It began with a young girl who was a born to a mother who’s battled addiction and homelessness and is incapable of working. Although she loved her child, she herself was born to a mother who battled addiction and who also has never worked. And so the young girl’s mother lacked many basic skills needed to raise a healthy, adjusted child. If left on their own, the odds that this girl would grow up to battle addiction and homelessness, and become incapable of working, are high.
So we took this girl – smart, capable, loving, and curious about the world – under our wing. We asked ourselves: how can we break the cycle of dysfunction in this family? How can we best help her to grow into the capable and happy adult we know she can be?
We decided she needed to be put into an environment as different from the one in which she is in, and spend as much time in this other environment as possible. The solution: full-time enrollment in a highly regarded private school.
The difference in her speaking, the way she carries herself, and how she engages with others is astounding. The school is fully committed to this girl, for she has captured their heart in the same way she has captured ours.
That was the beginning.
One child at a time: the starfish story
This approach, why one child at a time, when there are many larger organizations that can reach higher numbers?
An old man was walking along the beach strewn with starfish stranded on the sand above the ebbing tide. As he walked, he picked up starfish and threw them back into the ocean, to safety. A young man watched him, confused. “Why do you bother?” he asked the older man. “There must be thousands of starfish on the beach. What difference does it make?” The older man picked up a starfish from the sand, and threw it into the water. “It makes a difference to that one,” he said.
These children are our starfish.
There is NO application process for this program. We rely on a small group of trusted advisors to introduce us to families with children who would benefit from The Village Project. This initiative is funded separately from other Christmas in the City programs.
If the world is going to change for the better, you have to focus on the kids.