To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, “Social Work helps the arc of the moral universe bend toward a better society.” Social Workers stand up every day for the disenfranchised, the abused, the homeless, the sick, the broken, the dying, the healing, the rejected, the fatherless and the stranger. Social workers are over 600,000 strong in the US alone, and yet, their work so often goes unnoticed and undervalued in society.
Many of you know that I am a person of deep faith, identifying myself as a “follower of Christ”, rather than with modern American Christianity which I believe to be substantially tainted by selfishness, greed, self-righteousness and unscriptural political views. My convictions and belief system has been the primary driver of my life for well over five decades, and has served as one of the primary influences in my creation and oversight of the Family Care Network. That being the case, I would like to share my personal Guidelines for Living.
When Denise and Lee became adoptive foster parents, they were full of excited anticipation. While unsure of what to expect, they were excited to care for someone who truly needed them. That someone would turn out to be Cora--a nine year old girl who was placed in Emergency Shelter Care when her grandparents could no longer care for her. Without parents or other family, and after being repeatedly disappointed by life, Cora had little hope of finding a family of her own. Little did she know who was waiting for her.
We love our creative community! As most of us know, the Central Coast seems to be a breeding ground for innovative people of all types to create a variety of local businesses which make living here even more wonderful than it already is. We have amazing local restaurants, wineries, breweries, distilleries, jewelers, painters, sculptures, bakers, screenprinters, farmers, graphic designers, landscapers, photographers, film makers, musicians...this list could really go on and on for pages.
Do you ever get weary of our arrogant, bombastic culture; talking heads who “know it all” but just spew meaningless hot air? How did we get to the place where rude is cool, where one’s personal opinion is better than anyone else's, where “my way or no way” rules the day?! Our current president is a prime example of arrogance and haughtiness at its pinnacle – but he is only a symptom of much deeper corruption in our cultural values and social mores. As a society, we have created an environment which encourages and nourishers people like this to thrive.
Each year, our Sponsor a Child for the Holidays giving campaign has a profound and far-reaching impact on the children, youth and families we serve. In wanting you--our community--to truly understand how meaningful, how empowering and how vital the gift cards and funds you gave are, I reached out to our families to hear from them myself what Sponsor a Child meant to them. I then sat down with and interviewed a local family who wanted to share their experience with you all; below, I share their story written from their perspective.
Millie* knew how turbulent life could be. At only 10, she and her younger brother, Theo, were placed in foster care after their older sister, who they had been living with, dropped them off at a friend’s house and never returned. Millie’s father had passed away years earlier and she had never met her mom, so in care, Millie started to panic that she’d never see any of her family again. Growing more fearful and untrusting while in care, Millie’s emotions started coming out as anger, often misdirected at Theo or her foster parents.
I’m Nat, a Rehabilitation Specialist working with youth at Family Care Network. I’ve been a mentor for about six months now, and I’d like to share about my experience because I think that mentoring foster youth makes a big difference in their lives and in our community. I met my mentee working as a Rehabilitation Specialist in our Emergency Shelter Care Program. She was in a shelter foster home for about six months, and during those months I picked her up from school almost every day, and spent the rest of the day with her.
Let me be blunt, the Family Care Network needs you! We call ourselves “Family Care Network” because that is what, and who we are--a Network of all kinds of people, agencies and organizations working together to improve the lives of children, youth and families in a variety of ways. The bottom line: we offer an opportunity for everyone to contribute to improving the quality of life on our Central Coast.
As 2018 comes to a close, I wish to express my heartfelt appreciation and thanks to everyone who has made this year a tremendous success. As you have heard many times, the mission of the Family Care Network is “to enhance the wellbeing of children and families in partnership with our community.” Thankfully, 2018 was another demonstration of the power of partnership in serving the most needy children, youth and families on the Central Coast.