Monday, April 29, 2013

An Idea Put Into Action Is Changing Lives

     Most of us are aware of kids in the foster care system.  I must admit I speak not as an expert by any stretch of the imagination.  In a perfect world, foster care wouldn't be necessary.  But we do not live in a perfect world.  The circumstances that land these children in foster care range from sad to horrific.  Many have faced circumstances that we as adults could not even imagine.  I'm sure that for those working every day to help children in the system, there have to be times of frustration. They may see problems in the system and things they would do differently.  So often our human nature is to complain, to wring our hands, to just move on as best we can.
    There are those among us that choose a different path.  When they see a problem and it weighs on their hearts, they do something about it.  Eric and Kara Gilmore are two such people.  After working with youth in foster care and seeing the struggles faced after the children turned 18, they knew something had to be done.  As a result, Immerse Arkansas was born in 2008.  As stated on the website, they have a "goal of walking alongside young adults who have aged out of the foster system, helping them to improve their economic, social and spiritual outcomes.  Immerse Arkansas accepted its first participants into a college-style residence in the University District of Little Rock in 2010.  Through the process of transitional coaching, youth are encouraged to set and achieve goals related to becoming self-sufficient and connected to people who love them.  They are challenged to rise above their circumstances and beat the odds by making healthy choices and moving from isolation to community.  The goal for these youth is not independence, but interdependence where they participate in a 'give and take' relationship with the community and supportive people in their lives."
     Deciding to tackle another problem in the foster care system, Immerse Arkansas is teaming up with The Call and Project Zero in the first annual Walk for the Waiting.  Their goal is to end the waiting time of so many children in the foster system who are available for adoption.  With an original goal of $80,000, Walk for the Waiting has already raised $90,000.  As a result, they have raised their goal, dreaming big, to $2,000,000.  Their hope is that this can be a model for other states around the country.  This is just one more story that shows that a few people who really care can make a difference.
     If you have a heart for these children, you may go to the The Walk for the Waiting website and donate to their cause.  Who knows, maybe you'll be the one to organize a similar event in your state.  This is one great example of how a "thought" turned into action is making a difference.

Thoughts from Tracey Best

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Something Good or Something Right....Which Do You Choose?

     I've rushed headlong into life for most of my 43 years, doing whatever seemed the right and good thing to do at the moment.  I haven't always stopped to think about whether it was the right thing.  It never occurred to me that doing a good thing could be the wrong thing.  I don't think anyone would argue that each of us is born with a distinct personality, traits, talents, bents, etc.  For me, one of the things I was born with, or which God put into me, however you choose to think of it, was an intense love of people.  Since I've been a young child, I have always wanted to do the right thing, often that involved helping people.  It's easy to become prideful when you are like that.  Whether consciously or unconsciously, you start feeling like you've got it all figured out pretty much.  I honestly don't remember a lot about my younger childhood.  I have snippets of memories.  I remember neatly ordering my clothes on hangers when I was pretty young.  Somewhere along the way, I became what we all know as a "people pleaser."  I not only wanted to please people, but I wanted to please God.  When I was in my twenties, someone shared with me the idea that we can't "earn" God's approval.  If we never did another thing for Him, He would still love us.  He loves us if we can never do anything for Him.  His gift of His Son was just that, a gift, nothing we need to or can earn.  In the Christian community and in the Bible, there is a lot of discussion about what is called "works", or what we do for God.   The Bible very clearly says that we are saved by our faith in God, not by our works.  It also says that faith without works is dead.  This tends to cause quite the conundrum for us people pleasers, or perfectionists which I guess would be another word for it.  So, I had the faith.  I believed God was real.  I accepted His gift of salvation.  But in my heart, I always felt like if I didn't do the "right" thing, then, well, something awful would happen.  I still struggle with this.

     I am coming to realize that all of this really isn't just a spiritual issue.  In my life, since I am a very spiritual person, it plays out in that arena; however, it's more of an issue of humanity, an issue of fearing failure, fearing letting others down.  I'm not sure where this started or where it starts for any of us.  The development of a child and how they view life is a complex thing.