“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao Tzu
We’ve been quietly working on something BIG for several months… there’s still a lot to be done, but today we’re letting the secret out and officially announcing the beginning a new journey for our family – Connections Homes.
It began with one phone call. A year ago this month, I was on the phone with our Senior Pastor, Dennis Rouse, when he challenged me to dream big and pray with my husband about starting a home for girls with the church’s support. It took about a month of prayer, consultation with our daughters and family and many late night discussions – but from the minute I hung up the phone, I knew God’s response. YES.
Connections Homes is a place where family is forever.
Our vision is to establish family-based home environments for youth and young adults who come from difficult pasts with uncertain futures.
Our homes will be built on the following principles and commitments:
Lifelong Connections – When we say “forever” we mean it. We’re committed to loving you, empowering you, and walking beside you forever. There will always be a welcome mat at our door for you.
Family-Based Homes – Our family-based home environments will serve as a healthy model for family and relationships.
Our Sons & Daughters – The young men and women who enter our homes aren’t simply residents of a treatment or transitional facility – they are family. In our family, we commit to helping you find identity, belonging, acceptance and guidance.
Without our intervention, the future is bleak:
A teenage girl on the streets will be approached by a pimp within 48 hours.
51% children exiting Foster Care will be unemployed within the first year.
40% of girls will become pregnant within the first year.
70% of trafficked children were in foster care at one point.
Together, WE can change their trajectory:
Connections Homes will receive children from difficult places with uncertain futures – homelessness, foster care, trafficking and abuse survivors. By modeling healthy family relationships, we will help them to build trust and create a stable foundation for launching their lives. The initial focus of our ministry will be to the age group of 18-24 – that critical age of transition where children with no one to lead and guide them often go astray.
Guidance – As our sons and daughters are making the important transition between childhood and adulthood, we are there to train, guide and direct them. Community mentors, Peer Relations, Life Skills, Homemaking Skills, & Therapy will be among the areas where we provide guidance and training.
Belonging – Treatment alone, in the absence of belonging, is often not enough to create sustainable life-long results. In belonging to a family, our core sense of values are developed. It’s in the development of these values that we form the foundation of our lives and decision-making. Family Connections, Community & Friends, Identity, and Faith are among the most important dynamics that build belonging and connection.
Independence – Dr. Karyn Purvis often says, “Healthy independence is impossible without the foundation of healthy dependance.” Through stable foundations we set our sons and daughters on a course for making autonomous and responsible decisions. Filling educational gaps, setting higher education goals, professional skill development and identifying gifts and passions are all ways in which we empower our children to launch out into the world with healthy independence.
Our First Home will be located on an astounding 155-acre property in the mountains of Toccoa, GA. Our Daughter’s House @ The Village will be a place of healing, hope and restoration.
Our goal is to open the doors of the home in the Fall of 2014.
There are still a lot of details to iron out, websites to build, logos to finalize, fundraising campaigns to be launched and sleep to be deprived of – but we’re so very excited that God has counted us faithful and asked us to care for His precious children.
We’re also excited for the many supporters, friends and co-laborers that God has brought along for the journey. I want to give a special acknowledgment to our Board of Directors:
Pam Parish – President & Founder
Steve Parish – Vice President & Founder
Gary Walderich – Finance Director, Victory World Church
Suzanne Clark – S.M. Clark Counseling, Roswell, GA
Gerald Rick – Assisted Living Concepts, INC.
Mindy Park – Assistant Attorney General, Georgia Attorney General’s Office
Kevin Reece – Area Director, North Carolina Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Leslie Reece – Foster Care Director, Northpoint Ministries
And to our Advisory Board:
Ryan Howard – VP, Business Development, InBound Technologies
Christi Holt – Speech Language Pathologist
Mary Frances Bowley – President & Founder, Wellspring Living
Ellie Johnson – Digital Marketing Director, RedHat
Shaun King – Founder, HopeMob & Upfront
Julie Abel – Executive Director, Family Life Services
Robert Willis – Executive Director, Atlanta Children’s Foundation
Anne Krumm – Executive Administrator, Saddleback Ministries
And finally, but most importantly to our Senior Pastors, Dennis & Colleen Rouse and our Victory World Church family. We definitely wouldn’t be doing this today if it weren’t for you.
We also need your help!
Prayer – Please join us in prayer as we begin the process of building the foundation for this ministry and literally building our first home. Pray also for our sons and daughters who God already knows will be joining our families.
Connections – If you know of anyone who would be interested in partnering with us in this vision, please connect them.
Partnership – We would love to have your partnership financially or as a volunteer to help us get things started. To make a financial donation, you can give online through Victory Online Giving – select Connections Homes in the designated box. If you’re interested in volunteering, please use the Contact link above to send me an email.