Here’s something you probably don’t realize about street kids- most of them aren’t orphans.
Right now, I work with 16 kids and only one of them, the oldest, is a true orphan. It’s easy to assume that if kids are living on the street then they must not have a family, but thats not true. The majority of kids living on the street today actually have a home and one or both of their parents are still alive.
I already know your next question- so why are we helping these kids?
There’s a huge movement in churches today to help orphans. It’s a beautiful thing because God is so very clear about His heart for orphans and I think Christians are doing a really good job stepping up to help. But God has opened my eyes to a huge group of kids around the world who for one reason or another often get ignored or overlooked- street kids.
Yes, most street kids have a family- but I use that word very loosely. Let me ask you this- if you had a family and a home to go to at night, would you choose to live on the street instead?
My kids have homes, and at least one parent, but none of them ever want to go home.
They have alcoholic dads who come home and beat them at night. Or moms who collect trash from the dumps all day and then use the money to gamble instead of buying them food. They have parents who send them out to the street in dirty clothes to beg for money and then beat them up if they don’t bring home enough. And moms who teach their 5 year old daughter to cry on the corner in her underwear so people passing by will feel bad and put some coins in her cup.
You see my kids have homes and families…but not really.
These kids don’t need an orphanage, because they aren’t orphans. And most of them won’t be put up for adoption because I fully believe my God wants to heal and restore the families they already have.
So this is what we’re doing about it here at Streetlight-
Everyday Monday through Friday these kids come to our drop in center. They shower, brush their teeth, eat lunch, have school, and then eat a snack. We try to teach them basic hygiene, life skills, the importance of saying please and thank you, why you can’t just punch your friend because he made you mad-you know-basic stuff! We have two fabulous Filipino teachers teaching the kids to read and write. Every Sunday they get dressed up in their nice outfits and we load up the jeepney for church. Our social worker, along with the rest of the staff, have started building relationships with the parents of our kids, especially the moms, to learn more about each family situation.
And here’s where we’re headed-
We’re looking for land away from the city where we can build 3 small family style homes to start- each with 5 or 6 kids and 2 house parents. These kids desperately need to get off the street. They need help breaking their addiction to drugs. They need a special education (you can’t just put a 17 year old who can’t read back into regular school). They need to learn how to live in a home with a healthy family and basic responsibilities. They need counseling to heal from all they’ve been through.
At the same time, we want to help the parents. They need counseling too, job opportunities, rehab, and so on. Every situation is different. But our desire is to see God heal and restore the kids and their parents at the same time. Ideally, creating a healthy family to reunite back together when that time comes.
So that’s the dream. And I thought it was only fair that you know exactly what you’re supporting.
These kids desperately need help. They need people to love them, believe in them, and hope for them when no one else will. And these parents need the same. Some of them will probably never change and their kids won’t ever go back to those horrible situations, I know that. But some of them will change. And the ones who will deserve that chance. They just need someone to come alongside and help them, instead of judging them. They need grace. But don’t we all…
And that’s what our ministry longs to be. A place of love, and hope, and lots of grace.
When you help support a child, you’re not just supporting a child, but a family. You’re providing food, education, hygiene, and the love of Jesus to a kid who really needs it. And you’re also helping give these parents a second chance.
I know it’s different. These kids aren’t orphans…but the need is just as great. Will you believe in them with us? Will you help us make restoration a reality in the lives of these kids and their families?
If you’re interested in sponsoring a child, this is currently the BEST way to be a part of what God is doing here. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.