77’7″ Kerrville Cross Raised on IH-10, Ending 9 Year Epic Struggle

Tuesday, July 27th a two-million-dollar, 70-ton, 77’7″ red-brown contemporary sculpture named The Empty Cross™ was erected by The Coming King Foundation (TCKF) overlooking Interstate 10, half-way between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, on the transcontinental highway that connects California and Florida. The purpose, according to TCKF Vice President Jim McKnight, is to “draw people to God and to bless all those who visit the 23 acre Sculpture Prayer Garden in Kerrville, which will be free to the public.”

The week-long process to erect the cross began on Monday morning, July 26th. Eagle Bronze of Lander, WY supervised the raising of the massive cross sculpture with the help of local welders, steel erectors, and crane companies. This historic event caps a 9-year epic struggle to raise the cross which included several financial“miracles”, threats and attacks by atheists and others opposed to the cross, numerous letters to the media and city government, and a lawsuit filed by neighboring landowners, which was settled.

The spiritual park, located at the main entrance of Kerrville, looks like the “Holy Land” and happens to be at the same latitude as Israel. The “Hill Country” town of Kerrville is home to about 23,000 people. It is known for its beautiful Guadalupe River, scenic views, and abundant wildlife. The area is a favorite of tourists, campers and hunters from across the USA. Only 60 miles northwest of San Antonio’s main tourist attractions, the Alamo and River Walk, over a thousand people a day are expected to visit the free “Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden” when it is completed.

Sudie Burditt, Director of the Kerrville Convention & Visitors Bureau, said: “Thanks to TCKF for making our world aware of Kerrville, Texas. The national publicity it has received for the Sculpture Prayer Garden is enormous, and the publicity and awareness of the City of Kerrville is great for our economy. As the Garden is developed and the beautiful art is put in place, the rocky, cedar-covered hillside will become a place of beauty and serenity that will attract visitors for generations to come. These visitors will eat, sleep and shop in Kerrville, making a positive growth impact on our hospitality industry.”

The non-denominational Christian Garden and the seven-story hollow cross sculpture are the “vision” of artist/evangelist Max Greiner, Jr., a 1974 architecture design graduate of Texas A&M University. The spiritually symbolic, Cor-tin steel cross is the largest sculpture featured in the Garden park and the largest sculpture ever created by the artist and his foundry, Eagle Bronze, of Lander, WY, one of the largest art bronze foundries in the USA.

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Co-operative Awarded For Charity Partnerships

The UK’s largest community retailer, The Co-operative Group has been honoured with two prestigious awards for its pioneering charity partnership work, which focuses on young people, in this year’s Business Charity Awards.

The Group scooped both the Employment Award and Best UK Project Award at London’s Grosvenor House last week. The winning projects are prime examples of The Co-operative’s work to inspire young people to change their world for the better.

The Employment Award 2010 went to the retailer for its pioneering Making Opportunities scheme which was set up to ensure that it’s stores reflected the diverse nature of the communities in which it trades.

Through the programme, The Co-operative, working with the charity Mencap, introduces people with learning difficulties into paid employment, through the process of a work trial, which replaces the interview process.

Gwynneth Smedley, Regional Operations Director for The Co-operative Food, said: “By working with the charity Mencap we are engaging one of the most excluded groups of disabled people, providing them with the opportunity to reach their potential, gain meaningful work experience and employment, and contribute to society.

“There are currently over 1.3 million disabled people in the UK who are available for work and who want to work. Our Making Opportunities scheme is unique in that it offers guaranteed paid employment to people with learning difficulties on successful completion of a work trial. So far, 154 people have taken part in the work trial and 92 have been offered permanent employment within our Co-operative Food stores (80 of which are 25 or under).”

During the event, The Co-operative Group also received The Best UK Project Award for its Co-operative StreetGames Young Volunteers programme. The product of a close working relationship with national sports charity, StreetGames, the programme supports 16-25 year olds from the most deprived communities across England and Wales to develop their talents and abilities through sports volunteering in their local communities and is just one part of The Co-operative’s contributions towards corporate social responsibility.

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National Trust Opens Wild Child Competition

The National Trust has opened a competition that will see the winner go on a money-can’t-buy experience with a National Trust Ranger.

To enter the competition, contestants simply need to send in details of their experiences of going wild outdoors at one of the National Trust’s summer events.

Competition judges are looking for great photos taken in nature, poetical musings on bugs and beasties, stories about wildlife adventures, doodles inspired by the great outdoors. In short, anything that shows the entrant is a wild child. Entries received will be put into an online gallery which will allow visitors to vote on popular entries.

