Our Challenge and Our Joy
Programs that develop the strengths of the family and provide practical strategies to overcome challenges are in great need. In the primarily rural communities we serve, mentoring programs are extremely rare to non-existent. Abuse, neglect, and dependency often become generational. According to the latest reports from the Child Welfare League of America, in 2014, there were 2,290,568 children under the age of 18 living in North Carolina. Of these, 24.3% lived in poverty. 20,966 children were victims of abuse or neglect. This same year, 9,859 children lived apart from their families in out of home care. Of these, 2,416 were waiting to be adopted. Approximately 98,889 North Carolina grandparents had primary responsibility caring for their grandchildren. An estimated 40,000 North Carolina children ages 12-17 were dependent on or abusing illicit drugs or alcohol (http://www.cwla.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/North-Carolina.pdf).
Common struggles vulnerable children face are: increased likelihood of a learning disability, inadequate life skills training, unstable living conditions and inconsistent care, lack of a social support system, frequent transfer from school to school, and poor adult advocacy. These struggles result in common life patterns such as mental health issues, increased risk of addictions and substance abuse, lack of education, involvement with the criminal justice system, poverty, domestic violence, and poor parenting skills/absentee parenting.
Reducing social isolation; creating supportive social networks; teaching appropriate behaviors and stress responses; developing relationship skills; providing a platform of faith or inner peace; and developing an awareness of self and individual worth are core elements of Seeds of Hope programming developed to combat the perpetuation of the cycles of abuse, neglect, dependency, and poverty.