I ran into an old friend. We talked and reminisced about old times. When we parted, we promised to keep in touch. As she left, she said “let’s be intentional about it.” As I thought about it, the word “intentional” can apply to many areas of our lives. Life is hectic and full of distractions. We INTEND to keep in touch, to volunteer, to donate but life happens and we never seem to get around to it. My promise to myself is to be intentional this year. Lives are at stake.
In Marion County alone, over 3,700 children experienced homelessness last year. According to a recent report, while family homelessness continues to increase, the resources to address their needs are decreasing. That is why I have to be intentional. Lives are at stake.
Dayspring Center continues to provide quality services, not just shelter, to homeless families. In the past two years, Dayspring has developed and implemented a comprehensive Children’s Program. Because we understand that children are the most impacted by their family’s homelessness, the program is designed to address the unique needs of our children. The staff of the program conducts assessments, advocates, conducts parenting classes, oversees tutoring and provides summer day camp. Recently, a 12 year old new resident of Dayspring was assessed to be suicidal. She had a plan. She felt she was a burden to her mom and there would be more for her siblings if she were not there. This story possibly would have had a tragic ending if the family had not come to Dayspring. The staff properly assessed the child and got her to the help she needed immediately. Lives depend on our being intentional. No child should feel as if they are a burden.
Dayspring recognizes the challenges that lie ahead. Funding continues to decrease as the needs for Dayspring’s services increase. Our building is aging. Families continue to struggle with homelessness and hunger.
Because of these obstacles, I need to be intentional despite the distractions of life. But I need your help. I challenge you to also be intentional. Donate! Be intentional! Volunteer! Be intentional! Lives depend on it. Together we can save lives!
Lori E. Casson, MSW