M.A.D.E. Turns 7 and We’re Making Today Count!

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M.A.D.E. Turns 7 and We’re Making Today Count!

Today, we celebrate seven years of making a difference in our city! Believe it or not, 2,556 days have passed, and our passion to become a generation of difference makers has grown all the more. We are so grateful to have the opportunity to meet some of the amazing individuals which compose the beautiful city of Miami. Some of these are women and children who have been victims of domestic violence and are looking for a fresh start. Others, are children of immigrant workers in Homestead who are learning about a new country and new language. A very special group of individuals with disabilities have also been part of our journey in making a difference. Some of these extraordinary people have been our very own difference makers which serve the community month in and month out. And so many hundreds more which we have crossed paths with throughout this time; every single one counts. 


As we begin a new year of service, we want you to know that YOU are also one of those exceptional individuals who can make a difference in their everyday life so we put together a list of seven practical ways to make a difference: 

  1. Make yourself available: Maybe for you that means setting apart 30 minutes each week to have coffee with a friend to check how they are doing emotionally. Maybe for someone else that means having lunch with a co-worker or classmate that you know is going through a rough time. Or maybe, that simply means asking “how are you?” and taking the time to listen to someone’s real answer. Whatever it looks like for you, make yourself available emotionally and with time, and quickly you’ll impact someone’s life. 

  2. Greet others: Let’s break the stereotypes of our generation and greet others. You can say “good morning” when you walk into an office or are walking down the street, smile, and brighten up someone’s day. You can say “thank you” when someone holds the door open and be genuinely grateful. Choose to be the light in a dark room by simply being polite. 

  3. Pick up 10 pieces of trash when you go to the beach or park: Imagine the impact we would have on our environment if everyone put this into practice. It will take about 5 minutes of your time and you will not only help better conserve the environment, but will also leave it cleaner for the person that comes after you. 

  4. Use your birthday for good: Whether it’s donating your birthday gifts to a non-profit through Facebook donations or spending your day following an “acts of kindness” list with your friends, there’s many ways to spend your special day making a difference. 

  5. Clean out your closet every 3 months: Seasons change and so does your closet. Instead of letting things pile up, clean out your closet every 3 months and donate your clothes to a homeless shelter. It will be a fresh start for both you and the people you serve. 

  6. Be intentional, send a text: Sometimes our friends are hurting and all they need is someone to reach out. Having a good support system drastically improves the rate of depression and anxiety recovery and you could be that difference maker. Text someone you haven’t heard from today and have a meaningful conversation. Ask about their family, work, school, situation, and be intentional with every response. 

  7. Sign up for a monthly service event through M.A.D.E, your local church, or any organization in need of volunteers.: Once a month, we hold an event that impacts our community. We choose a different area to reach each month so you can see all of the different issues which need volunteers to make a difference. Whether is through M.A.D.E., church, or any other non-profit, take one day of the month to give back, love others, and shine a light; you won’t regret it. 


What we have learned on this journey is that every person matters and everyone deserves to be loved. No one is excluded from this, which means even the youngest volunteer can make an impact in our city and that has been our goal from day one. We hope that you celebrate with us today and continue being part of our vision to build up a generation that makes a difference in their society. 


Alejandra Alvarado and Ester Avero

M.A.D.E. Co-Founders 


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One for All, and All for One

Proverbs 17:17



We are constantly going through new obstacles in every new step of of our lives. These challenges aren’t always bad, many times they offer new experiences in order to push us out of our comfort zone so that we can learn more about ourselves, the life we live, or just teach us new skills. Other times these situations may not always be in or favor , they may be adversities that were thrusted upon us without any warning. Despite whatever situation it is, the most important part is in how we choose to see the problem and the actions we take.


If you're anything like me you were thought to be independent. At a young age the idea of self sufficiency and unreliance on anybody was heavily enforced into my core ideals. If there was a situation that I wasn't able to handle on my own, then there wouldn't be any reason for anybody else to go out of their way and lend a helping hand; my problems were my own and nobody else would care if I got through them or not. Basically the mentality boiled down to “im on  my own and that's just how life is”. I quickly learned that I was wrong, by keeping our problems to ourselves we become isolated and distant from the people that we most care about. God never wanted us to live a life by ourselves, he never created just one person, He created two, and went on to tell us to make more.


