I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, originally attributed to the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, which states, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Walking a thousand miles sounds impossible to me. Would I get lost, walk in circles, be in a lot of pain? Attempting to push fears aside, I start to think of what a personal accomplishment it would be to walk so many miles. Then I think of how walking all of those steps might benefit me--physically, emotionally and spiritually. So I then brainstorm how I might accomplish this impossible task. Ten miles a day for 100 days or two miles a day for 500 days? I start to think of all the opportunities that might cross my path on this walk; all the people I might meet, the sights I could see and the things I would miss if just sped past in car. Pretty soon, a concept that started out as impossible, starts to look more and more plausible.
Category: Voice of an FCNI Staff
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
What does it mean to be a positive supervisor and why do I enjoy it?
Caring for teenagers is oftentimes the ride of a lifetime! They are growing and developing into even more independent people, while at the same time still looking for guidance and direction. It can be challenging to know how to support your teen, in the midst of this often tumultuous stage of development. But while challenging, there is nothing quite like seeing them succeed at something they have worked really hard to earn. And recently, we got to celebrate some of our youth’s educational success. It’s been a humbling experience to see all of these youths’ hard work pay off. And we are so grateful for support they have all received along their way--the parents, foster parents, social workers, friends, family, teachers, counselors and other adults who have been championing them on and providing them the right amount of guidance, so they were able to reach their goals.
It’s summertime. And that’s means loading up on sunscreen and trying to find ways to entertain your family during long days without school. For some kids, summer also means an increase of screen time. But how safe are your kids when they have their own smart phone? How much information can they give away without even realizing it? And should you limit your household’s screen time? These are all good questions to ask, and we want to pass on a few pointers about internet and phone safety/health that we have learned to help you best protect your kids and their screen time desires.
Over the course of the past month, I have given extra thought to the concepts and reality of “foster care”, primarily because May is National Foster Care month. As I thought about “what” foster care really is and includes, I quickly became overwhelmed. Broken down into small parts such as foster children, foster parents, Foster Family Agency, social worker, therapist, Community Care Licensing, etc. and “foster care” can be understood and managed in my small mind. However, “foster care” in its entirety is a complex and complicated system. As I struggled with the question of “What is foster care, really?” my simple mind would soon turn to thoughts of Disneyland. Now, those of you who have been or are currently in foster care or may have a daily connection to “foster care”, are probably thinking: “This guy has lost all connection to reality,” because foster care and Disneyland may seem like complete opposites.
We work and serve in a very challenging field, and we can’t avoid acknowledging and responding to the vast injustices our foster children have experienced. However, it is far too easy to forget that these children are just children. They tell me, at the end of the day, they want and think about the same things the other kids in the neighborhood think about, the same things their peers worry about, the same things “normal” kids dream for. And while it is true that our foster kids do indeed have additional complicating factors and concerns–supervised visitation with a biological parent, separation from siblings, life away from the home they knew–they often want to be thought of for other things; things that might seem irrelevant and inconsequential to those working with these kids who know the gravity of their whole situation. To illustrate, these kids follow pop culture, they care about what’s “cool,” they have favorite foods, they laugh and joke with friends…and they also happen to be in foster care. The point, though, is they happen to also be in foster care; they aren’t just about foster care.
For several years, I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Caleb, a young man in a high school group which I helped lead. Over the years, I’ve seen him succeed in getting his high school diploma and begin to navigate the difficult transition to adulthood. At 18 years old, he moved out from his parents’ covering with no job and no clear direction of what to do next. The coming months in his life came with multiple challenges, including a job search that seemed to go nowhere.
This year’s theme for National Social Worker Month, “Forging Solutions out of Challenges,” is amazingly related to Family Care Network’s mission and work, and I was happy to see this connection between my professional organization and my every day work. After fifteen years at FCNI, I appreciate that we continue to develop solutions to address our clients’ most pressing challenges. And as an agency, FCNI is mindful of the fact that all individuals deserve respect, kindness, and opportunities to develop their skills and improve their own lives.
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.
“Love is a constant process of tuning in, connecting, missing and misreading cues, disconnecting, repairing and finding deeper connection.” -Dr. Sue Johnson