The Gift of Protection
Our mission statement: We are a ministry center committed to PROTECTING and empowering those in our community living in distress.We serve through the lens of protecting all who come to find safety at our center. Some of the children we help live in crisis daily. Their basic needs unmet, tension at home, and neglect.We recently had a challenging time with a young girl who was irate after her sister was kicked by another student. It took several adults to keep her from taking matters into her own hands to defend her sister. She was inconsolable. Staff member, TJ, was able to embrace her while she still fought.TJ said, "I don't know what it's like for you at home, but at the Dream Center, KIDS GET TO BE KIDS. You don't have to fight to be safe. At the Dream Center, grown-ups protect children."The young girl sobbed and fell into TJ's arms letting her body finally relax. WE PROTECT.At our Sunday worship service this past weekend a 5-year-old walked away from his class while they were outside playing a game. He was found and told to always tell an adult where you are or where you are going.He replied, "Why?"We assume it never occurred to him that anyone would be looking for him or keeping up with his whereabouts. Most 5-year-olds are rarely out of their parent's sight. We've witnessed toddlers unaccounted for, their caregivers unaware they had left the house. WE PROTECT.During Dream Center kids class, one boy was being bullied by a group of brothers, getting knocked over in his chair. Just like the girl mentioned above, that boy's brother took action and did the same to one of the bullies. After the fight ended and we made sense of what happened, the group of brothers causing trouble were given lunch and sent home for the day. We then talked with the brother who took up for his younger brother. He was still in fight or flight mode. We reminded him that when he is at the Dream Center, we are here to protect him and his brother. The lesson of asking an adult for help, instead of using his hands to fight back, was given. He let his guard down and begin to share about being bullied himself at school. We earned a little trust, the scowl on his face faded and we allowed he and his brother the special job of bringing out the lunch cart, (pictured above).They took such pride in a chance to have this responsibility. WE PROTECT. We could share story after story about the need for protectors in our community. The police come to us when a child is hurt or missing. We stay connected with local schools to report when kids are spotted in the neighborhood during school hours. Often, school is a much safer place for them to be during the day than at home.We hope that the gift of protection motivates our kids to seek out relationships that build them up and ask for help when they don't feel safe. Sometimes this mission seems like an uphill battle. But, the moments when the load is lifted off their hearts and minds for a day keep us walking, sometimes crawling up that hill, hand in hand with those we get to serve.If you are interested in learning more about serving our young children or teenagers after hearing these stories, click HERE to fill out the volunteer form and standard background check.