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Host dads, thank you for saying yes

June 25, 2021 in Learn, Other, Relationships, Wrap Around Care

By Katie Brown, TFG Advocate

I remember when I told my husband, a father of four at the time, that I wanted to host children in my home. He wasn’t thrilled about the idea. We already had our plates full (of mac & cheese and fruit snacks) and adding one more child, no matter how temporary, seemed crazy.

But the great thing about my husband is that he saw my heart. He saw that the Lord was leading me, and he knew that he would be remiss to dismiss what I was feeling. So, instead of saying no, he took one step and said yes to going to an info meeting with me. And another step saying yes to going to training. Step after step, one yes at a time, we made it through the approval process and pretty soon we had our first hosting, a three-year-old girl with these big brown eyes. She would stay with us for two weeks.

Everything was going fine…for about 5 minutes. Then, this child saw our dog.

Side note about the dog: She is not an intimidating dog. She’s a hundred-year-old fat black lab who mostly just sits in the corner and sighs with dismay at the children playing around her. She’s endured having her toenails painted, wearing bonnets, being dressed up like a lion…you get the point. Wouldn’t hurt anyone.

Katie Brown’s dog

Still, this little one was terrified.

I was crushed. I so badly wanted this sweet girl to feel safe and special, but all she could see was my scary dog. I didn’t know her full story, so I didn’t know why she was so afraid, but nothing I could do was going to help so I was ready to call the staff to find a new host family for her. I waited outside with everyone until my husband came home. And he said something along the lines of “let me try.”

We all followed him inside and when our dog greeted him, my husband said in a dramatically authoritative voice, “Go lay down.” Of course, our good ol’ puppy was confused but still was happy to get off her feet, so she went to her corner. And then he and this sweet little one spent the next hour cautiously approaching, learning about, and eventually petting the dog. For the next two weeks, my husband and this little girl were best buds. When he would get home from work, she would stop whatever she was doing and run up to him and they’d stick together until it was bedtime.

Guess what? My husband stopped thinking I was crazy. After one hosting, he knew that as a father, he had a unique place in this work of keeping families together.

Some of the families we serve have dads or other males who are playing an active role in raising their kids. And we also serve many families with single moms. These are strong, persevering, smart women who are protecting, providing, and caring for their families every single day. We want to take every opportunity, including this one, to honor them and call out their strengths.

Simultaneously, the reality is that the children haven’t really been able to see an involved dad in action. In those situations where there is not a dad available, being a host dad becomes a very interesting and delicate job. Dads have to be very observant and self-aware. Sometimes children are intimidated to see a male in the home. Sometimes children aren’t.  Sometimes children run right up the dads and jump in his arms. Sometimes they sit across the room and just observe how he interacts with the other children in the home, trying to figure out if he can be trusted. Eventually, most of the kids figure out that dad is the fun one who will take them on the FAST wagon rides, the generous one who gives a second popsicle, the providing one who microwaves the best chicken nuggets, and the protective one who tames that monster of a dog and keeps her lying docile in her corner. And once a child figures out what healthy fathering looks like, when they see it modeled in the home they’re staying in, they won’t forget it.

Host dads, you are amazing. We see you doing the work and impacting kids lives. We know that many of you stepped into this work with some question marks around how it would impact your home, but now you’ve started to understand that God has a very unique and important role for you. We know that there is a fatherless crisis in this country. And we thank you for humbling yourself and by God’s grace, bravely confronting that crisis head-on and fathering more. You are just ordinary men who are saying “yes” to an extraordinary God.

Thank you.

 

 

On June 17, TFG is turning 4!

June 11, 2021 in News & Updates, Other, Relationships

You’re invited to two very special birthday picnic events planned in the Twin Cities and Rochester areas (see details below).


Support a family in honor of our birthday >


Birthday picnic details

Twin Cities

Thursday, June 17, 2021
5:30-8:30pm (special celebration at 7pm)

Veteran’s Park
6335 Portland Ave.
Richfield, MN 55423

Food catered by Divine Swine

Enjoy family-friendly games, an all-day mini-golf and concessions discount, play area for the kids and a special time of celebration and fellowship with TFG staff.

Let us know you’re coming >


Rochester

Saturday, June 19, 2021
11am-2pm

Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo: 3rd Bridge Picnic Shelter
5731 County Rd 105 NW
Byron, MN 55920

Hot dogs, chips and drinks provided. Please bring a side dish or dessert to share.

Enjoy complimentary zoo access, a large play area for the kids, and celebration and fellowship with TFG staff.

RSVP via email >

 


Give a birthday gift today

 

 

 

Walking alongside moms in need

May 9, 2021 in Learn, Other, Relationships, Wrap Around Care
By Megan Dennison, TFG Program Administrator

 

Come alongside a mom in need: make a monthly gift today

 


“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

– Atticus, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’


 

One of the first things I did after I became a mom was tell my own mom how much I appreciate her. I was suddenly seeing her role in my life from a new perspective – because I was now wearing the ‘motherhood shoes,’ too.

