Many families receive help through Safe Families, and that is possible because of the many volunteers that are part of the organization.
Two volunteers share their story today:
Diane Stadnyk is the first of the two, and has been working with Safe Families Canada Steinbach for the last year and a half as a family coach.
“I am someone who will just go into to support someone in a time of need. Maybe they're dealing with some challenges in their life and they just need some support, so I can go in and be that support for them.”
Stadnyk explains why she volunteers with Safe Families.
“I think as a mom myself, my reason for supporting them is just to keep families together.”
She says it’s a great way for her to give back to people and help families when they are in a time of need.
“Sometimes if there are single parents in the community, they may not have family nearby that can assist them when they have a time of need. And so I think it's important for people to just come alongside others and do what we can to support them.”
It’s been a very positive experience for her.
“I think people who have reached out for help, they're wanting some support, they're wanting to just get through that challenge. And a lot of times it's just helping them to see some hope for the future, and with a little bit of assistance, there can be some pretty major steps taken in a positive direction in their lives.”
While Diane Stadnyk volunteers as a family coach, Sam Groenendijk volunteers as a host family welcoming children into her home.
Groenendijk and her husband have been a host family with Safe Families Canada Steinbach for just over a year now, and have worked with several families.
“We have worked with kids of a bunch of different ages, kind of ranging from nine months to 11 years. My husband did some work with transporting kids back and forth to school and things like that as well.”
She says the experience has been really rewarding, and they love to be able to connect with families.
They get to know the kids really well, and be there for them in whatever ways they need.
“We love the opportunity to connect with the kids, provide a safe space for them to just be who they are, to play with them, to have conversations, to just show them what it's like to live in our home.”
Their placements have been mostly weekend placements.
“So we get the benefit of having two full days with them often, and just the opportunity to share meals, and to play and to visit the zoo or whatever it might be.”
Groenendijk says they also appreciate getting to connect with parents, which happens during pick-up and drop-off times.
“We have the opportunity to just share life, share joys about their children, and have spaces where we can connect that way. Even small conversations can be really rewarding for both us and for them.”
She says some of their most fruitful relationships have been longer term.
“We've had kids kind of over a series of months or even had one for six months or so. We love the opportunity that we get in those spaces to introduce them to aspects of faith which are important to us.”
She says building connections with these kids allows for them to plant seeds in them of positive experiences and healthy relationships.
“This is a really unique opportunity for us to get to love on other people's kids. And that's something that we really value and hold dear to our hearts. We're grateful for that.”
Groenendijk says Safe Families has a really unique ministry opportunity to reach into people's lives and provide strong community support in a time where often people are in crisis or need that support really desperately and can't find it elsewhere.
“It's a really unique expression of being the hands and feet of Jesus and the church to families in our community.”
For those that are looking to donate, 50/50 For Kids with Safe Families Canada Steinbach is running until October 4.
With files from Kenton Dyck
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