One Step Closer

Stephanie Brewton, Case Manager Media Coordinator

Stephanie Brewton, Case Manager Media Coordinator

Dark times.  Sometimes they sneak up on you like an earthquake, with no warning, leaving your sense of security in a massive pile of rubble.  And sometimes they steal in slowly, softly like a thick morning fog that limits your view, distorting everything so that you become disoriented. No matter what form they take, dark times steal from you.  Hope is sucked away.  Joy is crushed.  Passion is buried.

But, with each downfall, with each setback, with each new turmoil, something happens.  We keep walking.  And when we keep walking we become one step closer.  One step closer to knowing. Because in the dark times there is a lack of “knowing:”  knowing why, knowing what to do, knowing how.  The questions keep rolling through your mind, churning up feelings of despair, depression, and defeat.  But remember, a heart that suffers is a heart still beating. A beating heart means you are still alive, and as long as you are alive, there is HOPE!  In dealing with loss in the movie Sleepless in Seattle, Tom Hanks’ character says in response to coping, “Well, I’m gonna get out of bed every morning… breathe in and out all day long. Then, after a while, I won’t have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out…” With each step we take we are one step closer to the end, one step closer to an answer, and if we are including the omnipotent, omniscient Creator of the universe in our search for these things, we become one step closer to Him.

“In this world you will have trouble, but I…I have overcome the world!”

Don’t you remember who said that?  He’s the one who put the stripes on the zebra and the dimple in your chin.  He’s the one who halted a tempest with just his voice.  He’s the one who suffered a thousand sufferings, even those you now suffer, and yet overcame so that he could take us by the hand and gently lead us to overcome.

Is he a quick fix?  Sometimes.  But mostly, he guides us slowly, nudging this way and that, often without us even realizing it.  If you will keep walking, you will keep advancing towards the “knowing.”  Be patient my dear one, and hold on for just a moment longer.  Take one more step.  And if you can’t, ask him for the strength you are lacking.  You will be closer to knowing…

It's the Little Things

This is a great article that offers all of us a challenge.  So many times we forget that everyone does not have the day-to-day basics we take for granted.  If this article sparks a desire to help, please consider one of the options at the end of the article, or if you would like to help Our Home you can check out our wishlist or other ways to help.

Can You Spare A Toothbrush? 

One Insanely Simple Way To Make A Big Difference

07/06/2016 04:19 pm 16:19:13

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Updated

 Jul 06, 2016

ttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/danielle-gletow/can-you-spare-a-toothbrus_b_10816992.html

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Danielle Gletow

Proud mom to over 400,000 kids in foster care. Child Advocate. Founder & Executive Director of One Simple Wish

This morning I was in my office feverishly responding to emails when I heard a woman outside my door ask, “Do you guys have any toothbrushes?”

Two lovely women from one of our local child protective services offices were in our facility picking up clothing, toys and personal care items for kids in foster care. I decided to find out more about this request.

The women shared with me that they are frequently faced with situations where a child enters foster care and is in need of a toothbrush when arriving at their new placement. She said she was shocked at how often this need came up and mentioned her plans to ask a local dental practice if they might be able to help. After sending her off with an entire box of new toothbrushes, generously donated to One Simple Wish by a kind individual, our team sat down to make a list of more simple items like these that caseworkers, like the two women today, had asked about a lot over the past 8 years.

The list included toothbrushes, toothpaste, body wash, body sponges, lotion, hair spray, feminine hygiene products; some of the most basic items that we all rely on daily. Our team all agreed; it shouldn’t be hard to make sure that the children who are facing the trauma of their past and an uncertain future in the child welfare system have immediate access to these essentials.

So, what next? Well, we can take the discussion of this problem in two directions. Option 1: We can start to question why the foster homes and group homes don’t have all of these items readily available. We can start a petition, maybe, to require that they do. We can check the policies, laws, etc. Option 2: We can simply fill the need.

Now while I prefer to do both, I’m asking all of you to just join me in Option 2. Because, after all, how simple would it be to pick up a few extra toothbrushes next time you were at the store? How challenging would it be to include an extra body wash or lotion in your next grocery order? If just a fraction of the people reading this article chose to chip in, imagine how quickly we could resolve this very solvable issue?

That is what I am really trying to get at. There are certainly complex issues in our child welfare system. But there are also some fairly simple-to-address issues too. To me, this is one of them.

