I recently came across a wonderful story on the Internet that is a perfect illustration of how even minor acts of kindness can have a tremendous impact in another person’s life. I wanted to share that story in hopes that it’ll have a similar effect on you.
On the Huffington Post’s website, Ginny Clarke, president and CEO of Talent Optimization Partners, LLC, wrote about an encounter she had with a young, single mother and her daughter in a park one morning while walking her dog. In “Homeless, But Not Helpless – A Personal Story,” Ms. Clarke shares how her walk in the park turned into a potentially life-changing event when she took a moment to stop and help the single, and apparently homeless, mother. The simple exchange between Ms. Clarke and the mother may have taken less than 10 minutes, but the impact on the mother could potentially last a lifetime.
While reading the article, I was struck by the parallels between Ms. Clarke’s generosity and the generosity of those who open their hearts and homes to support the world’s most vulnerable children. Whether it’s by serving as a foster care family, making a donation to help developing nations create sustainable orphan care systems, or permanently welcoming a child into their home through adoption, such acts of kindness can truly mean the difference between life and death for the 153 million orphans around the world waiting for their forever family.
If you too are moved by Ms. Clarke’s story, but aren’t sure if you’re ready to be a foster or adoptive parent, there are still plenty of ways in which you can have a positive influence on the lives of children in crisis. Talk to your pastor and fellow congregation members about starting an orphan care ministry at your church. If one already exists, ask how you can get involved. Look into volunteering opportunities with a local nonprofit organization specializing in child welfare, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters. Or maybe become a host family for Safe Families for ChildrenTM ministry in your neighborhood, providing temporary support to families in crisis by caring for children in order to prevent them from entering the foster care system. Your unique skills and life experiences will have a profound effect on their ongoing intellectual and social development.
I’m glad that Ms. Clarke chose to share her story, and hope that you, in turn, will share it as well with your family and friends to reinforce the power random acts of kindness can have for the recipient and the giver. For as Ms. Clarke shared in her story:
“I've never been close to homelessness, but in those few minutes with this young woman, we were connected and I was reminded of the fragility of our lives. I didn't ask to hear her story; it will come out. In that moment she needed protection for that little girl, some hope and a chance.”
If you’d like to learn more about how you can help in family preservation efforts across the United States and around the world, visit www.Bethany.org.