We were always meant to live as a community, living together; both encouraging and relying on each other for support. When we choose to rely on community it allows others to bring in new perspective and clarity into the obstacle your currently facing. It takes you away from a position of isolation into one of support and love.


Whenever I think of community I always think of the old three musketeers Disney movie with Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. The motto for the three musketeers is famously “one for all, and all for one”. While the line comes from a silly cartoon, it still has a lot of truth to it, we are supposed to live together and the success of one is the success of all. When we stumble in our lives and we get back up, it becomes not just your accomplishment, but also the accomplishment of everyone around you. Community gives help to those who need it, encouragement to those who are down, and celebration in the success of each other.


Stop living as an individual and start seeing yourself as a part of your community. Don’t just help out your community, but learn to let your community help you.

William Rivero

Service Liaison


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Breathing New Life

Ezekiel 37:1-14

 

Have you ever felt stuck mentally, physically or even spiritually?

In other words, have you ever felt paralyzed? Feeling, like you can't go on with your life? Even better, Have you ever questioned God, wondering why you are going through a particular situation, why he hasn't answered your prayers yet or also asked him what plans he has in stored for you?

Personally speaking, not that long ago I went through a season in my life where I felt like everything was going downhill, where my emotions began to overcome the best of me, where I felt alone, where I questioned God of my very own existence. It was a time where I had just given up on myself, and I began pretending like everything was okay when it wasn't. On the inside, I can say that I was a wreck and the worst part of it all, was that I became complacent with it.

I couldn't understand why I was going through certain situations that in my mind had no end to them. It was a time where God was longing for my heart, but I decided to run from him. It was a time that I decided to take matters into my own hands rather than seeking God for guidance and allowing him to handle it for me. It was a time where I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

 

And let's be honest, in the course of our lives how many times have we ever felt like this?

 

Let me lead you into a little secret:

- God is an ever-present God, who knows of your struggles and situations you may be going through.

- He longs for your heart and soul regardless of your past, present or future. - He will relentlessly chase after you no matter how far you run.

- Lastly, God is a God who has a plan and purpose for your life.

 

One night, I saw myself in the mirror and thought what am I doing with myself? Enough is enough. I decided to read scripture, and God lead me to Ezekiel 37:1-14. In this passage, it talks about the vision where God sets Ezekiel down in a valley full of dry bones. God asks Ezekiel if these bones can live, and he replies by saying only God himself knows. But God with his bright mind turns the scenario by telling Ezekiel to prophesy, telling the bones that they'll live, that the breath of God will enter them, causing them to join together bone to bone and covering them with flesh once again. Ezekiel prophesied for the breath of life to enter these bones, and it was so they came to life.

 

You see as believers,

- We have the power to breathe new life into our very own dry bones.

- We can change our circumstances.

- We can leave any place of isolation.

- We have the power to overcome our emotions and fears.

- We have the ability to move forward.

 

It took me a while to understand what this meant, but once I let my convictions go, I became a new person. My afflictions no longer bounded me, my cares and worries were taken care of, and my life became anew because God breathed living breath into my dry bones.

 

So, what are you going to do?

I encourage you to leave your comfort zone and seek him. Remember He is longing to have intimacy with you. He wants to know the desires of your heart, even amid your hardships. Seek your identity in him and him alone; you are a son and daughter of God and no weapon from the enemy shall ever seize to harm you. Let us not forget that you were created for a purpose, to be a difference maker.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         This is my prayer for you:

I truly believe that God is calling every single one of you.

He wants to breathe new life into your dry bones.

Regardless of your past or the season that you may be in right now, He is longing for your heart.

Let's not be complacent with ourselves and allow Him to work within you.

May He mend you, shape you into the difference maker you're called to be. Let's not stay in one place but instead let's take action and allow your calling to unravel itself so you may see the wonders that God has in store for you.

 

Much love,

Emmy Alvarado

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2018 Recap

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2018 Recap

2018 Recap

The year 2018 was definitely one for the books. It was filled with new adventures and challenges. At the beginning of the year, we began with a vision to experience God’s more in our lives and in M.A.D.E. We held on to Ephesians 3:20, in which God promises to do exceedingly more than we can ask or imagine.

