy clothes; an unrelenting, odorous moot circling you with no escape; and oily skin and tangled or matted hair signals untouchable until reprieved from a community’s hot shower?

This is the world of the homeless.  Putting aside judgement for their circumstances, the homeless population are on the edges of society.  These harsh realities of the homeless resonated in Chelsey Brown, age 32, wife, and mother of four children.  She decided to take action in October 2015.

Led by her charitable heart, Chelsey formed a volunteer group with a vision to feed the homeless.  With no formalized experience in leading an organized effort, Chelsey charged forward with a passion to serve.  Her drive, vision, and energy forged a partnership with many local charities that donated the food and supplies required; and the Senior Center became the event’s sponsor.  On Christmas Eve 2015, her group of volunteers fed over 300 homeless and seniors, issued clothing, hygiene products, and gift cards.  At the end of the evening, a surplus of donated supplies was transferred to the Roseburg Dream Center, a non-profit with a pantry and clothing distribution program.  

Chelsey’s leadership acumen has spurred her to organize another event to feed the homeless and seniors on Saturday, March 26th at the Senior Center.  Her compassion coupled with her talents to align with other volunteers and donors will propel achievement in the goal to serve at least 200 people.  

 

 

 

ROSEBURG COMMUNITY SENDS GET WELL PACKAGE TO VERMONT BOY

March 2016

Sharon Gratton is Jacob’s mother. They live in Arlington, Vermont, but reached across the globe, telling their story, seeking goodwill from the world community. Ten-year-old Jacob has crucial surgeries scheduled in March 2016. Through his mother’s Facebook page, Jacob appealed for cards and patches to sustain a positive and healing frame of mind during this challenging time. 

Jacob Gratton was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation type 1 and suffers from various genetic issues. Born with an open skull, doctors were able to close his skull, but he’s developmentally delayed and suffers from seizures. While Jacob attends the third grade, his mental capability is 5 years old.

The scheduled operation will take bone from Jacob’s skull to relieve cranial pressure and also remove a vertebrae in his neck. After this surgical procedure, he’ll return for eye surgery. Jacob’s two weeks of recovery will keep him out of school, and limited physical activity for six to eight weeks. During this time at home, he expects to be buoyed from cards and patches from people wishing him a healthy and fast recovery.

The Facebook campaign created a response from well-wishers in Nebraska, California, England, Germany, South Africa, Australia, Thailand, Norway, Iceland, Hawaii, and Scotland. In addition to cards, Jacob has appreciated the patches from police officers, military personnel and firefighters.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, Chiari Malformation type 1 occurs when the base of the skull and upper spinal area don't connect properly. Jacob is part of a study being done at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in the state of New Hampshire. The study requires Jacob to have tests every six months, plus any necessary surgeries. The study’s goal is to determine how Jacob got the disorder.

To join in this outpouring of global support, the community of Roseburg, Oregon responded with the Jacob Gratton Patches Package Project, facilitated by LovesIntention. Roseburg’s identity is well-established in generous and compassionate service; a community of good people with integrity and heart.

Jacob’s Patches Package included:

  • Letter from Larry Rich, Roseburg’s Mayor

  • Book entitled Images of America, Roseburg, provided by Lance Colley, Roseburg’s City Manager

  • DVD entitled land of Umpqua, a land of authentic adventures, provided by Jimmy Manser, Founder of LovesIntention

  • An assortment of 20 patches from police, sheriff, and fire departments, coordinated by Jim Burge, Roseburg’s Police Chief

  • 44 get-well cards from Hucrest Elementary School’s third grade students, coordinated by the principal, Doug Freeman

  • 23 get-well cards from residents of Brookdale Memory Care, coordinated by program director, Sandy Montgomery

While Jacob is certain to enjoy reading all the good wishes within the package, here’s an example:

Dear Jacob,

My name is Kate and I’m 8 years old and in third grade like you.  I hope you get well soon and I think your dog is cute.  I think that you are so brave that when you grow up you could be a firefighter or a police because sometimes they have pet dogs like you do.  I also think that you’re lucky to have such a cute dog because I don’t have a dog.  I also think that you are lucky to be allowed to bring a dog to school because I’m not allowed to even if I had a dog.  I wish you many happy more years to come.

