COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Whether it’s losing a job, or even a home, unforeseen circumstances can sometimes mean separation for parents from their children.
Those moments of crisis are why Central Ohio members of one organization are opening their homes to children, whether they last a weekend or a year.
“Once a child comes in foster-care, the statistics for everything [are] just frightening for them,” warns Molly Taylor with Safe Families.
The foster-care system is an experience that, for some children, can lead to life-long trauma.
“They struggle with social issues, academic issues, just all around,” Taylor describes.
Taylor’s says that her own home grew when she and her husband twice adopted children from China. She says though a rewarding experience for her own family, the upheaval caused by the separation of children from their biological parents, is now what drives her efforts.
“We wanted to be more proactive than reactive,” Taylor says about improving the overwhelmed foster-care system and minimizing the need for adoption. “They do not have families or relatives or anyone they can reach out to in times of crisis.”
Taylor runs what’s called The Closet for “Safe Families,” an organization with a mission to provide a temporary home for children whose parents are in suffering from that moment of crisis.
The ultimate goal is to keep families together.
“You want the other family to be comfortable. That’s the main thing. You want them to know they made a good choice for their kids,” says Roger Weist.
Roger and his wife Jeanne have hosted seven children over the past two years.
Each time they, or another host family brings a child in, Taylor provides them with donations from The Closet, such as clothing, diapers, and bottles.
While families like the Weist’s benefit from the donations Taylor collects, it’s the children and their parents who reap the rewards.
“[We] really felt that’s where God had call us. To help kids and help families,” says Jeanne Weist. “They bless us back with their smiles and their giggles and all that stuff, so we just love that,” her husband adds.
Like the Taylors, for Mandy Litzke the calling comes full circle.
A product of the foster system herself, Litzke helps connect parents with families. A mission that for her, hit’s home.
“Due to life and circumstances beyond people’s control even, at times kids find themselves really the victim and the most vulnerable. So to be able to prevent a child from having to experience that, it makes it even sweeter,” Litzke describes.
Mary Taylor is also a teacher at the Ohio Virtual Academy. She says as a teacher she’s able to show her students that kindness has a ripple effect.
She’s even been able to help out honors students needing service hours, by have them help organize the closet and all the donations they receive.
A faith-based organization, Taylor says they get a lot of help from members of the churches they partner with; adding they are always looking for donations of items they don’t get back from families like diapers and bottles.
“We just want to wrap the families in love and support,” Taylor says. “It doesn’t just end with the placement; we’re connected with that family for life. We’re their partners, we walk beside them and continue to help them.”