“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1-2
It is our intention at Hands and Feet Project to continuously improve and grow the impact our mission has in Haiti. We focus this impact through four different projects: Preserving Families, Providing Families, Experiencing Missions, and Restoring Survivors. As we continue highlighting each individual program, we hope to share a deeper view into the ways we are strengthening our Haitian community. In our last newsletter, we looked at Preserving Families. This month, we are focusing on Providing Families.
Family is important! Within the family context, children experience belonging and growth physically, mentally, and spiritually. When a child has lost or limited connection to their biological family, the resulting separation and isolation can have dramatic effects on their social, physical, and spiritual development leading to cycles of material and spiritual impoverishment. Here at Hands and Feet Project, we train and develop a qualified, trauma-competent team of caregivers who come alongside each child in their home. They provide both a safe place and nurturing relationships in which the children at Hands and Feet Project can still experience family. Within Providing Families, our team supports children and young adults throughout each stage of their life – from infancy, through adolescence, and into independent and interdependent living.
For many children in our care, their first experience of Providing Families is through our Residential Care and Support Program. In this program, children receive complete care from our staff. Living together and learning together in our Children’s Villages, these children who have otherwise limited or no connection with their biological families become family to one another. We share with them the day-to-day experiences of a family as they grow up – complete with the tears and laughter that every family experiences!
Additionally, we developed the Community-Based Residential Care Program to provide support for children who have a recognizable need for more one-on-one care. We support these children by placing them within homes in the community, with families who are approved by Hands and Feet Project and IBESR, Haiti’s child welfare department.
As the children in our care grow toward the age of living more independently, we offer a Guidance and Preparation Program (GAP). This program is designed to fill the “gap” by connecting children ages 16-18 with Life-Coaches who teach basic living and household management skills. Many young adults in this program then transition into the Independent Living Program where they live in the community with Resident Assistants, who are approved by Hands and Feet Project. Living in a home in the community helps them grow in personal independence and community interdependence. These young adults also receive support for schooling, food, and utilities, while being encouraged to find jobs so that they are able to become self-supporting, gain the confidence of independence, and be fully connected to their community.
In the Providing Families Project, the “hands and feet” of Hands and Feet Project are our amazing missionary staff – Michelle Meece, Rachel Hendrickson, The McGarvey Family, and The Zornes Family. These men and women are a blessing as they devote themselves to serving, training, and leading our Haitian colleagues in the best practices of caring for each child we serve.
Just as a family that provides training, physical care, spiritual development, and a place of belonging, the Providing Families Project accompanies children as they gain independence. Our staff and caregivers share life with the children in their care and prayerfully support them through all of life’s ups and downs. Click here to learn more about our team, our programs, and anything else you would like to know about Providing Families.