Mission
 
The Christmas Joy Offering
 
 Presbyterians have long celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ by giving generously to an Advent offering. The Christmas Joy Offering dates back to the 1930s when the former Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) began an offering to supplement inadequate retirement income and provide supplemental medical insurance for former ministers, missionaries, church workers, and their families.
 
In the former United Presbyterian Church of the United States of America (UPCUSA), a Christmas offering was first taken in 1960. Called the White Gift, its funds were used for general mission and world relief. In 1964 the name was changed to the Christmas Offering, and receipts provided support for health and welfare concern continued until 1973, when the offering was used to assist former servants of the church who were living on inadequate pensions.
 
In 1988 the PCUS and the UPCUSA offerings were joined into one offering, the Christmas Offering Joy Gift.  In 1989 the offering was renamed the Christmas Joy Offering, and in 1991 the 203rd General Assembly changed the distribution of funds to 50% of the Board of Pensions and 50% to the Presbyterian racial ethnic schools and colleges.
Enclosed in this month’s newsletter is an envelope for the Christmas Joy Offering. The church will be collecting the offering on Sunday, December 21.  If you will be unable to attend the service that day please mail your envelope to the church.  Make the check payable to First Presbyterian Church and on the memo line write 2014 Christmas Joy Offering.
 

KROGER REWARDS
          
There's a *FREE* and easy way to support our church's anti-hunger efforts, including the new backpack program for the Alternative School and the Deacon's Christmas Party.
              The church recently signed up to participate in the Kroger Community Care program and with 17 families participating we earned nearly $200 last quarter alone! Simply by signing up your Kroger Plus Card (directions below) and scanning your card when you shop at Kroger, you can help alleviate hunger right in our community. It's that simple. Nothing extra to buy and no checks to write. Just do your regular grocery shopping.
Follow these directions: Go to www.kroger.com, sign in, click on "my account". Scroll down to Community Rewards, click edit. For organization, First Presbyterian Church of Bowling Green (Organization Number: 91930)
You may need to create an account, if you have not done so already. That's pretty simple - just follow the directions on kroger.com. Registering your card brings additional benefits. Kroger offers many instant win games, electronic coupons and Friday Freebies - an electronic coupon for a total free item! 
If you have questions, please see Lisa Lawson for assistance. Enroll today and help us end hunger!
 
If you would like to find out how to help with the Iraq Crisis please click here./home/180003323/180003323/Iraqi%20Crisis%20Sept%202014.pdf

  
 
Wood County Alternative School
 
We have welcomed the “Alternative High School” into two rooms beyond our pastors offices. As the purposes match our mission goals, we charge only a token fee. The students are marvelous assistants in helping manage clothes from our Deacons’ Shop. Here is description of their program:
 
The Wood County Alternative School provides a safe learning environment for at-risk youth from 10 public school districts and a vocational school in Wood County, Ohio.  Through educational and behavioral interventions, the program provides each student with the opportunity to improve or restore an educational career that has been impaired by expulsion, incarceration, poor grades, or a number of other adverse conditions.  The target population of the Alternative School is at-risk students in Wood County grades 6-12.  These students have exhausted nearly all traditional school options available to them through their home schools. 

Services and instruction are provided in the core academic areas, career development, school-to-work transitions, behavior interventions, group drug and alcohol education sessions, and group “teen topic” sessions.  Core academic classes are taught each day with additional opportunities for support with individualized credit recovery courses.  A community service component is also included in the program that is intended to foster in students a sense of civic and personal pride as well as provide them an opportunity to learn various hands-on skills that may prove beneficial in other settings. 
 
The program occupies room 113 and room 114 - one being the classroom, the other as a group / multi-purpose room.  The program is staffed by Rebecca Pisula- full-time teacher, Jennifer Irvin-full-time Outreach Coordinator, and Laura Gahn- part-time Intervention Specialist.  Operating on a typical public school schedule, the program runs 185 days a year, which consist of a five day week with seven hour days.  Average placements for the Long Term Program are one semester with a minimum placement requirement of 45 days.  The program provides an alternative learning environment where academic credits can continue to be earned and appropriate social / behavioral interventions can be addressed.  This mission is met with a philosophy that all students are worthy of dignity and respect.  By providing an environment for effective, positive, change for students through communication, cooperation, and parental involvement, the program believes all students are capable of learning and achieving success.
 
Strategies used to facilitate student success include: *Increasing student, parent, and school personnel communication and participation* Increasing the academic skills of students in the core academic areas * Assisting students in developing positive values, internal control, and coping skills * Improving individual and group decision making skills through integrated counseling and classroom interventions * Improving students’ abilities to adjust to changes in the environment while developing a positive self concept * Increasing positive work habits, study skills, and life skills * Providing assistance with correspondence course work * Issuing bi-weekly report cards * Providing small group and individual instruction that addresses the specific academic and social/behavioral needs of each student. 
 
The community service component of the program is not only designed to foster in students a sense of community and civic pride, but also a necessary element in increasing a students’ sense of self-worth.  By learning various hands-on skills and completing projects that utilize these skills, students are given an opportunity to gain a sense of accomplishment.  In turn, students may draw on these experiences and reach success in other areas of life.  The community service component of the program consists of the following opportunities: * Litter patrol * Assistance in Special Olympic games * Planting bulbs / flowers * Maintaining flowerbeds * Recycling * volunteering at food pantries * Sorting, and displaying clothing and household items for the Deacon Shop.  The Alternative School is readily available to contribute to a variety of organizations and projects that serve community interest.  Previous community service partners have included: * Bowling Green Schools * Bowling Green City Parks * Wood County Nursing Home * Wood Count Board of Developmental Disabilities * Wood County Council on Aging * Bowling Green Food Pantries * Wood County Educational Service Center Special Needs Programs * Habitat for Humanity *