The children in your neighborhood deserve a happy and fulfilled childhood beyond their wildest imagination. Yet happiness is out of reach for hundreds of children around us. It's impossible to dream of a bright future when your family struggles with complex issues such as housing insecurity, mental health, unemployment, addiction, domestic violence and more. A child's fullest potential is launched from an upbringing based in safety, security & belonging. You can help guide children & families beyond the theatre of living room wars into unknown possibilities of peace. Your donation brings hope to the homes and hearts of children right here.

By the end of 2021, $48,000 is needed to help meet the needs of children and families who are in crisis or struggling in the foster care system. You can make a difference. You can help spark unimaginable joy.

Watch JOY spark here:

Gift the Joy of Childhood

Aniyah’s dark eyes and dark hair glisten with hope, despite the strength her childhood has required of her. Aniyah and her little brother entered foster care when she was only five years old.

Most five-year-olds have a bedtime routine that includes reading books, bath time and a snack. They have a strong relationship with their mothers. Most almost Kindergarteners do not worry about having food or where they will live.

 

This was never the case for Aniyah. Although she would be entering Kindergarten soon, she did not know what it meant to sleep in a bed or even what bedtime was. In her family, they played until they fell asleep, wherever that happened to be. One day, she asked her foster mom when they would be moving. Her foster mom asked, “What do you mean? This is where we live.” That is when her foster mom realized that Aniyah was used to moving every few weeks to a new hotel or friends’ house. She was also used to not having her mother around. Foster care did not make her afraid; she was always looking for a new mom to take care of her. This was her normal.

 

Significant Needs for Local Children 

For children in Kearney, Grand Island, Hastings and the surrounding areas, going into foster care is often a big ordeal. For over half of these children it means changing schools and teachers, changing friends, and likely even being separated from their brothers and sisters. There are not enough foster homes in children’s communities to support the number of children entering foster care.

 

Studies indicate that each time a child in foster care changes schools they decline by an entire year. In early 2021, there were 58 foster homes in Buffalo county with 33 of those being on-going licensed foster homes. At that same time, there were approximately 136 Buffalo county children in care. The tragedy of not enough foster homes means that children’s lives are completely disrupted.

 

You can help children flourish with joy

When children like Aniyah have safety, rest, food and belonging, they can flourish with joy. They can reach their full potential. Aniyah and her brother were adopted recently by their Compass foster family. Because of the support of her family, Aniyah has thrived. Although she struggled with relationships in the past, now she has a BEST friend! She loves to dance and sing. She is no longer looking for a mother in the midst of strangers. She knows who her mom is. Best of all, Aniyah has seen God answer her specific prayers through the past three years. Her faith has grown in the midst of her struggles.

 

Bring Happiness within Reach of Children

All children deserve this happy life, but right now it is beyond the reach of so many. Their biological families are not getting the support they need, there aren’t enough foster families, and child welfare workers are burning out. However, when community members, businesses and churches willingly step into the messiness of foster care, things change for children like Aniyah.

Joy of Giving

Carol’s inspiration for joyful giving sparked when she was a young girl. She grew up in a family that was always giving and doing for others.

As a young parent and teacher, Carol wanted her children to grow up with these same values.

She and her husband tithed at church. She also helped meet needs of children in her classroom. However, she found herself frustrated with parents who seemed to have the wrong priorities. She never understood why a mom would buy her child the latest portable video player but not lunch money and warm clothing. She saw that happiness was out of reach for many children.

“I was very judgmental and hard hearted toward people in need. Truthfully, I was uneducated about poverty.” Carol lamented over a cup of hot coffee.

Over time, Carol learned that people who spend money impulsively desire to be like everyone else and have things others have too. She has also learned that people in need are lonely. They don’t have relationships with people who can make them better.

Now that she is retired

Carol invests financially and relationally with a young mother she met through Compass. She has seen that loneliness influences this mother’s decision-making skills. Unfortunately, she has also noticed times the system sets people up to fail.

Carol believes it is important to give locally to organizations that she can trust like Compass because she sees the impact made on people’s lives. But she also sees the impact that living generously and sacrificially has made on her life.

Joyful generosity has helped Carol to become more compassionate and less judgmental. “She’s changed my life more than I have changed hers” Carol says about the mother she mentors. Seeing growth in the people she invests in makes her happy. Being sacrificially generous makes her feel good about herself, too.

Carol’s spark for unimaginable joy comes from giving.

Spark your own unimaginable joy!

Will you make a donation today to bring happiness within reach of Nebraska children during the most hope-filled season of the year?

*The donor's name and images are changed for privacy and confidentiality.