generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Whenever someone new moves into my grandmother’s neighborhood, she makes her way over there with a freshly baked delectable from the Taste of Home archives nearly before the moving truck has pulled away. Last year, she delivered cookies to her gas attendant. And, as her friends move into assisted living or battle disease at the local hospital, Grandma visits usually saying something witty to make them laugh. She models hospitality nearly every day.
Yet in the neighborhood where I grew up in Portland, most neighbors kept to themselves. Despite seeing hospitality modeled by my grandmother and mother, I’ve realized that my community-at-large doesn’t always model it very well. In truth, I don’t always model it very well, either.
We’re setting out to change that through Every Child, and the tides are turning.
Every Child foster families step up in the 11th hour when a child needs a home.
When media articles, lawsuits, scrutiny, and heartache strike the public servants working at DHS, Every Child volunteers rally together to quickly deliver hand-written cards that simply say: “we’re thinking of you”.
A faith community delivers meals to caseworkers who often stay into the night in order to try and find a foster family for a child even after an emotionally charged full day’s work.
At the end of January, Oregon’s Secretary of State released an audit of foster care in Oregon. With new leadership, the agency is working hard to address the root of the issues it faces, no doubt. But, at the end of Secretary Richardson’s press conference about the audit, he said, “We need the community to get involved.”
That’s the secret sauce.
When the community begins to model generous and friendly treatment of the most vulnerable, of one another, of even DHS staff, THAT is when the real change happens. And we’re seeing it every day.
To read more about the hospitality happening across the state, please follow Every Child on Facebook.