Be The Difference

Jim Roberts
July, 21, 2011 -

July is the official “Make a Difference to Children” month. By implication, it means to make a positive difference in the life of a child; helping them to transform to a healthier, better or improved state or situation through a personal relationship. Unfortunately, the Family Care Network works with children and youth whose lives have become different because of negative or damaging relationships. But our mission, “to enhance the wellbeing of children…,” is fulfillecd through our network of individuals making that positive difference.

On June 26th, the Family Care Network held its inaugural Taste of the Central Coast in Santa Barbara County. At that event, Monty and Pat Roberts were honored as our 2011 “Circle of Serving” award recipients. This amazing and awesome couple really exemplifies what it means to“Be the Difference”. The Roberts are the owners and operators of Flag Is Up Farms in Solvang. Monty is a world renowned celebrity for his work with horses, and his wife, Pat, is a celebrated sculptor—but you’ll need to Google “Flag Is Up Farms” for that story. The remarkable backstory of the couple is that the Roberts have fostered 47 children over a span of decades. Their first foster daughter is now a 66-year-old great-grandmother! As Monty so eloquently described in his acceptance comments, “We took in 47 children, 40 turned out fine, but seven we were unable to make a difference…” Having been in this business myself for four decades, I’m confident in saying that they did make a difference in all 47, only that it probably wasn’t so evident in seven of those children. Mr. Roberts went on to conclude that the value of anything we do can only be measured in how it improved the life of another. It’s not about money, success or celebrity; it’s about being the difference in the life of a child!

The second element of the Family Care Network’s mission is “ partnership with our community.” This is where making a difference to children is really enhanced. As an organization, we have been extraordinarily blessed with remarkable foster parents, staff, mentors, interns, tutors, volunteers, business partners, community partners, donors and supporters. In our 24 years, we have grown into an amazing, diverse “network” of people making the difference in the lives of children and youth.

Thank you for being part of this transformative process. I look forward to even greater success in the years to come.