I am a dreamer, and I’m not the only one. Every great accomplishment was once a dream in the heart of someone who dared to believe that their dream was possible long before it became a reality. There are lots of us who want to do good in the world, something signifiant, to make our lives count for something. Many of us try to accomplish big things, but because we only have our piece of the puzzle, we fall short of the goals for our lives. But when we come together, we’re stronger and better able to accomplish big, hairy, audacious dreams.
I have a dream to see kids who are growing up in less than the best of circumstances to be connected with church families in communities throughout the country. I envision kids who have experienced abandonment, abuse, neglect, poverty, or homelessness (or all of the above) connected with the good people in local churches who will give them the dignity that comes from looking them in the eyes and recognizing the value they don’t yet see in themselves.
I envision these kids, like the one I used to be, learning that they are not too broken to be fixed, and that there is hope for their lives. I see people who truly value them gently guiding them through the painful process of mining the assets out of all they’ve been through, and teaching them to use those assets, which are good character traits, learned survival strategies, and coping skills, to create personal and professional success. I see those children learning how to have healthy relationships with good people because of the good families who are modeling that for them.
Having been abandoned, neglected, abused, hungry, and homeless in my childhood, I am confident that this dream I envision would be effective prevention of homelessness, self-medicating, criminal activity, and trafficking. Kids who feel valued and wanted are far less likely to feel the need to self-medicate. And they are much less susceptible to the lure of a trafficker. Kids who learn relationship skills, work ethic, and good character in the safe environment of people who will gently teach rather than judge them are far more likely to stop the cycles of poverty, abuse, and substance abuse; and importantly, they are far more likely to find and keep good jobs that will help them become responsible, self-reliant adults.
The good news is that my dream is coming true!
Since 2003, Safe Families For Children, and the awesome people in churches throughout the US who are the safe families, have quietly been fulfilling this dream!
Safe Families For Children helps fragile families that are in distress, and has reunited more than 93% of the families served, often creating lifelong relationships. Every one of the over 35,000 children who have been cared for have a better chance of creating successful lives because a Safe Family, and the extended church family that surrounds the Safe Family, has poured unconditional loving kindness into that child. If every family in crisis had a Safe Family, we would have dramatically fewer children in foster care, we would have many more fragile families strengthened and kept intact, and we would have many more children who care able to stop the cycles of tragedy that destroy lives.
The good people, churches, and private, non-profit child welfare organizations of Safe Families For Children are helping kids who’ve had a rough childhoods to become the strong, resilient, resourceful people that they can grow up to become. Now we must make this dream a reality in the lives of children who live in communities where there are no Safe Families. If you want to help bring Safe Families For Children into communities where they are desperately needed, go to https://safe-families.org/grow/join-a-chapter/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.