We All Need More #GoodNewsStories
With the evolving COVID-19 pandemic bringing “normal” life to a halt and casting a cloud of sadness on many parts of the world, people are searching for the true goodness in humanity. Lately, #GoodNewsStory is a constantly trending topic, while people across the world participate in virtual, live events to connect with others, whether old friends or complete strangers. People are collectively acknowledging that it’s important to strive to brighten others’ day… even if it’s from the comfort of your own couch.
For instance, our recent “Stay Away 5K” was a huge success, raising more than $12,000 for children and families in Georgia’s foster care system, through the virtual participation of 184 runners across 19 states! Although we didn’t physically connect with these runners and supporters, we all rallied together for a common cause.l. It was a beautiful display of God’s love and his promise to remain our firm foundation during uncertain times.
As you can see, here at Wellroot Family Services, we are blessed to see the good in humanity, with a new #GoodNewsStory always on its way through our halls and offices. Although the foster care system isn’t perfect, we encounter far more stories of hope, joy and selflessness than those of darkness or despair. These stories shine an especially bright light in dark times.
A particularly encouraging, pay-it-forward moment recently happened within Wellroot’s Family Housing program, where we provide housing, financial assistance and means toward self-sufficiency for families who are facing homelessness.
Sarah, a young mother of two children, entered our Family Housing program to separate herself from a troublesome home life. Despite her circumstances, Sarah’s main goal was maintaining stability for her children. Although she worked full-time and took online classes toward earning a degree, Sarah was diligent in making sure her children were never late for school or extracurricular activities.
For nearly seven months, this young mother worked toward a better life for her and her children, while attending our life skills class to achieve financial independence. Sarah transitioned out of our Family Housing earlier than expected, moving into permanent housing with her children.
Sarah’s time in our program overlapped with another individual in a similar situation, a young mother of three kids named Erica. While working full-time with no car, it was difficult for Erica to transport her children to school. Wellroot Family Housing Case Manager Tayeka Reid-Bryan recalls Erica’s youngest child always being exhausted at program meetings. The lack of a car weighed heavily on all four members in Erica’s family, and their schedule was a constant struggle for everyone.
However, when Sarah transitioned out of the Family Housing program, she also inherited a car from a family member who had passed away. Since Sarah already had a car of her own, and with a strong desire to give back to someone who was in a situation with which Sarah was all too familiar, Sarah called Case Manager Tayeka and asked if she could give the car to Erica. Although she had an option to sell the car and pocket the profit, Sarah was determined to give the car to Erica and her family.
“Erica was ecstatic,” said Tayeka, recalling when Erica heard the news of her new car. “She was so appreciative.”
The car completely changed Erica’s life and schedule. It was no longer a complete struggle for her children to make it to the bus or to school, and they had more down time to spend with one another and take advantage of the skills classes offered in our program.
“People are never looking for a handout. They’re looking for a hand up,” Tayeka said about the hardworking individuals in our Family Housing program. “They don’t let their circumstances define who they are or where they’re going. Instead, they build ‘community within community’ based on their similar journeys and common goal of gaining stability for their families.”
Sarah and Erica aren’t the only story of our program participants paying it forward. Many of these men and women form strong bonds and strive to “help the next person,” just as someone helped them. Even if we don’t feel like we have much to give, we can always make a positive difference in the lives of those around us — whether physically (with a car!) or virtually.
As we all come together in solidarity against today’s global pandemic, we are striving to “pay it forward” by praying specifically for needs in our online community. If you’d like to join our prayer movement and provide a beacon of hope in times of darkness and uncertainty, we invite you to visit our virtual prayer wall to find requests for others in need of prayer. You can leave your own requests, too, as we digitally gather together as people of faith.