Hundreds of children have passed through Joshua House since it opened. Each story of abuse and neglect is as unique as the child. With five homes on 11 acres, Joshua House promotes growth, stability, and support specific to each child’s need. Keeping sibling groups together is just one of the many ways Joshua House makes a difference.
Recently some of the Joshua House children and teens were working on an art project. They were having fun, with lots of color was being applied to canvas, tables, and even the floor as they painted Dream Trees and Sunsets.
One of the girls did not look like she was having as much fun as the rest of the group. Carmen is a quiet young lady of about 13 years old. She was staring forlornly at her canvas. When asked what was wrong, she replied. ” When I finish this will you keep it?” She was told it was for her to keep, her own personal dream tree. She only got more despondent and eventually left the room. Just as everyone was finishing up their art project, Carmen returned to the room. She asked if someone would stay to help her complete her painting.
As she sat and talked, she shared that Joshua House was her fourteenth home since entering foster care. She was afraid if she finished the painting and took it with her that it would eventually get left behind when she had to move again. She thought it would be safe if someone just kept it for her. You could almost feel the full weight of her disappointing life pressing down on her. And she is only 13 years old.
She finished her Dream Tree. It is beautiful. Full of pink and orange leaves blowing in the wind. She was convinced to keep it, sincerely hoping she enjoys her tree for as long as she can…
One of the biggest challenges in foster care is maintaining a successful placement for many of these children. Many of these children are runners; racing away from their troubles. They have difficulty connecting with a new family because they cannot forgive their own families for the abuse, neglect or abandonment they have experienced; or they believe they are not worthy of love or acceptance.
To read more on Carmen's story click here.
At the young age of 12, Matthew has already lived an inspirational tale of redemption. Born into a broken family, Matthew lived with his mother and older brother. Battling depression and drug addiction, his mother was rarely at home. Due to this neglect, the two boys ran the streets, never attending school, making poor decisions and having run-ins with the law. By the age of 9, Matthew had started experimenting with marijuana and cigarettes. At this young age, he already had nine felony charges. When his mother was arrested on drug charges, Matthew and his brother entered the foster care system for their safety and well-being, and they soon joined the “family” at Joshua House. This is where Matthew found the stability and love he needed to turn his life around.
When Matthew first arrived at Joshua House, he had behavioral and anger issues. In fits of rage, he would be destructive with the building’s furniture or throw things across the room. He was academically behind by three grade levels and had no interest in attending school. Joshua House provided Matthew a safe and stable environment, offering him compassion and boundaries. He learned to develop relationships build on trust and respect with the staff of Joshua House and with other youth. He now acts as the mentor for new youth who arrive to live in his house, teaching them what to expect and providing encouragement and friendship. He is a social butterfly, building friendships quickly. At Joshua House, he is always the first to volunteer to help with projects and in the kitchen. Matthew has become very generous and notices classmates who are less fortunate. He has given away his shoes, backpack and lunch to friends in need. When he was given a gift card at Christmas, instead of buying himself presents, Matthew participated in a Giving Tree Program and purchased presents for three other youth.
Today, Matthew excels academically. Committed to working hard, he caught up with his studies and is now on the president’s list and the A/B honor roll. Since moving to Joshua House, he has become very athletic and is a principal player on a community football and baseball team. Matthew has also completed restitution for all nine felony charges he received prior he received prior to residing at Joshua House. Currently attending a local middle school, Matthew looks forward to continuing to make responsive decisions and build healthy relationships, as he looks ahead with confidence for a brighter future.
To read more on Matthew's story click here.
Belinda is a challenged young lady of only twelve years old. Calling Joshua House home since she was ten, she arrived on our doorstep badly beaten and grievously injured to her soul. Abandoned by her drug addicted mother when she was just a toddler, she was passed from family member to family member. Living in multiple homes, she was physically and emotionally abused for seven years. The longest she has ever lived in one place has been since she arrived at Joshua House two years ago. A sweet girl, with liquid brown eyes, Belinda harbored a wealth of pain, disillusionment, and behavioral issues. She was fearful of developing relationships; after all, even her family didn’t want her. They proved it time and again with beatings, hurtful words, and closed doors.
After two years of treatment, consisting of therapy, life enriching activities, and a steady consistent diet of love and nurturing, success visited Belinda. Her anger, pain and behaviors were steadily improving. She was confident in the relationships she was forging at Joshua House, she was confident in herself. All of this was why a forever family entered her life. It was a bitter sweet day when Belinda bid a tearful goodbye to her Joshua House family and embraced her new mom and dad.
To read more on Belinda's story click here.