The Crew

The Crew
Christina, Matthew, Joshua and Katie Grace XiHua

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

PLEASE CONSIDER BEING A MENTOR! (click here to read about one of many programs)

  As a volunteer Guardian Ad Litem, I represent abused and neglected kids in court who are currently in Foster Care.  Confidentiality is important, but I can tell you that I currently represent a young teen boy who resides in a group home.  His past is one of countless deeply disappointing stories, but whenever I visit with him (usually weekly), he brightens up my day immediately!  In fact, I can honestly say that he has made me a better and more sensitive person and has done me more good than any good that I have possibly done for him.  His smile lights up when I come in.  He tells me I can come over anytime.  All I do is sit and talk with him or watch him skateboard out front.  He yearns for that attention.  He is so precious and valuable, I can't imagine how anyone could not appreciate and treasure him everyday of his life.  As a GAL, my job is to make sure his general needs are being met- i.e.- food, shelter, clothing, safety, kind treatment, medical care, counseling, education.  Then beyond that, I try to advocate and facilitate opportunities that "normal" kids have, such as sports, activities, outings, visitation with separated siblings, socializing, etc, although sadly, I myself, am not allowed to take him on outings according to the Court Program.  This is where it gets really tough.  If the first list is met, we can breath a sigh of relief, they are safe and being fed, and most people in charge just kind of forget about the child and check in once a month.  But it's that second list of needs that makes my heart ache as well.  A child can have all of his basic needs met, but what about one on one time?  What about someone talking to them as an individual and asking them, how was your day?  Do you have any friends at this newest of many schools you've been moved to?  Do you want to talk about anything?  What are your hopes and dreams?  Do you need help with your homework?  Would you like to go to lunch?  To the park?  See a ball game? Do you go to church?  To Synagogue?  Would you like to?  Would you like me to come to your school program or field trip?  
  These are all the things that are own children just assume will happen.  But MANY of these children NEVER have anyone take this interest in them.  In fact, I can't even imagine my kids making it through school without us staying "on top" of their work everyday!  They will soon grow up, "age out" of the system and be unprepared adults with no sense of attachment or guidance.  
Here's the problem...thousands of kids...not enough people who care.  
  Consider being a mentor.  You don't have to sign you life away.  It can be as simple as one outing a month or more if you'd like.  There are many programs in your area. You can even google a children's home or group home near you and call and ask if they need someone to stop over and help with homework or take kids for outings.  There will be an application, a background check and clearance obviously for their safety, but it will only take a teeny tiny bit of effort on your part and in the long run will make all the difference to an child who needs someone to care about them as an individual!  
Matthew 25:35-40
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."
Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?"
Then the King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

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Many hungry children near the boarder of Myanmar and Thailand-click on photo