We embarked on new adventures serving alongside new organization such as La Ventana de los Cielos, Bridge to Hope, and our first Beach Clean-Up. Moreover, we stepped out of our comfort zone and hosted our first away camp- Made Complete 2018; by far, the best camp yet.

We are incredibly excited and expectant to start a brand new year and everything that it will bring. We are starting this year with the vision of living aware every day in every area of our lives. We believe that as we become aware, we can live aware. New adventures are coming our way; it is our desire to be focused, enjoy the moment, and keep walking by faith as God guides this journey. Furthermore, we are expectant to see what God will do at this year’s camp, “Made For All”.

We encourage each and every one of you to live aware and expectant in 2019. We appreciate all of your support and prayers as we jump into our 7th year of service and commitment to our youth and our community. We have seen the more of God and are excited that the best is still yet to come!

Alejandra Alvarado

Co-founder & Vice- President



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Attitude of Gratitude

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Attitude of Gratitude

“New year, new me” is a phrase that we tell each other to express our desire to change. We set these expectations on ourselves in the hopes of turning our life around when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. We cherish the memories, smiles, laughs, and even the tough times we experienced in the year, but at the same time, we hope for more in the year to come.

However, in the midst of the hype of new year resolutions, it would do us good to adopt gratitude rather than just focusing on what’s next. Learning to live with continual gratitude is one of the most worthwhile goals that we can have. When we are in a permanent state of gratitude, our life dramatically changes. We view our circumstances in a different light, people respond to us more positively, and we simply are happier.

In our modern world of ever-present social media and easy access to different types of products, there's often little space given to reflecting on the people and experiences that fill our lives with meaning and purpose. Places like church, which have traditionally served the function of giving people a time and place to step away from daily stressors, responsibilities, and distractions, help cultivate a grateful heart. Likewise, close relationships and the bond of marriage help instill gratitude in others by generating feelings of meaning and purpose in life. Church communities and close relationships are just a few ways to cultivate gratitude, but if we were to name them all, we'd probably break the internet.

Life is difficult and sometimes it’s hard to be grateful, but the beauty of it all is that God doesn’t just work to change our situations and help us through our problems. He does more. He changes our hearts. His power through grateful hearts and minds focused on Him releases the grip our struggles have over us. We're strengthened by His peace and refueled by His joy when we’re thankful. And when we don’t feel grateful, we can go to His Word, which is filled with many reminders of how powerful and vital a thankful heart is in this life.

Gratitude isn’t just about saying “thank you” enough” times. It’s about changing the way you view everything in your life and how you operate on a day-to-day basis. Once you adopt an attitude of gratitude, you will be amazed at how many areas of your life will improve.

Juan Medina

Creative Developer

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Breathe

“Life moves at a million miles per hour.”

I don't remember where I first heard this phrase. At this point, I think it's one of those phrases that everybody just knows. Life flies by in an instant. One moment you’re a small kid just starting kindergarten with nothing more than an excited smile and a backpack in your hand, and then all of a sudden you’re a freshman in college carrying the constant weight of anxiety because of that paper you forgot to write.

All of a sudden life can become a series of deadlines. The feeling of accomplishment that accompanies meeting a deadline immediately fades when the reality of the next one hits you. It becomes a cycle focused only on “the next thing” or “just one more assignment.” We often fall victims to our cycles and end up missing out on the world around us.

“But I have to keep moving forward.”

I would always say this to someone when they suggested that I should take it slow and give myself a moment to breathe. Busyness can become a badge of honor and an excuse for us to neglect rest. But the truth is that living life to the fullest doesn't mean always trying to get ahead. We must take time to breathe and rest because just like it's impossible to run a whole marathon at full speed without passing out, so it’s impossible to get through life at full speed without burning out. Pace yourself. Give yourself time to simply sit back and enjoy every step of the way. Let yourself fully experience life and be open to new changes because like I learned, life doesn’t work out the way you planned it in high school.

Stressful and overwhelming moments will come, but remember that everything is temporary - deadlines come and go. The only thing that remains in the grand scheme of life is your relationship with God. Unfortunately, sometimes we stray away from the purpose and vision God gives us. But we can always come home to Him and realign ourselves with Him.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Just like the verse says, we have to learn to lean on God and allow ourselves to both physically and spiritually rest. Allowing ourselves to rest lets us better accomplish our goals and lets us appreciate and learn from whatever season we go through.

