"A smile is worth a thousand words."
Julie A. Walker
Most, if not all, of the children who come to CSC find it challenging to convey their feelings. While very few can use words, most of them are not able to. Sadness or fear are usually expressed in silence, tears, tantrums, or stomach aches. Joy or happiness is expressed in hugs, drawings, flowers, or petals picked along the driveway, and mostly in SMILES.
A child's smile keeps us going. When days are long and overwhelming, the genuine smiles on our children's faces give us the strength to carry on.
A child's smile reminds us to count our blessings, especially during the days when we lack cheerfulness and forget all the good things.
A child's smile speaks gratitude to our hearts. Even when words are absent, we still hear their "thank you's."
A child's smile is contagious. Even when our hearts are heavy, we smile because they do.
A child's smile matters because not all children can or will smile at CSC. But when they do, we know our language of love speaks to their hearts.
A CSC child's ...
S – smile gives warmth
M - making our day bright,
I - inspiring us to not give up,
L – leaving a mark in our hearts, and
E – encouraging us to look forward to brighter days ahead.
Thank you for your smile. You don't know how many hearts you have touched when you smile.
May God continue to put a smile on your face and make us instruments for such. May your smile
reflect God's sweet embrace and loving touch in your life today and always.
Aristotle once remarked, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts," yet holistic well-being often falters when individual elements are neglected. Thus, the Tibuok ug Kabahin (whole and part) initiative for mental health awareness came into being. This endeavor spotlights the complete spectrum of emotional, psychological, and social well-being, collectively defining our mental health. It underscores how these facets influence our responses to stress, interactions with others, and the choices we make.
Having had the opportunity to care for children with a range of adverse experiences, we encounter indirect trauma and carry our own stories of adversity. Our joy is often stolen from us due to these experiences, emphasizing the need to prioritize mental health to maintain a healing atmosphere.
Through the initiative, we were able to foster fellowship and create a space where vulnerability was encouraged. It provided us with a sense of being seen and heard. It was a moment to take a long sigh after years of working hard, indulging in good food and massages, and sharing laughter. Not only did it raise awareness about the importance of mental health and well-being, but it also gave us an opportunity to embrace our stories, no matter how complicated, painful, or heavy they were. And that brought healing to each one of us.
Overall, the Tibuok ug Kabahin (whole and part) initiative serves as a testament to the transformative power of acknowledging and prioritizing mental health, fostering an environment where healing becomes a shared endeavor. May we continue to cultivate spaces that encourage vulnerability, celebrate the human experience, and inspire the pursuit of joy, both in our personal lives and within the workplaces that shape our daily existence.
Life is a continuous journey of transitions and new beginnings. In these moments of change, although they may seem uncomfortable, we gain experience and have the opportunity to grow, adapt, and shape our destinies. It is true and inevitable, especially in the lives of young adults—a whirlwind of change and growth.
The journey of our residents from childhood to becoming young adults is filled with exciting opportunities and daunting challenges. In their case, this also means aging out of legal adoption options and transitioning into an independent living program. Although one door was closed and not warranted for them, God remained faithful and true, as they were not forsaken but only redirected to another path dedicated to exploring the art of navigating life's many shifts with resilience and positivity.
This year, seven (7) residents celebrated a new milestone and will eventually transition to our new home for older residents. It is with mixed emotions as they embark on a journey together, where they will delve into the complexities of transitions—from moving to a new home and sharing bedrooms and closets soon, following a new set of rules and guidelines, practicing autonomy and decision-making, embarking on new relationships, or simply seeking personal growth. This transition to adulthood and self-sufficiency can be demanding and dire for any young adult. Understandably, leaving the comfort and security provided by their previous homes to face uncertainties and independence may not be easily adjusted. However, despite the unknowns, there are still sparks of excitement and hope as they look forward to learning and experiencing more while navigating these transformative moments toward adulthood.
In Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV), the Lord said, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.", we hold that God is in control during these times in our residents' lives. He has already meticulously and thoughtfully mapped out the course of our children's lives. Whilst the residents faithfully wait for His plan to unfold and discover their purpose in life, we aim and pray to be their steadfast companion, offering insights, guidance, and inspiration to help them embrace life's continuous metamorphosis with grace and open arms, harnessing the potential within each new beginning.
Together, let us continually pray for all of these young adults and be with them as they embark on a path toward greater self-discovery and personal transformation with faith and courage and emerge stronger and wiser on the other side. The journey is just the beginning, and may the possibilities be as limitless as their potential.
The journey through life transitions is made easier when we know we are not alone.
“Your story may not have such a happy beginning, but that doesn’t make you who you are. It is the rest of your story. Who you choose to be.” --Soothsayer, Kung Fu Panda 2
“I didn’t see my mother nor my father. I haven’t met them. No picture. No memories. I’ve been raised by strangers.”
“If only my father was gentle to my mother. They could have stayed together and we might not be here.”
“My mother left me. She even never said goodbye. I don’t know the reason.”
“The couple who fostered me and gave me home have shattered the very idea of home.”
Beginning. Once upon a time.
These are the stories of the beginnings of some of the older residents in CSC. Flipping the pages of their lives into the past would take a lot of courage and relationship. Some chose to seal those pages; while others are open about their once-upon-a-times. In counseling, children often share about their days, their dreams, as well as their past. For a child to paint these stories allows us to help them craft their life story.
“Life story is essential in developing one’s personality, values, and meaning. It’s the integration of reconstructed past and imagined future to provide life with some degree of unity and purpose.” --McAdams & McLean, Narrative Identity, 2013
Although this process may resurface the phantoms of the past, it helps the older resident embrace his/her whole story. By embracing his/her painful once-upon-a-time, it paves the way to acceptance and forgiveness. For some older residents, it was a privilege to hear them express how they acknowledge that no matter how painful their past was, it happened, it happened, it happened. It happened and they saw the collateral beauty of that pain. They are here. They are here with people who love them; who cares for them; who believes in them; who brought back the cape of their childhood; who gives them wings to soar the new horizon.
As our older residents navigate the new waters of independent living, they are more open to building bridges to their past. For some, they have birth families that they can return to; while others are starting to put together the pieces of their beginning. Their new journey is a navigation of mirth and melancholy; hopes and despair; and success and failures. They are now in the process of writing the new chapter, or perhaps, the sequel of their stories. Seeing the collateral beauty, they now have the power to restructure their future and have the power to direct their own narrative— narrative of an iridescent hope.
Getting rid of the old house is quite sentimental.
Welcoming the new one is monumental!
It's really a blessing from God and I am very excited for the residents to have this new home and for their bright future.