The dark side of foster care

imageOn any given day, there are approximately 415,000 children in foster care in the United States. While meeting with two friends a few weeks ago, one of them mentioned a young woman with whom they had recently reconnected after a long break. This girl, Sandra (name changed), had been one of those 415,000 children. As my friend Kenzie shared more, the story quickly touched my heart. Sandra had been in the foster care system in Oregon. Now she was couch surfing, a term used for going from one friend’s home to another, sleeping on the couch, as a way to maintain housing. The story went from complex to almost impossible to miraculous. Continue reading

The Randomness of Compassion: An Interview with Romanita Hairston

imageYour work focuses on the real, daily needs of children right here in our own neighborhoods. But sometimes it seems easier to think about the needs outside of our borders, like focusing on the hunger faced by children in far-off countries. Why do you think that is?
The things happening in our neighborhoods are actually connected to us—and who wants to deal with that? “I don’t want to deal with me, but I’d be more than happy to deal with you.” Continue reading

When helping can hurt

image.jpegMany years ago, early in my nonprofit career, I was visiting with a church partner in Tacoma. I was there to consult with them on the afterschool program they wanted to start. We happened to start talking about their food bank and feeding programs. As the pastor and a few key leaders talked about these programs, I could sense their energy and compassion for the people they served. I could also tell that the church truly saw reaching out to the community as part of their mission. Continue reading