It’s not unusual to hear “I didn’t want to ask” when a participant describes a need to one of our staff. It can be awkward and uncomfortable — even anxiety-inducing — to seek help. We think it’s important to recognize these feelings, and to ensure the situation isn’t demeaning or belittling as well. Rather, when someone reaches out to us for help, we want them to know that we are grateful for the opportunity to
be there for them. To be present, able and willing to build community with them. To become part of their social capital.
“Build me up and I with you. For we are more one than two.”
~ Deborah Day
We take a broad view of support. It can mean:
- A home visit with intensive collaborative work between a CIS case manager, parent and child.
- A box of vegetables and bread for a young family from our food pantry.
- A package of diapers for a new mom
- Giving a lift to a car-less parent and child attending a doctor’s appointment that isn’t on the bus route.
- Sitting by a parent’s side while they negotiate with school administrators
- Making a check-in phone call to see how a new apartment is working out or how a dentist appointment went
- Delivering a box of Christmas presents to a family
- Tutoring a teenager in writing skills
- Teaching a group of youth to cook meals for themselves
- Offering extended hours and community meals for ECE parents
“Our humanity comes to its fullest bloom in giving. We become beautiful people when we give whatever we can give: a smile, a handshake, a kiss, an embrace, a word of love, a present, a part of our life…all of our life.”
No act is too small that we can’t be bothered. For many of our participants — already experiencing at times very severe stress — one more simple need unmet, one more setback, can be a straw that breaks a camel’s back. If we can help them avoid it, why would we say no? Though some needs are too big for us to fill on our own … isn’t that the point? We all need to collaborate, and we believe in the power of partnering. In addition, everyone in our community “does windows”: at any moment, on any day, each of our staff people, regardless of their title, may be called upon to walk side by side with a participant.