Cake lady & others
July 2022 · Forward in Hope, Foster Care / Adoption
Commitment to children and families doesn’t end with the work that’s detailed in a Saint Francis job description – especially for many of our employees. When you help vulnerable kids and families, your heart and mind don’t turn off when you leave the office. Many of our employees use their talents to give extra, taking time out from their personal lives to make a difference for kids.
One of our employees volunteers to take senior photos for foster kids, and another makes birthday cakes for them!
The cakes look delicious, and the photos are beautiful — but they’re more than just things. They’re evidence of caring, and they make our kids feel cared for. That’s half the battle right there.
The situation of children and teens in foster care varies significantly. But some kids have come from families where their birthday was never celebrated. Getting a cake that is made to match something they care about helps them understand that the world can be different.
Lesley Percival is our cake baker, and she shared recently about her job. A Foster Care Homes Supervisor, Lesley works in Great Bend, Kansas, where she is both a supervisor and a case manager.
She chose to be a social worker, she says, because she loves working with children.
“I’ve been here for almost 20 years and continue to love the children and families I work with daily. Sure, there are many frustrating and sad situations in this field, but when I see a child positively impacted by foster families and by workers in the field, I am amazed at the transformations,” she says. “It’s a joyful experience to see birth families grow, make changes, and develop the skills and resources they need to make their families stronger.”
Hearts don’t turn off when you leave your desk. In fact, we work hard with our employees to help them learn about self-care and how to quiet their hearts, at least for a bit. Secondary traumatic stress – the kind of stress that impacts you from hearing about trauma, but which didn’t happen directly to you – is very real in child welfare careers.
But so is joy, amazement, and sheer awe of the changes families make to get their kids home, of the way foster families step forward and change children’s lives, and of the way one loving, caring adult can change a future.