A part to play right away

A reflection from Michael*, 24, a Friend of Home for Good.

Fostering, adoption and supported lodgings were not things I had thought much about at all before university. I had known and loved Jesus for a long time, and I was involved in a lot of volunteering, fundraising and campaigning. Justice had become an incredibly important part of my faith and my life. But it wasn’t until I made some friends who were involved with Home for Good that I realised my care for our society’s vulnerable could reach further than it did.

After just a few conversations with them, I couldn’t help but see the connection between my volunteering at our local foodbank and the need for foster carers, adoptive parents and supported lodgings hosts. Upon learning that a significant proportion of individuals experiencing homelessness, in contact with the criminal justice system or facing some kind of socio-economic disadvantage had also experienced the care system or another form of loss or difficult family situation, it became clear to me that caring about our society’s children and young people couldn’t just be an optional add-on to our biblical call to justice, but that it sits right at the heart of it.

To care is one thing, but it’s hard to know what to do with that care if you’re not yourself in a position to be able to welcome a child or a young person into your home. I certainly wasn’t, at 21 years old, only part of the way through my degree, in the early stages of a relationship and with a student loan being my only real form of income.

I remember the following winter watching a video from Home for Good about teenagers being placed in inappropriate and unsafe accommodation – I can still picture the images of canal boats and caravans – having just opened an envelope full of Christmas money from a relative. I just couldn’t comfortably sit with that gift in my hands, knowing that there were young people, not far away, in accommodation that was so unsafe and unsuitable. I realised there was a part I could play right away to make a difference, and that that part was giving financially. I made a one-off donation from that Christmas money, and then also set up a regular gift of ten pounds a month. A few weeks later, before the first ten pounds had left my bank account, I realised I could afford to give more so I increased my monthly gift to 40 pounds.

“I’m not sure anyone’s ever quadrupled their gift before the first donation has made it to us before!” was scribbled in the handwritten card I received a few days later. “Your donation is going to make a huge difference.” Getting that card wasn’t a deal breaker for me; if I never received anything from Home for Good, I’d still want to donate to the cause. But as a donor, it’s really encouraging to receive this kind of thing, especially when it’s not even a huge gift – and I’m aware that in the grand scheme of things, my gift isn’t huge. The fact that someone took the time to write a personal and detailed message to me makes me think that the team care about the individual, and that that care translates beyond their supporters and to the children and young people they work to find homes for.

After giving for a few years, I decided I wanted to learn more about what it really means to care for children who have experienced such loss, so I took part in an online Home for Good Foundations course. At that point, my girlfriend and I had had quite a lot of conversations about fostering, adoption and supported lodgings and how those will likely be things we consider as we think about our hopes and plans for the future and any family they might include. The course felt like a hugely valuable step in terms of taking my own learning a little further and becoming better equipped and inspired to consider what my response might be one day, even if it’s not something I pursue immediately. But as well as encouraging me to think about what my own family will look like in the future, I felt encouraged that my gift is already making an impact now. Hearing from volunteer Champions who have lived experience and knowing that my donation is helping to make more stories like theirs possible is an incredibly special thing.

When I think about the impact my gift might have, there are both short-term things I’m hoping for and longer-term, bigger vision things too. In the short term, I hope that my gift allows a staff member to do their job, whether that’s tweeting to an online audience of thousands, sharing Home for Good’s message to a church congregation, journeying with an individual, a couple or a family, or working behind the scenes to ensure everything happens efficiently and safely. If I can help make those things happen, then I believe I’m helping to make a difference.

But on a larger scale, I’m excited that my donation might help fund some real systemic change; that we might not be just challenging and dealing with the symptoms of this broken system, but actually addressing the root causes. I’m excited at the thought that one day I won’t be able to give to Home for Good anymore, because it won’t need to exist. I’m excited at the thought that one day we will see our nation’s children and young people supported to thrive in families and settings that are right for them. I’m excited at the hope of justice in our communities.

Could you consider becoming a Friend of Home for Good by giving regularly? Find out more here.

*names have been changed for anonymity

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You are invited to join us on Saturday 7 May 2022 at the Home for Good Summit. The theme of the Summit this year is ‘Together’. The Summit is a one-day conference that brings together those who care for vulnerable children and those who want to find out more about how to play their part. With brilliant speakers, time for worship and prayer and a full kids' programme, it's a day not to be missed if you are passionate about seeing vulnerable children thrive.

Together we can make a difference, with and on behalf of care-experienced children and young people in the UK. Together we can find a home for every child who needs one.

There aren’t many things that demonstrate the complex beauty of ‘togetherness’ like the words of 1 Corinthians 12. We want to stand together as one body with many parts, taking the time to honour and uphold those who can sometimes be overlooked. We would love for you to join us either in person or online as we meet together at the Summit 2022. Click here to find out more.

Date published:
January 2021


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