Many times we get the question, “Does a short-term hosting really make a difference?” Or a similarly related question like, “How do we know we made an impact on a child, or family at large, if the hosting only lasted for a week or a few months?”
From our experience, the circumstances many of our families face directly result from poverty, either tangible poverty or poverty of relationship. And for anyone familiar with the multitude of difficulties that come from poverty, you can understand how debilitating and all-encompassing poverty can be to a family’s well-being. Poverty can affect the physical, emotional, and mental health of the young and old. It directly impacts such things as housing, transportation, relationships, and vocation.
Overcoming poverty is a formidable task that requires an “all hands on deck” approach. Safe Families for Children plays a small part in coming alongside families who are moving from crisis to stability…and prayerfully thriving! Sometimes, we get to be a part of a transformational story. Sometimes, we’re not. Most of the time the story lies somewhere in the middle.
In our work, we may not change the trajectory of a parent but we may be able to change the trajectory of a child. When we love on a child by giving care, stability, love, and a warm bed, we are making a small investment to that child’s journey. Additionally, some kids are exposed to new experiences that helps them see more of what this world has to offer. Children’s minds are like sponges! And they soak up whatever environment they find themselves in, for the good or bad. Their developing minds can learn skills that they can take with them wherever life may take them.
We may not change the trajectory of a parent but we may be able to change the trajectory of a child. Click To TweetUnfortunately, a child’s ability to develop new skills is severely affected if their brain is in a “fight-or-flight”/survival mode. So sometimes just providing a child with an environment where they can relax, get more sleep, etc. can be a much needed respite for the child as their parent secures more stable housing, for instance.
Though it can be easy to expect, or want, monumental changes in the life of a child and their parents, this is not always the case. Our volunteers often struggle with wanting to alleviate all the issues a child may be facing such as speech delay, asthma, or emotional intelligence. But volunteers are building POSSIBILITIES – whether a child learns new coping skills, feels a greater sense of security in their body, or feels more able to connect with people. This is because they’ve been shown another a safe, trustworthy relationship – these things can positively change their brain and impact them for years to come.
So does a short-term hosting matter? Does our work even make a difference? We can confidently say…most likely. We know that we may not change the trajectory of a parent but we may be able to change the trajectory of a child. As the old song says, “Little things mean a lot.” And we plan on doing the little things faithfully, for the children and parents we serve.
If you want to be a part of changing the trajectory of a child’s life, find your calling here.