Although I have only walked a short distance in these shoes so far, my appreciation and admiration for my mom, and all moms out there, especially the moms we serve, has grown exponentially.

One thing I have learned in my very short time as a mom so far is that motherhood is hard.

As beautiful and rewarding as it is, motherhood can also be exhausting and overwhelming at times. I have never been more grateful to have people walking alongside me than in this season of my life.

Even with all the resources and relationships I have, there are still days that can be so challenging. Days that push me to my limits. Days that I feel isolated and vulnerable. I love my son so much, but there are still days where I desire a break. When these days come, I am so fortunate to have people I trust in my corner.

I have immense respect for the women we serve at Together for Good. They are brave women.

Brave to be vulnerable enough to call and ask for help when they don’t have emotional or tangible support.

Brave to know they’ve reached their limits and need respite.

Brave to drop off their kids they love more than anything to a host family so that they can recharge to be the best mommas they can be.

Becoming a mom has made me wonder – if I didn’t have the relationships I do in my corner, would I call? Would I be that brave?

I’ve always had a passion for the mission of Together for Good, but the fire inside of me now shines brighter.

I know that I will never fully understand the depths of some of the situations that women in our communities are treading. I may not be able to fully climb into their skin and walk around in it. However, something that I can do is walk alongside them.

We have the opportunity as the body of Christ to walk alongside families in our communities. The opportunity to be the friends that they can trust and call when they need a break to rejuvenate. The community to bring them a meal when they need one. Someone to drop off diapers to bless them. To be a brother or sister in Christ and reach out with a text to check in and see how they are doing.

We have the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a tangible and authentic way. To bring hope and healing to families in our community in Jesus’s name, and to ensure that no parent walks life’s journey alone, because that was never God’s intent.

Walk alongside a mom in need: make a monthly gift today

 

Invest in families for the long haul

May 5, 2021 in Learn, Wrap Around Care

By Katie Brown, TFG Advocate

Invest in families: give monthly today

As professionals who work with families and children in difficult circumstances, we often talk about the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). ACEs are potentially traumatic events that occur during childhood, such as having a parent with an addiction or mental health struggle, moving multiple times, or experiencing abuse or neglect.

These experiences impact a child’s sense of security and can have lasting effects on their developing brain. High ACES scores can impact a child’s future health-both mental and physical, their relationships, and even their ability to secure employment.

In addition to ACEs, there is also another score that we like to talk about at Together for Good. It’s a score that’s a little more hopeful: the “Positive Childhood Experiences” (PCEs) score. PCEs are exactly what they sound like.

Research is showing that children with high ACEs can still have a high level of resiliency when they have a high score on the PCEs assessment. This shows us that even children who grow up in poverty, addiction and chronic stress still have hope!

What’s unique about the PCE assessment is that every item that is identified as “positive” has one underlying theme: relationships.

Positive childhood experiences that lead to strong resiliency are all based around a solid relational start: a strong family even within adversity, steady relationships during hard times, and a sense of purpose and belonging.

Strong family relationships

ACEs and PCEs are measurable and studied scales used by professionals to address the root causes of many issues. They inform how we create our models for care. But the conclusions that have been drawn from these studies support what we, as Christians, have known to be true for centuries.

Relationships are vital. Families are vital.

The family is God’s idea and goes all the way back to creation.

When God created Adam, He said that it is not good for man to be alone, and He went on to give Adam a family. God mentions family dynamics in the ten commandments. In the Psalms, it is said that “God sets the lonely in families.” In Jesus’s life on this earth, we see that He was born to a mom and adopted by a dad.

Even Jesus had a family.

But what happens if a family is struggling with few resources to help them move towards stability?

We know that there’s often layers to struggles and there’s no quick fix. Temporary relief doesn’t always lead to lasting change. Many assistance programs do the necessary work meeting immediate physical needs, but once the food or vouchers are given, the “client” goes back to their situation.

These programs fail to provide what struggling families need most: gospel-centered RELATIONSHIPS. Relationships that are committed for the long haul and don’t go away once a physical need is met.

That’s why we do what we do at Together for Good.

We know that change doesn’t happen overnight. And we know that even one healthy relationship over a long period of time can make all the difference for a family in crisis.

We also believe the church is ready to lean into these relationships, and we are here to help make sure it happens – in a competently compassionate way. And we need your help.

Would you join our mission?

When you financially give as a monthly donor to Together for Good, you invest in lasting relationships.

When you invest in the relationships, you invest in families being supported for the long haul.

You invest in professional oversight and case management for all involved-from the volunteers, to the adults we serve, to the children we serve.

You invest in “positive childhood experiences.”

You invest in God’s plan for bringing hope, resiliency, and a new path forward.

 

Invest in TFG families: start giving monthly today

 

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