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by Samantha Black, staffwriter

According to the Associated Press, Detroit is the second most dangerous city in the United States with more than 10,000 violent crimes committed in 2006. Christian Monk, 24, currently a student at HPU, is from Detroit where, in August 2006, her father, 42, was shot and killed. At the time, she couldn’t afford to give him a proper funeral.

“ When you have a parent pass away,” she said, “and they have done so much for you your whole life, you don’t want to put them in just any box.

“ You are going to want to give them a service that shows all the wonderful things they did for you,” said Monk. “We didn’t really have the money, so I started to look for help, and there was none available.”

In 2006 Monk founded a non-profit organization called The Sleep in Peace Foundation that provides financial assistance for burial services to families who have lost a member of their family due to a violent crime or an unforeseen death. It currently serves all of Michigan.

“ My father’s death was the motivation,” said Monk. “I decided this was something I had to do.”
The amount of money the foundation gives to the families is based on income brackets and other obligations, such as how many children the family has based on the amount of money they make.

“What is too poor? How do you decide that?” Monk asked herself. “Our goal is not to turn anyone away.”

The Sleep in Peace Foundation is the only service of its kind in Michigan. It provides money for the burial process, the burial space, even the tombstone, and it also offers grocer gift certificates for up $200 to be used for the wake. Because it is a nonprofit organization, it gets its money from grants, member dues, and fundraisers.

“ We have even sold water on the corner,” added Monk. “That was a good fundraiser.”

Monk had to teach herself everything there is to know about nonprofit organizations. “I read Non-profit for Dummies and Fundraising for Dummies,” said Monk. She is responsible for the foundation and the Chair of a seven-person board of directors, all of whom live in Detroit.

“ It is a positive experience,” said Monk. “It helps me heal, doing something in my father’s honor.”
In addition to starting an organization in her father’s honor, Christian also published a book of his poetry, 25 Pieces of a Dream. It is currently available on a Web site she created for him and in bookstores in Michigan. Monk said that Borders will do a book release in Waikele soon.

Her father’s name was Anthony “Amp” Wafford, and the Web site is www.peotryamp.com. In his lifetime he wrote 400-500 poems, and Christian selected just a handful to be published.

“ He used to say his work came ‘through him, not to him,’” said Monk, who added that 10 percent of the proceeds from every purchase of 25 Pieces of a Dream goes to The Sleep in Peace Foundation.

Christian spent four- years active duty in the Army and in 2005 transferred to the Army National. In September she will have completed six years in the military and plans to return to Detroit. She currently works at Tripler Army Medical Center and has about one year left before she earns a bachelor’s degree from HPU in public relations.

For more information on the organization, or to make a donation, visit www.peacefulsleeping.org or contact Christian at cmonk@peacefulsleeping.org.




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