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Be The Difference 3–Reflections from one of our volunteers

FB_IMG_1431863474291Be the Difference 3: Reflections

I first heard rumblings about Be the Difference 3 at Christmas time, but I didn’t quite understand what it was all about. For those of you who need a bit of an explanation, here it is:

Be the Difference events are not just concerts. They exist to raise awareness on behalf of the almost 300 foster kids in Gaston County (and now the surrounding areas). For one night only, Least of These Carolinas brings many child-advocacy agencies together under one roof.

I’d like to tell you about three distinct moments from the night that stick out in my mind.

I ended up with a pass to meet the bands before the concert – Sidewalk Prophets and Jarod Anderson. Among the group of meet-and-greet pass holders were several foster kids, around eight-years-old. Of course they asked what fame was like. But my favorite question was this – what’s the scariest dream you’ve ever had? Believe it or not, one of the members of Sidewalk Prophets actually gave an answer. (Don’t worry. It was kid-friendly.)

I quickly formed the opinion that this time with the bands was for the kids. I figured this had to be one of the coolest days for an eight-year-old, talking shop with these “famous” people. I wondered if they would remember this for the rest of their lives. Personally, I hope that the kids will always remember the encouraging – and funny – things said in that meet-and greet … and tuck those things away for a rainy day.

During Sidewalk Prophets’ intermission, the band encouraged concert-goers to speak with the child-advocacy agencies set up in the lobby. Personally, I was interested in learning more about the Guardian Ad Litem program in Gaston County. I specifically wanted to know this: could someone who works a full-time, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job, be a Guardian ad Litem.

What is a Guardian ad Litem, you ask? They are volunteers who agree to advocate for children removed from their homes. These people visit with the kids and record their observations for the court. I learned several valuable things from the lady I spoke with and I’d like to bullet-point them for you:

 

  • You can indeed work a full-time job and still be a Guardian ad Litem (it isn’t just for retirees). However, she emphasized the importance of this role, so commitment is absolutely necessary.

 

  • You can take on as many cases as you are able. If you can’t do but one case at a time because of work or family obligations, that’s fine. The most important thing is to stay focused on the child’s best interest.

 

  • You don’t have to appear in court on the child’s behalf, but you can attend the court sessions if you want to.

 

  • “It is hard,” she told me. Aren’t truly rewarding things supposed to be difficult though?!

 

 

Finally, I’d like to tell you how my night ended. After standing in the Sidewalk Prophets’ autograph line, I had a conversation with another Least of These Carolinas volunteer. A while back, she and I (and my family) sat with a foster child in the hospital.

“Have you heard how [[ child’s name ]] is?” I asked.

“They’ve moved foster homes several times,” she responded.

“Oh,” is probably what I said, slightly in shock. Truthfully, that’s not the answer I was hoping for, especially since this child hasn’t really left my prayers since we were introduced.

She continued. “[[ Child’s name ]] wants to be adopted so bad. [[ Child’s name ]] would even be willing to separate from siblings just to have a family.”

Be the Difference 3 was awesome! Children in Foster Care– and members of the community – were present and ministered to, concert attendees were able to get answers to their questions regarding local children’s services. Donations were made. Jesus was no doubt praised. The event was a success.

The three “moments” I described for you above have really affected me. They’ve got me thinking. In the words of Sidewalk Prophets, “Was I Jesus to the least of these?” If not, what can I do to change that? What can I do more of to show the kids in our community that they are important? I need to take action. I encourage you to do the same.

 

 

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