Most people get a "watered-down" version of Cebu when they come as tourists. Some only see what the tour guides want them to see. Some fly into the airport on the neighboring island of Mactan, but never cross the bridge that connects it with Cebu City. They experience the five star ambiance of the lush resorts and rub shoulders with wealthy people and well-trained staff who pamper them, but they never observe the realities of life in this Third World city. They are sanitized from the poverty, the pollution and the suffering of people in our city.
Visitors to CSC also get an abbreviated version of the story of the ministry. Although we show them our facilities and let them meet our staff and, when appropriate, some of the kids, we aren't able to give them the bigger picture. They see our wonderful homes and get a sense for the quality of care that our children receive. They visit our school and learn about the education that we provide. And they often have questions answered about where our children come and how they can help us.
But there is so much that goes on behind the scenes at CSC that is not apparent to visitors, even if they stay for more than a few days. They probably don't see the efforts of the social workers, child development team, teachers, nurses, therapists and other personnel who make it possible for us to bring children in and provide them with the comprehensive care that they require. Efforts like these:
- Social workers out in the field, working with birth families and gathering information needed for procuring birth documentation, or processing referrals;
- Meetings, meetings, meetings. There are at least ten meetings every day, both formal and informal, involving child care workers, house parents, counselors, therapists, office staff, social work and child development teams, school faculty and security and maintenance workers. These meetings involve financial planning, behavioral issues and updates, strategizing difficult case management issues, and sitting down with people from other agencies, both private and governmental, to advocate for our children;
- Nurses bringing children to labs, doctors' offices and clinics for medical assessment and care;
- Counselors meeting with children to discuss issues from their past or difficulties they may be having at CSC;
- Workers meeting with house parents to discuss problems in the home;
- Team-building activities, staff development and training that aims at making CSC a better place for the children who live here.
- Office staff handling the payroll, purchasing, banking, bill paying and other financial management tasks that are essential to keep things running smoothly;
- The work of transporting these workers to accomplish these tasks, and to get children to school or to doctors or dentist appointments. Our fleet of 10 vehicles is constantly being used to support the many activities and appointments that are needed.
- And, while they may get a sense for the financial needs of a program like ours in Cebu, they don't see the constant fundraising and promotional efforts going on in Minnesota through our stateside office. They don't know of the decisions being made by families and individuals to give generously and sacrificially to CSC for the care of the children, the same ones that they are observing on our playground, at the supper table or marching off to school.
We are thankful for each person who makes a contribution to the ministry here in Cebu, back in MN and around the world. People like you. I wish you could each be recognized by those who lead the tours here at CSC, because you help make the good things that they see possible.