Who are they?
By Ashley Willis, CarePortal Intern
4 million. It’s hard to visualize the number of kids touched by the U.S. child welfare system when you cannot count them on your fingers. Our mission for the child is never lost on us, but sometimes the big picture of meeting needs can look too big for its frame. Let’s press pause and reconsider who it is our hearts are beating for.
Who are we talking about?
The kid down the street, sibling, classmate, teammate, brother, cousin, new friend, co-worker, each a uniquely crafted person with a story. This is who we are talking about. In the United States, there are 425,000 children in foster care and 4 million children impacted by the child welfare system.
Many combinations of unique situations, hardships, and obstacles are represented in those statistics. Maybe conditions of the original home are not currently suitable for the child to live there. Maybe families find themselves temporarily in need of extra resources to help care for the child properly. Each story is different and thus requires our hearts to restrain from assumptions and embrace the beauty in each human story. Once we understand this, compassion can flow wider.
It is difficult to imagine a single child when the field of view is clouded by big numbers and vague concepts. Oftentimes, statistics seem to block progress, as if they’re walls restricting action. But to think beyond an impersonal number to the face of one child, is crucial. It’s the personal nature this line of work requires.
Never stop remembering the immense impact just one human can have on another. When a need is met, connections are formed. Families are supported. Communities are revived.
Children represent a uniquely gifted population of the growing world. And it is with great hope that we desire all of those stories to be heard, the children to be known, and our hearts to continually be centered on those who need it.
Thank you for thinking about continents. About countries. About counties. Thank you for thinking about the child in need. There are many stories of hope and restoration happening all around the globe. Whether it’s manifested in an item donated, money sent, relationships built, conversations held, an afternoon spent, or a meal prepared, there are so many ways to focus on the smaller numbers. Helping a child and learning their name makes the statistics seem a little less daunting, and a little more like an opportunity to turn a world upside down.
CarePortal helps you meet tangible and relational needs in your own neighborhood or across the globe. If you’re inspired to play a part in changing your community and you want to join the movement of meeting real-time needs, visit careportal.org.
My name is Ashley Willis, and I had the pleasure of serving at The Global Orphan Project as one of their Summer 2018 interns. At GO Project, I deepened my passion of caring for children and learned to ask difficult questions. As a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I am a psychology major and am considering becoming a physician assistant, in addition to determining how I can best serve those around me in everyday life.