Changing Lives – One Hug at a Time

My son, James, and I were looking for a new volunteer opportunity for our family and stumbled across White Fields. We scheduled a tour to see the facility and talk about the different volunteer opportunities. The drive home was a quiet one for the first few miles. James got a bit teary eyed and made a comment “Mom, when we go feed the homeless, many of them choose to be there. These kids….they had no choice.  We have to do something.”

Words from my son continued to ring in my heart. He was right. We had to do something.  So, to make sure we were all on the same page, my husband, Don, James, Jada, and I returned for another tour. That trip home was quiet too. I rode with Don.  He told me he didn’t feel equipped or adequate but knew we had to do something. We returned one more time to discuss expectations – what White Fields desires and what we’re willing to commit to.  You see, the commitment is important. These kids have had nothing but broken commitments so that is their expectation – that you WILL let them down. We wanted to help change that. We wanted to earn their trust.  We wanted to help change how they view the world and adult, at least that’s what we set out to accomplish.

We’ve been going on Thursday evening for several weeks now.  It’s been a life changer, for us as much as the boys. I’ll never forget the first week we went. I’d purchased items to make slime with the boys. We’d made the slime and wanted to hang out longer so we went outside to play. It was quite hot that evening so one of the boys wanted to go in for water. I held my arms straight out and told him he could go but it would cost him a hug. He reluctantly agreed and gave me the obligatory hug then went on to get a drink of water. Moments later, he returned and asked if he needed to give me a hug to go back out and play. Of course, I said yes. He hugged me with a little more ‘sincerity’ that time. Before the night was over, he’d hugged me at least 10 times.  When the others saw, they all lined up to give me a hug goodbye.

Our lives have been changed by these kids. Our lives are better because we are part of theirs. Our hearts have been softened and our love has grown for them.  Many might say that we are making a difference in the lives of these boys but I can say without a doubt, those boys are making a difference in the lives of us!

We don’t have special training. We’re not perfect. We’re just a family trying our best to show the love of Jesus to the least of these. We’re honored to be allowed to spend time with them.  I guarantee, if you’re willing to commit, your life will be changed for the better, and who knows maybe you’ll make a difference in the life of these boys!

Christy Haycraft

White Fields’ Volunteer