So how, logistically, do we make this work without overwhelming a local group home or a local child welfare office with enough shampoo to last an eternity? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Send them to One Simple Wish. Our organization partners with more than 800 agencies in 49 states in the US. We can always find a group in need of these items. Here’s our address: 1977 N Olden Ave, #292, Trenton, NJ 08618.
  2. Call and ask your local agency. This is a listing of child welfare offices, by state. Find your local office and call and ask if they have a need like this.
  3. Hold a drive & then donate. After you determine what the need is in your local area, or if you decide you’d like to send a whole bunch of goodies to One Simple Wish, host a drive at your office, home or other group setting. Tell us about it so we can tell others. Even if it’s a local drive, we can promote it on our social media properties. You can reach us at info@onesimplewish.org

The bottom line is this: Toothbrushes, or a lack thereof, should not be an issue we can’t solve. We can open up the conversation about why it’s even an issue in another blog post, but for now, let’s just get this one resolved.

NOTE: This will be the first in a series of posts I will be doing about what I deem to be very solvable issues in our child welfare system. I welcome all your feedback to make the outcomes as positive as possible for our kids. Email me atdanielle@onesimplewish.org.

Where the Wild Things Are

Stephanie Brewton, Case Manager & Media Coordinator

Stephanie Brewton, Case Manager & Media Coordinator

When I was a child, one of my favorite books was Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.  So naturally, when a movie adaptation of the book came out a few years ago I was cautiously ecstatic, because movies just never seem to be as good as the book.  My caution turned out to be correct as the movie was nothing like the book, and certainly not a kid's movie as it was fairly dark and depressing, with attempts at addressing serious human emotions. However, there were some nuggets to be unearthed throughout the film.

The main character, Max, travels to the land of the "Wild Things" after being banished to his room by his mother. When Max arrives in the land of the “Wild Things,” Carroll, a wild thing himself, is in the midst of an emotional and physical battle against hurt, rejection, and anger.  He is acting on this by destroying the wild things’ homes.  As the other wild things watch, not sure how to handle the situation, Max steps in and joins Carroll in his destruction.  Carroll is in awe as this outsider not only understands his frustration but is willing to step in and be a part of his chaos.  This scenario is such a parallel to the situations we face with our residents.  They arrive with baggage, not just belongings, but baggage, sometimes truckloads of baggage, from emotional upsets, physical hurts, fear of the future, disappointment; just name a difficult emotion, they surely have brought it with them. Sometimes we struggle with how best to meet their needs, when really all they want is someone to fully "get" how they feel, what they are going through, and maybe join in their chaos.  They need to know someone truly knows and understands the thoughts and emotions whirling through their hearts and minds before they will let them in to make sense of the turmoil.  So much of the time we want to "fix it," but what they need to hear is, "I get it."

Later in the movie, Max is made “King of the Wild Things.” Carroll opens up to Max about his inner turmoil and remarks, “It’s better when we have a king.”  Those words.  Such power and meaning in one little sentence.  Our kids, though they would never admit it out loud, long for that sentence to be true in their lives.  They crave structure, stability, and for someone to be in charge.  They need a king.  And so do we.  Everyone needs that person who is willing to come to our wild land, get mucky and say, “Hey, I know what you’re going through because I’ve been there, too.”  Be that person for someone today.  If you ask, "How's it going?" be prepared to get a little emotional dirt on you when someone pours their soul out.  Someone needs you.

"It's better when we have a king."  Did you catch the spiritual impact of that statement as well? We let ourselves become bogged down with the human condition, giving in to the hurt, rejection, and anger that is bound to come with human existence.  We ignore the King that is always waiting to step into our mess, who already stepped into our mess and became just like us.  He came to this wild land we call home and lived the same life we now live.  He got grubby from our human condition, and He felt every emotion we have ever felt.  Don't think he doesn't get it. Rejected?  As He was being judged, beaten, and then crucified his twelve followers, his brothers, denied, abandoned, and rejected him. Angry?  He responded to the mockery of his father’s house by literally throwing a fit, upending tables and hurling the vendors out of the synagogue.  Sad? He watches as the dear ones he created make choices of hate and destruction,  yet he sees Hope…because to each of his dear children he stands with open arms, beckoning, offering a chance for change and renewal.  No act of rebellion, no crime, no addiction, no secret act is so big that Christ’s love can’t cover it.  He came to our wild land, to live among the wild things, so that he could understand our human condition and offer a way out.

It’s better when we have a king.