Love, Kate 

The Patches Package Project was reported by KPIC on March 15, 2016:  http://kpic.com/news/local/roseburg-students-send-uplifting-letters-to-vermont-boy-suffering-rare-disorder

MERCY HEALTH HOSPICE VOLUNTEER

February 2016

LovesIntention is a movement to celebrate kindness and compassion. Intentional acts of voluntary service to strengthen communities. One of Jimmy Manser's three volunteer venues is Mercy Health Hospice in Roseburg, Oregon. His mentor is Anita Smith (pictured above with Jimmy) who prepared him with comprehensive training. While he serves as a volunteer, the role is a valued member of the hospice multi-disciplinary team. The team supports the whole person, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Care focuses on restoring dignity and a sense of personal fulfillment to the dying by allowing choices, listening, and caring.

 

BROOKDALE MEMORY CARE VOLUNTEER

February 2016

LovesIntention’s mission is to inspire generous, kind and compassionate volunteer service in communities. Cultivating a yielding of the heart’s goodness to share time, talents, and resources to help buoy and heal people in their broken places. One of Jimmy Manser's three volunteer venues is Brookdale Memory Care in Roseburg, Oregon. His mentor is Sandy Montgomery (pictured above with Jimmy). He reads poems to the residents and assists with the monthly bus trip to Wildlife Safari. While visiting with Sandy recently, residents were listening to a volunteer musician playing his clarinet; bringing alive many of the popular standards of their lifetime. As Jimmy walked by, a resident was dancing alone, moving freely about the floor. Soon as their eyes met, the resident beckoned him to dance with her. The spontaneous moment of dancing with a partner sparked a joy for her.

 

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RIVERVIEW TERRACE RETIREMENT LIVING VOLUNTEER

February 2016

One of three volunteer venues, Jimmy Manser serves at Riverview Terrace Retirement Living in Roseburg, Oregon. His mentor is the Activity Director, Yolonda Jorgenson (pictured above with Jimmy). Thursday afternoon is his volunteer day with residents, assisting with scheduled activities:  bingo, conversation with Veterans, and the popular wine social, which includes musical entertainment.  Most residents are seniors, retired, and many are elderly.  Through Jimmy’s interactions with residents, there’s clarity in the moment; whether through a smile, gentle touch, or simple, kind words.  The intent is a palpable joy, an authentic presence. Respect.  Honoring where they are in this phase of life.  Connecting intentionally with a generous heart, making a difference.

 

ADOPT-A-BLOCK VOLUNTEER

February 2016

Brian Prawitz is blessed with a large family and thriving marketing company, BP Media.  He’s busy loving his prized family, and delighted to be a successful entrepreneur.  Even with these priorities, Brian has cultivated a generous heart, volunteering in multiple venues.  His faith is a trusted compass.  For the past two years, Brian has been part of a group of guys who get together every Saturday morning at the Roseburg Dream Center. They have a bible study, share a little bit about what’s happening in their lives, listen to a worship song, pray and hit the SE part of Roseburg looking for ways to serve through the Roseburg Dream Center’s Adopt-A-Block program.

The idea is to take simple tools like rakes, shovels, gloves, garbage bags, weed whackers and lawn mowers and serve. They are motivated by a love for Jesus and faith that instructs them to serve the least of these.  They use their hands and backs to reach into the hearts of the hurting people who would never otherwise interact with ‘church people’.  They certainly look for opportunities to talk to people about their faith. They encourage them to read their Bibles and seek Jesus. But, they also have learned the value of approaching people with no agenda. They want them to see Jesus without them saying a word.

They usually cover Mill and Pine Streets, looking for garbage to haul, parking strips to mow, leaves to rake or simple clean-up tasks the neighbors ask them to do. They have installed ceiling fans and dishwashers; removed rank smelling couches and mattresses; and carefully picked up hypodermic needles laying on sidewalks. They have raked millions of leaves, swept abandoned parking lots, repaired broken doorknobs, cleaned out a creek choked with blackberries and installed a wheelchair ramp. One time, they relocated a chicken coop for a woman who woke up that morning asking God to somehow help her move the heavy, bulky thing.  At Christmas, they hand out stockings for the kids. For Mother’s Day, they hand out roses to the women.