It's almost time for a new year, so let’s make these last few weeks count. Let’s continue pacing ourselves, taking breaks, and being intentional with the vision God has placed in our lives.

William Rivero

Service Liaison

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Provision in the Storm

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Provision in the Storm

We go through many things in life that are both good and bad. We as a society also tend to fix our eyes on the bad things and see them as a hindrance rather than an asset. We say, “If this didn’t happen my life would be…” or ask, “Why God? Why did this have to happen to me?” We ask ourselves these questions daily, and maybe even hourly. But have you ever asked yourself, “What is God giving me through these moments?”

At first glance, it seems like this question doesn’t make sense. But if you think about it a little more you’ll realize that it’s the best question to ask in the midst of a storm because God has a purpose for both the good and bad moments that we live through. He gives purpose to things that we think can’t possibly have any. Relevant illustrations of this are seen in how a mountain peak always follows a valley and how a rainbow always follows a storm; a high always follows a low. Although we know this is true, it’s sometimes easier to play the victim and say, “Oh but you don’t know what I’ve been through!” and “I have lost this and that." Although our feelings and loss are valid, what we sometimes fail to realize is that we choose our perspective. Will we focus on the storm or on the rainbow?

Growing up in Florida, I’ve seen my fair share of hurricanes throughout the years. What has always amazed me is how the eye of the hurricane seems to put a pause on the storm; how there's a moment of peace in the midst of chaos. It’s in this moment of respite from the thrashing wind and rain that we get to see that the storm that once felt never-ending has finally almost run its course. This moment gives us hope that once the storm is over, there will be a rainbow and a reason to rejoice.

God works in the same way. When you’re in the middle of a storm in your life, God will give you moments of peace to signal that the storm is almost over, and once the storm is over there will be a reason to rejoice. So today I encourage you to ask, “What is God giving me through these moments?” and stand in awe as He provides for you in the storm and eventually parts the gray clouds to reveal His glorious rainbow.

Ashley Roman

Executive Assistant

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Your Role in Building Up a Generation

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Your Role in Building Up a Generation

In M.A.D.E., we are all about empowering the next generation to fulfill God’s plans and purposes in their lives, even beyond their wildest imagination. Empowerment is actually one of our five core values which we strive to incorporate in every single thing we do, not only as an organization but also in our individual lives. We genuinely believe that we have all been hand-picked to be world-changers and difference makers, and we won’t stop until every youth knows it.

Each day that passes by, my heart breaks at the news of every youth whose short life comes to an end far too quickly. In fact, according to the CDC, the second and third top leading causes of death in teenagers are suicide and homicide, respectively. Can you imagine how many teen suicides we could prevent if they had an influential voice near them, cheering them on, speaking life into them, giving them hope for a brighter future? Can you imagine how many homicides could be prevented if we could build up a generation that chooses love over hatred and acceptance over ignorance?

While one person might not be able to reach every single youth, if we are each intentional about it, we can each play a role in building up a generation of difference makers. Here are three practical ways to empower the youth in your life:

  1. Remember their emotions have value: So often we can find ourselves judging this generation and wondering what they could possibly have to complain about, given all of the first-world privileges they have. Yet, we must remember that there are layers to people that we may not see, wounds that may have left ugly scars, and experiences that may have molded their identities. This generation deals with a lot of “first-world problems” that leads to emotions we shouldn’t belittle. Be the first to ask how someone is and mean it. Get down to their level; you’ll be able to see their lives from a new perspective and instead of judging them preemptively, you can guide them in love.

  2. Encourage them to act today, not just in 10 years: It can be easy to dream about the future and all of the things they want to accomplish as an adult, but why wait until then? Inspire youth to make a difference in their schools and families today. Encourage them to get involved and be the most loving and caring citizens that their community has. Offer to drive them to their local homeless shelter or support them financially when they want to organize a food drive.

  3. Be present and be available: Let your empowerment be more than just words and turn it into action. Don’t just cheer a youth on verbally but prove it to them by showing up. Take the time to listen to their situations, ideas, and dreams. Speak life into the darkest parts of their lives and always point them to their original cheerleader: Jesus.

I hope that you are encouraged to reach out to the youth in your life and be used as a vessel for all that God has for both your life and theirs. Together, let’s continue building up a generation that makes a difference every single day.

Ester Avero

President + Co-Founder

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