Reach Out Day 3: Jonathan’s Place

In 2008, in Dallas County alone, there were over 5,000 children removed from their families and placed in foster homes or facilities*.  These children, ages newborn to 17, have faced abuse of all kinds, neglect, and abandonment.  Under the Family Protective Services, both children and parents are held to high standards and must meet specific requirements in order for the family to be restored.  Until the children can be returned to the parents, many remain in a group home, institution, or foster home.

One such Children’s Shelter is Jonathan’s Place,  “a ‘home-style’ emergency shelter for abused, abandoned, and neglected children.” Currently they only have about10 children, but numbers change almost daily as children either return home or get moved to a foster home and new ones come in.  Most days, especially in the summer, the children remain at the shelter and do not get to venture outside the walls much.  Although the facility is very nice (& expanding with renovations), the children long to get out & have some fun.

Yesterday we gave them an opportunity to get out by hosting a picnic/grill out at a local park.  About 40 of us gathered together, ate hot dogs, and played some kickball.  Our purpose was not to try to “save” them or counsel them with Scripture; we simply wanted to show God’s love through our friendship and acceptance.  The children from the shelter seemed to feel comfortable with us, and overall we all had a great time.

The cookout was the start of a partnership with Jonathan’s Place.  From here on, we’ll be providing dinner and activities once a month.  I anticipate that we’ll get to build better relationships with the kids and a chance to speak Jeremiah 29:11 into their lives:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

*taken from the Dallas Family Protective Services 2008 data book.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Amanda
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 22:57:43

    At my first job, I took care of the filing room, which was filled from floor to ceiling with files on local charities. Jonathan’s Place was always one of my favorite files, because their newsletters and such were always so encouraging — they always had so much hope for the kids who came in and out of their door. I hope and pray that y’all have a great time loving these kids who have been through so much.


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