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This is your life
Three weeks ago, he helped clear the land. It was his first time on a job site, but he came ready to learn.
“He’s like a sponge,” the foreman tells us. “He absorbs everything. And he wants to learn how to do things the right way. If he was 18, I’d offer him a job right now. That’s how good he is.”
Taisean still has a couple of years before he’s 18, so there’s time to decide if construction is in his future. Right now his focus is on completing high school, earning money at a part-time job, and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself this year,” he says. “I’ve learned I can do this [construction] and I’ve learned I can be part of a team. When people meet me, I hope they can see that I’m a hard worker.”
Maria loves animals. All animals.
Creatures with fur, fleece, feathers, scales, shells – they’re all good.
But one is her favorite.
His name is Rusty, and he is the bearded dragon her parents bought for her 11th birthday.
“She loves this thing,” Desta, her mom, laughs. He walks on a leash and sits in her lap to watch movies. “She
talks to him – she’s really attached to him.”
Desta got the idea for Rusty after watching Maria chase lizards all summer at The Refuge, a camp her family runs in rural Greene County.
Maria wants to be a zoological veterinarian, a caretaker of animals unfamiliar and undomesticated, and she’s found her home with a family that sees her passions and strengths.
Every day with Desta and Sammy, living at The Refuge, she is discovering her capacity to learn, love, and grow.
we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found —Luke 15:3
Every child deserves a chance – we believe that to our core. But sometimes a chance isn’t enough.
Sometimes a child has been neglected or abused to the point he needs more than just a chance.
He needs multiple chances. He needs grace.
Trent was just 11 when he entered the juvenile justice system, and nobody was surprised. His parents were in and out of jail. His older brother is the one who taught him to break into houses and steal cars. There was no hope for him at home.
By the time he was 13, Trent was in youth prison.
That’s a lot of trouble for someone so young. And while it might be tempting to see Trent in those terms only – we see something else.
We train our eyes to see with compassion, as Christ teaches us in the parable of the prodigal son, and we ask this –
If God’s grace for us is infinite, what is the limit of ours for children who are lost?
You know the answer.
You made a place for Trent when he had nowhere else to go. Because you care, Trent came to us.
Trent is in one of our transitional living homes, learning how to be a responsible adult. When we look at him we see a teenager who’s playful, gangly, and a little goofy. He wants what other teens want – to learn to drive, to have a phone. He wants to have friends and good influences in his life.
Trent knows God has a better plan for his life, and he is trying to figure it out. He is taking classes at a local community college, working his first job at KFC. He volunteers at the animal shelter and Meals on Wheels. He has opened a bank account.
And for this, we celebrate. Trent is not a lost cause. He’s more alive now than he’s ever been.
Foster care can be traumatic. Carla knows from experience – she was placed into foster care at age 10, and she remembers how frightening it was to be pulled apart from her family.
So she does not want this for her three children. And she especially doesn’t want it for her youngest, who has autism.
When we met Carla, the department of social services was working already with her family, and she was prepared to do whatever it took to keep her kids under her roof.
83% of families in our family preservation programs stay together. Thanks to you.
Your gifts give Carla and her husband, Alex, the tools they need to parent better and to advocate for their kids – and keep everyone together. Thank you for all you do to help children and their families.