Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Update on Oasis

You may have heard or read something about what we call, Oasis. Oasis is our initiative to help youth who are facing this overwhelming challenge of aging out of foster care. Check out the graphic below to see what happens to those who age out. We need to do better.
Stats about aging out youth

An Enlarged Vision
We are enlarging our vision from thinking about a house or apartment complex to something called an Intentional Neighboring Community (INC).
An INC is the coming together of people from all walks of life to live intentionally as caring neighbors, embracing those among us who are most vulnerable, and surrounding each other with a culture of friendliness, kindness, helpfulness, and consideration.
The INC Approach
  • Assistance is community driven
  • Based off the universal need for caring relationships
  • Those facing serious social challenges become assets to the community
  • Capacity for ordinary people of all ages to care about and for one another
What Does This Look Like
Purposefully designed spaces.
  • A community of 10-15 acres
  • No more than 150 people
  • 1/3 of the population is aging out foster youth
  • The rest of the population is made up of mostly seniors, then families, and singles
  • Multiple community spaces on the property
  • Self-sustaining
Sr. housing is completely integrated

INC residents are not viewed as problems to be managed, but as ordinary people with overwhelming life challenges that can best be addressed in the kind of family and community setting that we would want for ourselves. Everyone is a member of the community with strengths, skills and life experiences that add to the success of the neighborhood.


Projected Outcomes

  • Reduce homelessness
  • Reduce incarceration
  • Increase employment
  • Empower seniors
  • More children being fostered
  • Adoption of waiting children from the state of IN
  • Support for adoptive and foster parents
  • Reproduced across the state of IN
If you would like to give to help make Oasis a reality you can do so here or if you have any questions about this please email Matt at matt@villagetovillageintl.com 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Milestones


On August 4th, Village to Village Intl. will celebrate 5 years of existence. I can remember back to when this was just a dream in my head. We had just completed our first adoption, and the financial cost for us to do so was on the front of my mind. I had many conversations that went the same way; I would share about our adoption experience, they would congratulate me and end the conversation by saying something like; "That is great that you could do that, but we could never afford to adopt." My first reaction to such statements was that it was an excuse, but I also had to admit the reality that adoption is an expensive process.

Sometimes I am blessed with the curse of not being able to get something off my mind, and this was one of those times. I kept thinking of different ways to remove this financial barrier. I wanted to do something that was not currently being done and I wanted to engage as many people as possible in the process. I can still remember the day it came to me. I was driving in my purple van in the the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago and I had just dropped my son off to play with a friend. I was in my van and it hit me like a ton of feathers (I know most people say bricks, but a ton is a ton. Plus I want you to be entertained as you are reading). That day was the beginning vision of Village to Village Intl. You can read more about how we started here.

Open Hand
If there is one thing that I have learned these past 5 years is to hold the vision and direction of Village to Village Intl. with an open hand. If I look at what we are doing today and compare that to what I had in mind 5 years ago and asked; "Are those two things the same?" I would have to say; "Yes and no." We are doing some of what I envisioned but we are also doing some things that I never envisioned. This is what is so exciting to me. I never would have imagined Stacey (my wife) and I would be using the Trust Based Relational Intervention material from Empowered to Connect to train foster and adoptive families. We can train 4-6 couples per class and currently have 23 couples who are interested in receiving this training. There is definitely a need for this. 

So as we move forward, we can look back and celebrate the past, but we are always looking forward asking ourselves; "What is not being done to help these kids who are faced with these overwhelming life challenges and can we do something to make a difference?" One of our favorite quotes is from Bob Pierce and it says; "Don't fail to do something just because you can't do everything." 

People have asked me; "Why did you start Village to Village Intl.?" and to me the answer is easy and is summed up right on our logo; "Because they matter."



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