Entries can be e-mailed or sent in the post to the National Trust. Anything mailed will be scanned and, like e-mail entries, uploaded to the gallery after moderation.

Winners will go on a fantastic day out with one of the National Trust nature conservation experts, getting up close and personal with creepy crawlies, shy creatures and wild landscapes. Winners can bring a friend or parent/guardian with them to join in the behind-the-scenes adventure. The competition winner will have a choice of National Trust sites to explore, including sandy beaches, open moorland and garden visits.

There are thousands of Wild Child events across England, Wales and Northern Ireland this summer, from safaris and bug hunts to pond dipping and bat watching, there’s plenty of ways to get close to nature.

The competition closes 1 November 2010 at midnight and winners will be notified by post within 28 days of this date. Entrants under 16 years of age should ask a parent or guardian before giving contact details.

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Fostering People Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

Fostering People, the Independent Fostering Agency, celebrates its 10 year anniversary in September this year, following a decade of sustained growth.

Fostering People Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

The Nottingham based fostering agency will be hosting a range of activities and events to mark the occasion, drawing together foster carers, looked after children and young people, birth children and staff.

The main event, a special celebratory day to be held in September, has been organised by a focus group at Fostering People. Along with a range of games and activities, the day will host special long service awards for young people, carers and staff who have been with the agency throughout its duration.

The 10 year anniversary marks a significant milestone in the company’s development. Originally set up to provide fostering services in the East Midlands, the agency has since expanded to offer its services across Central England, the North West and the North East of England. To date, Fostering People has over 115 foster carers registered with them, with over 190 children and young people in placements.

Its growth has been recently boosted by the launch of a new carer recruitment focussed website, providing an extended amount of information about fostering children and targeted at recruiting foster carers across Central and Northern England. The website also supports the agency’s ongoing expansion to provide a service for fostering in Manchester.

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Hispaniola’s Best Supports USO and Street Children of Haiti

Our children and our soldiers are among our most precious resources. Premier coffee manufacturer Hispaniola’s Best is supporting both with generous donations from the sale of their organic coffee.

“We work with farming communities in Haiti and the Dominican Republic to provide…the best coffee in the Caribbean while supporting agricultural programs in both countries,” says Hispaniola’s Best co-founder Guy Ali.

Ali was born in Haiti, and his partner and co-founder (who chooses to remain anonymous) is a veteran. The company is currently throwing the weight of its premier organic coffee behind both causes by donating 25% of its sales to the Help the Street Children Orphanage of Haiti and 15% of all sales to the USO.

“[It’s] great coffee for a great cause,” says Ali. “Our main mission is to make a positive impact in the world’s most underdeveloped countries. We support farmers and orphans by partnering with Help Street Children to help children that are affected by the earthquake in Haiti.”

What sets Hispaniola ‘s Best apart from the dozens of other coffee beans on the market is the soil in which it grew. Coffee grown throughout Central and South America grows on volcanic soil, giving it a bitter and more pungent taste than coffee grown in the limestone and granite-based soils of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The soil, coupled with a longer growing season and the no-pesticide policy of the local farmers, contributes to a richer taste from a more mature bean.

“Hispaniola doesn’t have dry and rainy seasons, therefore the coffee has a long growin g s eason with multiple harvests. It ripens slowly, which is often credited with more flavorful beans. We have the best tasting coffee from the Caribbean,” states Ali. “Organic, made from 100% Arabica beans…our coffee is so good it can become addictive!”

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Foundation for a Healthier America Fights Childhood Obesity with FUN Programs

Our children are among our most precious resources. Cincinnati nonprofit organization COFHA is on a mission to conquer childhood obesity one child at a time.

“Our mission is to teach children the importance of making healthy choices as early in life as possible” says COFHA co-founder Dwight Quinn.

Quinn, along with his co-founder Joan Dreier, launched Conquer Obesity – Foundation for a Healthier America in 2010 to provide FUN (Friends & Us Networking Together) programs and activities for children as well as parents in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. “We believe our programs will have the most impact on the children, when parents and guardians also get involved,” states Quinn. “We’ve created family fun activities, encouraging parents to become coaches, trainers and volunteers.”

The nonprofit foundation also strives to be the most current and effective health education resource of child nutrition and physical activity. Serving as a grant maker, innovator and volunteer, COFHA will conduct research to identify developing trends in childhood obesity and educate school children using entertaining presentations.

“Our goal is to seek healthy choices and to identify, evaluate and promote programs needed to change how we as people, look at obesity,” states Quinn.”This is a practical starting point to improving our overall human condition. Our future is dependent on this investment in our children.”

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