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Ever hear of a cottage industry bursting into existence with immediate impact and results? This month we share such a story, that of our Houston Cottage.  Nikki Brown encountered Big Ocean as she researched the work done at United Nations. It struck a chord with her. “After observing Big Ocean Women for nearly a year I was ready to participate in a virtual cottage.  I joined the virtual cottage calls and chatted about them with friends/posted online,” said Nikki.  When she and friend America Ririe decided to serve as cottage leaders, they sprinted forward without a backward glance.  “Less than a year later we have nearly 70 women in our local cottage!”

What is their secret?  Nikki explains, “We share what we are doing with other friends and on social media.  We have felt quite passionate about the causes we’ve embraced, and it ends up coming up often!”  When asked what they do best she responded, “Our cottage has an incredible capacity to unite as each member contributes her strengths and allows others to offer their unique talents.”  Most touching is their strong faith. They embrace their connection to a higher power, going forward with optimism and confidence to positively impact their community.

This desire to impact their community fueled an amazing project in April. Ignited by members’ concerns about the negative effects of screen time on young people, they launched an ambitious event, “Screen Savvy:  Tools for Balancing Screentime.”

Local classroom using “rainy day kit” donated by Houston Cottage

They offered a workshop for educators and two community screenings of the film “Screenagers” to encourage better choices and outcomes. They raised close to $7,500. Sixty counselors from the Humble Independent School District attended the one-on-one workshop with filmmaker Dr. Ruston, and 850 persons watched “Screenagers.”  Going forward, the film will be available at a discount to local schools and the cottage’s screen savvy committee will meet with district officials to address follow-up and action steps. More information about Dr. Ruston HERE.

Workshop for school counselors with Dr. Ruston

Nikki described how they employed their faith as they worked on their event. “… it (was) an adventure full of learning and faith.  From our first meetings with school staff to needing the final stretch of donations to fund our project, we defined specific times we would all kneel and offer pleas above to help us in our efforts.  We literally united in prayer every step of the process.”

Screen Savvy Committee – Cottage leaders: Nikki Brown, 2nd from left; America Ririe 4th from left

Nikki details the efforts of this committee of ordinary women. “Our committee for this project consists of nine busy women (the committee has 37 children – all living at home—among us and our lives are FULL). Nevertheless, each woman is amazing and recognizes her worth as a wave in a powerful ocean.” These are busy, ordinary women, but their faith moved mountains and provided tools for many to improve their lives by making wise choices regarding screen time.  Learn more about the Houston cottage in their monthly newsletter posts HERE.