Friday, April 4, 2008

What do you do?

A few people have asked for more particulars about what I actually do, so I figured I would commit a blog post to answering that question in a little more detail.

The short answer: My husband and I are dorm parents at a residential school.

My typical day that I posted a while back explains a little, but not everything.

The long answer:

Each week we have 12 boys between the ages of 10 and 13 that live with us from Sunday night to Friday night. They go home on the weekends, and during the week they attend school on campus where we live. We do not cook for them, buy their supplies, do their laundry, or teach them (other than the couple hours we spend on homework every night). They do have homes and parents that care deeply for them where they go every weekend. We come alongside their parents as a support.

We do spend a lot of time nurturing them. We work on social skills, building off of the Boys Town model, and character, using the Character Counts program. We also spend quite a bit of time on academics, homework, and study skills. The school is not a Christian school, but espouses a lot of Christian values. My husband and I are born again believers in Jesus Christ and view this as both a job and a ministry to these kids and their families. We have had many opportunities to share our faith with the boys and parents that we have worked with.

The kids come to our school through a variety of avenues. Almost all of them are from single-parent homes, and all of them come from low-income homes. Sometimes they were struggling in school, falling as much as a grade level behind their peers, and a social worker referred them to our program. Others heard about our program from a relative and the parents liked the idea of a safe, structured environment for their child(ren) to spend the school year. They do not have diagnosed behavior disorders, but some do have mild learning disabilities. The kids we work with are the ones that would often slip through the cracks in a typical, 25-30 child public school classroom. Also, because most of their parents are trying to be both mom and dad it is difficult for them to work with their children consistently on homework and teach social skills.

The program receives private funding and the parents pay a small tuition payment each month to have their child here.

We started in this role nine years ago and have enjoyed it immensely. It is rewarding to see them grow and progress academically and socially, but we have also enjoyed many spiritual conversations with them. Only God knows their hearts, but we pray that His word will be printed there and called to mind and that each one would make a personal decision for Him. They see how we really live as individuals and as a family each and every day. We pray daily that we would honor Christ in our home and that they would see that as well and that God would receive the glory.


Guinevere Meadow said...

Thanks for the clarification! I was very curious.

boysrus said...

This sounds like a really neat program. Thanks for sharing! Blessings, Dee @

amada said...

wow. that is quite a task! thanks for linking to this post. I admire you for the work that you have finished. Praise God who give to each of us the grace necessary for what he asks us to do.

Trujillo, Peru