You are a champion.
According to dictionary.com, to be a champion means “to defend; support.” When you give to Youth Haven, you are defending and supporting children who need that in their lives. You are a champion for those children! Children like Liam.
His mother was 13 years old when he was born - in need of a champion herself. When she was expecting again at age 14, a concerned friend called Child Protective Services. What they discovered in the home were extremely unsafe conditions, with a lack of food, clothing, and other basic necessities. Illegal activities were taking place inside the home, and Liam was underweight and malnourished. The two were placed in a residential foster home for teen mothers.
After the birth of his little sister, Liam and the baby were removed from their mother and the cycle of transferring from foster home to foster home began. He was eventually separated from his sister and endured physical and sexual abuse in at least two of his many foster homes. His 11th set of foster parents finally dropped him off at his foster/adoption agency with only a few belongings.
His first champion was a social worker at that adoption agency, who found a foster couple who wanted to help Liam heal. They were his next champions, helping him through six months of trauma therapy. Then God brought two more champions into his life: his adoptive parents, who saw him for more than his trauma and behavioral diagnoses. They were his 13th home, and he is now part of their family.
But life has continued to be a struggle for Liam. In addition to the long-term effects of childhood trauma, he also went through the heartbreak of losing a foster brother and best friend, who was reunited with his biological family after four years with Liam’s family. It was after that experience that Liam’s adoptive mother reached out to us, asking for help and support for Liam.
“Liam still has a very long road ahead of him for healing and to not let his past define his future,” she wrote. “He needs to rise above the CPS file and initials that follow him, because he is more. We believe he would benefit greatly from Youth Haven and regain some of the childhood he was robbed of, while being in an environment that is supportive of his unique situation.”
Liam came to Youth Haven for the first time last summer, and had an incredible week full of fun activities. A few behavioral struggles did pop up; the effects of childhood trauma don’t just go away when the traumatic experiences stop. But our staff had an opportunity to show him patience and model the love of Christ for him. To speak words of affirmation into his life and share the important truth that God loves him. To be his champions. And he received a new Bible, the Youth Haven Trailbook, to take home with him as a regular reminder of that truth.
You have an opportunity to be a champion for Liam and other kids like him this summer! Liam is scheduled to come back for a week this summer, and every week will be filled with kids who have experienced hardships in their lives. I would like to tell you that Liam’s story is extreme. That we don’t get very many requests for children whose experiences are that difficult and traumatic. Unfortunately, that’s just not true. We receive multiple applications for help each day, and many of the children have faced circumstances very similar to Liam’s.
These children need a place where they feel safe, where their needs are met, and where they are accepted, understood, and loved. They deserve a chance to just have fun with other kids. They deserve to feel secure and have caring adults invest time in them. They deserve to know that the same God who created the universe also created them, loves them unconditionally, and has a purpose for their lives!
But they wouldn’t be able to come if they had to pay for their time with us. They need advocates like you to provide that experience for them.
Every disadvantaged child who comes to Youth Haven receives a full scholarship to attend our programs. At the same time, we don’t accept any state or federal support. It is only through the generosity of friends like you that we are able to provide this life-changing experience for kids like Liam.
Would you please consider giving a special gift to help provide those scholarships this summer? We estimate that it costs $384 for a child to come to Youth Haven. That includes food, comfortable dorms, bedding, activities and facilities, a Bible to take home, and more. And it breaks down to $32 per month, just over a dollar a day. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee each day, you can make a difference in the life of a deserving child. You can give that child hope!
Thank you for being a champion for kids in need!
Your Partner in Missions,
President & CEO