Let me tell you about my friend, Kathleen. One of the first times I visited her, we drove by a woman on the street corner holding a sign begging for money. She said something like, “I wish there was some place I could pull over to talk to her.” “You would do that?,” I asked. She went on to tell me that she tries to stop and talk to women and youth on the streets to see if she can help. She also keeps a stack of McDonalds gift cards in her car to hand to people. I’m pretty bold, but I have to confess, I have never gotten out of my car to talk to one of these people. She inspires me and will hate that I’ve written this.
Many of us feel called to love vulnerable children. Some of us have traveled around the globe to bring them home to our families, others are foster parents, provide respite care, create orphan care ministries, or do many other things to help the fatherless. Kathleen is compelled by God to love and minister to street kids. She sent me some notes for this post that were so good, I’ve decided to share them as they are, in her voice, so you can hear her heart.
From street kids in Kenya to American teens in Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York, it became apparent that they all have the same need. They all need a family to love them. That was God’s plan. When he sent His son to earth he started with a family and a mom….a teenage girl. God knew that even Jesus needed a mom to raise him, care for his basic needs and show him love. Every kid deserves the same thing. Every kid needs a mom. What if we could generate the power of MOMS to help reach out to the hurting street kids on our streets? What if every soccer mom and church mom and school mom you knew took a few hours a month (or even a few minutes?) to write a card, bake cookies and/or connect with the local drop in center for homeless youth in their own community? It wouldn’t take much to show a homeless teen that someone cares about them. You don’t have to adopt them, do foster care or even commit to a year of volunteering. You just need to remember that every kid needs a mom and then BE THAT MOM!
- There are an estimated 150 million (unicef number) of children in the world who live and work on the streets….For a description and lots more information you can check out untilthen.org
- There are over 1300 children (under 21) who live on the streets of Seattle and at least that many in Portland.
- Domestic street kids are frequently refugees from the foster care system. Many of these kids have been through 10-20 foster care placements before giving up on the system and running away to live alone on the street. Frequently these are kids who were taken out of their homes because of abuse and/or neglect situations. Some kids go directly from abusive homes to the street, skipping the system entirely.
- Studies have shown that within 48 hours a kid on the street is approached by a pimp or someone trying to lure them into the commercial sex trade. Many kids end up trading sex for shelter, food and survival. Many become addicted to drugs and alcohol as a means of coping with the treacherous life of the streets.
- Kids band together in groups of like-minded kids, creating their own “family units” that they fiercely defend and protect. This is their only protection against the harsh life and conditions of the street. Kids know they need a family….they just haven’t had the good fortune of being born into a family that wanted them or could care for them.
If you would like to send a card, please mail it to:
Overlake Christian Church
Be That Mom
9900 Willows RD NE
Redmond, WA 98052
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