Thirty Years, what an amazing, blessed journey it has been--watching the Family Care Network emerge from a dream to become a significant, important player in the lives of so many children, youth and families. Ours is a story of incredible people, risk taking, passion, heart, tenacity, innovation, partnership, creativity, planning and, above all, serving!
Unless you are living in some altered reality, it is unquestionably clear – we are living in Uncertain Times. Politically, financially, geopolitically, environmentally, internationally, culturally, socially, “the times they are a chang’n.” Unfortunately, these changes aren’t necessarily for the better. Except for annoying political nonsense, the last eight years have been pretty stable. But now... it feels like our normative order is being turned on its head. Angst and fear have blanketed the hearts of far too many as uncertainty burgeons like an explosion of wildflowers after a rainy season.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?” -Martin Luther King Jr.
The quote above, by the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, has always been one of my favorites. I love Dr. King’s words because, at least in my own attempts to explain why I feel it necessary to perform service for others, I seemingly fail to capture the original impulse which has led me to service in the first place. There’s always something missing from my explanation; something just beneath the surface which I can’t quite put into words. This inarticulation presents a strange paradox that I suppose many people other than myself find themselves in, particularly those who enter public service fields. With that said, I’ve found myself reflecting on this quote a lot over the last year. You see, I’ve been working as an AmeriCorps member here at the Family Care Network since September 2016. AmeriCorps is a federal program with the express goal of engaging adults in public service work with aims of "helping others and meeting critical needs in the community." The simplest way to think of AmeriCorps is as the U.S. domestic version of the more well-known Peace Corps program.
Your Attitude determines the state of the world you live in; it is the foundation for every success and every failure you have had and will have. Your Attitude will make you or break you.
ATTITUDE is the primary determinant of how you are perceived and how others react to you. Have a positive, joyful attitude, and you’ll have positive, joyful results. Put out a bad, negative attitude, and you’ve failed before you even begin.
My wife and I have been blessed with seven beautiful grandchildren--seven lives we absolutely cherish. Like most conscientious grandparents, and parents for that matter, observing the times we live in can be very disconcerting and troublesome. What will their future hold? What are the negative influences permeating their innocence? Who will they model after? These are just some of the thoughts that haunt us.
Everyone has their 'go-to' comfort foods, and often times these foods aren’t the most nutritious. I’ve learned the healing value of allowing kids to enjoy these foods once in a while even if they make me cringe.
March is the month when many Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by preparing and/or eating the traditional corned beef and cabbage and potatoes. This meal has been a tradition in my family since before I was even born. My Mom’s side of the family is Irish, so there was never any question as to what was for dinner every March 17th.
David really wanted to be a good father, and provide for his family in all the ways his own father had not. Unfortunately, having experienced trauma growing up, David had mental health issues he didn’t know how to deal with and he turned to alcohol as a means to cope. When his two children, Molly and Manny, were very young, David’s struggles with alcoholism affected his ability to provide them a stable home and impacted his relationship with their mother, Ana, in very unhealthy ways. On all fronts, David and his family were in crisis.
The work of the Family Care Network requires a lot of heart. As an agency which provides an array of human health services—from Emergency Shelter care for kids needing immediate safety to helping teens develop critical life skills to putting homeless families in affordable housing and supporting their efforts to become self-sufficient against numerous obstacles—FCNI utilizes all of the compassion, resolve and resources that our staff and community invest in our mission to meet high-needs on a daily basis. The individuals who dedicate themselves to our efforts do so for a multitude of reasons, but the most prevalent reason seems to be having a heart to serve. We know that many of us couldn’t meet the challenges that face us and the people we serve if our hearts weren’t in it; if we didn’t believe whole-heartedly in what we do and why we do it.
Relationships. There has been much written on the topic of relationships. Ranging from difficult to understand clinical research articles to blogs, books and websites, you can find information on every type of relationship in just about every type of format. Romantic relationships, family relationships, work relationships, casual relationships, nurturing relationships, dysfunctional relationships, healthy relationships, abusive relationships… which can only lead us to one conclusion—Relationships are Important!