April 13, 2023

A letter from a social worker about a child who attended RFK Camp

The following is a letter from a social worker about a child who attended RFK Camp:

I am a case worker with the Department of Human Services. I had a child on my caseload that attended your summer camp for foster children. When I did my worker visit in July, this little boy was overjoyed to show me his bag of toys he got to bring back with him. He had a picture book that he loved! He stated, “this is so special to my heart.” He carefully detailed what happened in each photo and the camp counselors in them. He told me about Jesus and how the counselors cared for him. He wanted to make sure I knew Jesus before I left him.

This child comes from a family of significant poverty, substance abuse and violence.

The small tokens he brought home with him gave him pride in his belongings. I have never seen a child so excited to show me his bedroom. “I can’t wait to show you something! Are you ready to do the part of my bedroom?” I was delighted by a new attitude and sense of pride that I had never seen on this child’s face; he took my hand and guided me to his room. The build up to the reveal was like watching “Extreme Home Make Over” …. he knew he had something that was about to blow my mind!

He opened the door and I instantly see he has made his bed (which he never does) carefully tucked his soft, clean new blanket to the corners of the bed and ensured there was not a wrinkle in sight. His pillow carefully placed in the middle. He paid such close attention to detail. This 7-year-old boy, who gets in trouble at school for not listening, was meticulous in how his bed was made. Why? Why was this so important? Because he had never had a NEW blanket before; just the blanket on the couch or floor of where ever he was sleeping. This blanket was his! And even more special was that someone had made it just for him! He bounced up and down on his tippy toes as he provided that detail to me, “Did you know that this wasn’t just bought from a store? Did you know that someone knew my name and made it just for me?” Tears flooded my eyes as emotion soaked my soul in how rich this very small, probably $12.00 blanket, meant to this child.

I choked down my tears so that I didn’t confuse him but later, on my drive home, let them all fall as God reminded me just how precious every child on my caseload is; I need that reminder, that they are all in His care and I am the hands and feet of the Lord. This experience changed his life! Not only did it introduce to him to Jesus, which is a seed that will be harvested later, but it changed his daily life – it changed how he slept that night, it changed how he felt about his bedroom, it changed how he played in his house. He had toys he didn’t have before and games to play with his brother he didn’t have before. I am not sure my words, no matter how carefully I craft them, will ever depict the joy this child had; the immense amount of hope he now had grip on that I hadn’t seen before. So if the task seems daunting, if the work feels overwhelming, when you are just about ready to give up and your mind is curious if your effort is even doing a thing… please know that the thread bracelet you took time to braid is worn like it is 18 carat gold.

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