They have relationships with nearly everyone on Mill Street and a good number of people on Pine. Brian has shaken hands and prayed with people high on heroin and meth, watched drug deals go down and seen inside some homes that no human being should occupy. They were there to lend a hand to a couple who was burned out of their home the day before. The idea is to establish relationships with people in the neighborhood before something bad happens, so when it goes sideways for them, they already have a foundation of trust to build on.

Sometimes it’s just Brian and a friend. Every once in a while they will go out alone. From time to time they get a larger group to come out with them. It doesn’t matter how many there are or what church they go to. All they need are willing hearts and common everyday tools. They have worked through driving rain and the heat of summer. Nothing stops them from serving the people they have come to care deeply for.

Recently, Brian and a friend decided to go do something that he is sure no one else would ever volunteer for: clean the parking garage in downtown Roseburg.  In addition to being a big, ugly cement structure for local businesspeople to park in, the garage is also a haven for homeless activity. Human waste and a wide variety of rubbish greet most anyone who has the misfortune of climbing the stairs up and down between their vehicles and their place of work.  Leaves are strewn in the inner corners of the structure and countless cigarette butts, wrappers and bottles decorate the fringes.  Seeing the mess on a daily basis – and knowing that absolutely no one would ever lower themselves to doing it – he decided to suggest cleaning the parking structure one morning as they prepared to go out. That day, there was one other guy who was kind of getting acclimated to Adopt-A-Block, and he thought it sounded like a good idea.  So, they shoveled hard packed soaked wet leaves, old paper cups, broken glass and cigarette butts into our garbage bags. They used a blower to corral loose leaves left inside and braved the threat of used needles when they scooped them up.  When they were done, it really didn’t seem like much. But, they knew that they had just done something that needed to be done and even though the city pays people to do what they did, they did it simply because they were being obedient to the call of Jesus.  The only people who saw them working in the parking garage that day were two city employees on parking patrol. One of them warned Brian against picking up a pile of leaves due to the sharp glass or needles that could be hidden inside. When he expressed surprise at their actions, Brian said something along the lines of “We’re doing this because we love Jesus.”  As Brian walked away, he wondered what that must have sounded like. If the fellow he was talking to had faith, he might have understood. But if not, Brian thought, he must be asking himself what sweeping a filthy parking garage has to do with showing love for Jesus.  Brian hopes he keeps asking that question until he finds an answer. Brian hopes someday he asks him what he meant so he can explain it to him.  Until then, Brian and the crew will be doing Adopt-A-Block on Saturday mornings in Roseburg, looking for other people to bless in the hopes that they can see Jesus in them without them having to say a word. 

To learn more, visit the Roseburg Dream Center Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Roseburg-Dream-Center-807046769377979/?fref=ts

 

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VOLUNTEER POET

February 2016

Shooting stars are the streaks of light produced when a meteoroid burns up in the earth's atmosphere. It looks like a star falling toward earth as it momentarily flashes in the night sky. There it is. Gone. Ephemeral beauty. Living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is like that. Life is often moment to moment without history or recall. Capacity for treasured memories is limited or lost.

People with cognitive challenges require specially designed living spaces and supporting environments for their safety and quality of life. Jimmy Manser volunteers at Brookdale Memory Care in Roseburg, Oregon. His role is to connect authentically with residents, smile assuredly, speak compassionately, and affirm their dignity. Being present. Shaping their world in a safe and happy place.

What does a seahorse, lizard, croc, snowman, angel, thunderbird, and octopus have in common? They are characters in a series of poems Jimmy reads to the residents. With a large aquarium as a backdrop for his stage, poems are read often with animation and cadence for dramatic flair. Residents prefer Jimmy to sing the poems, however. How does he know? Spontaneous smiles and laughter reveal arrival to their happy place.

In Jimmy's volunteer capacity as interim poet, he earnestly seeks sharing time and space with the residents. Reading poems connects him with residents for a season. To be trusted, invited, and accepted into their ephemeral world is an honor. Like watching a shooting star, it’s a beautiful place that touches the heart.