At the intersection of Camelback Road and the I-17, down the street from Catholic Charities, an 8-year-old Guatemalan child in foster care noticed a homeless gentleman with a sign saying, Hungry. The man looked sun-burned from over-exposure. The little boy asked me what we could do for him, so we passed on a few dollars to the gentleman. When we returned to the classroom, we discussed homelessness and what it means to be our brother’s keeper. The children were all in agreement that we could, and should, do something to help someone in need.
Helping Those in Need
The students brainstormed what they thought homeless individuals might need. At first, they came up with many of the obvious choices --a water bottle, food and hygiene items. As the discussion progressed, they added items like sunscreen and handi wipes. Then one of the children thought it might be meaningful to add notes of encouragement.
Some of the statements that the children (all under the age of 12) came up with were: “Just be who you are, not how others expect you to be,” “Don’t give up!” “God never turns His back on you. He never leaves your side,” and “Value yourself, we are all equal.”
Getting support from our community, we secured donations to put together Zip-loc bags with these items to take with us whenever we leave the classroom. Each child participates in assembling the bags, writing special notes, and passing them out when we are out and see someone in need at an intersection in our community.
It has been said that through others, we become ourselves. Through having this opportunity to give to our neighbors in need, the students have an opportunity to further develop their compassion and empathy and to take those qualities to the next level – one of action – and grow the seeds of servanthood in their hearts.
Are you interested in learning more about our international foster care program? You can learn more and support our work!