Currently in the Commonwealth of Kentucky there are 8,300 children in the foster care system. Sadly, Kentucky numbers are among the highest in the nation. These children suffer from abandonment, physical and emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect that is very traumatic for children. New Pathways is working to care for children who suffer any form of trauma by ministering to their physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs in a Christ-like atmosphere. We let them know they are valuable to God and loved by Him and us!
Children understand they are important when caring adults spend time with them. Often my staff and I are reminded how spending time with children really matters. One snow day we all bundled up to go sledding, have a snowball fight, and make a snowman. The children ranged in age from four to eleven both boys and girls. Kim and I joined a couple of our staff to play in the snow. After a few trips down the hill on a sled an 8 year old girl looked up at Kim and said, “This is the best day ever!” We continued to sled, occasionally half-heartedly threw a snowball at one another, the kids rolled and made snow angels, and we attempted to make a snowman (key word attempted). We were out for a couple of hours and started back in for hot chocolate and a snack when this same 8 year old girl looked up at Kim with bright eyes and exclaimed, “This is the best day of my life!”
When I reflect on that day I’m still overwhelmed that spending a couple of hours playing in the snow and having fun with a few adults stood out as the best day of her life. Of course, you have to understand that before she came to New Pathways she was getting most of her food out of dumpsters, sleeping on a dirty mattress on the floor with two siblings, had moved more than most people do in a lifetime, and she had no adults investing time in her. Safety and security were not in her vocabulary and she was not accustomed to having adults spend time focused on her. She felt valued and loved that day and it made an impact on her. Children are important to God and we work hard every day to make sure the children we serve know it!