By Bridget Reeves, Women’s Ministries Manager
“We forgot the toilet paper!” This was a common ending to my grandmother’s stories about trying to escape from the orphanage where she and her siblings grew up in Chicago in the 1930’s. They never did escape, usually due to lack of toilet paper, but they did get to stay together as siblings. This was a rarity at the time. Due to trauma, tragedy, illness, unemployment, or death, many families were sadly divided into different orphanages during the Depression.
Though many families come to Agape in various stages of transition, crisis, unemployment, recovery or restoration, we have that special opportunity to walk alongside many towards healing. I recently asked a couple of staff to name families that have been reunited in some fashion during their time at Agape over the last few years. I had hoped to give you a number, but the names just kept coming.
Many times due to domestic violence, addiction, mental illness or unemployment, families in our own community are separated. The women at the Agape Home, regardless of age or family status, have shown incredible bravery at working towards healing and restoration with their children and families. As a team of staff, we have the privilege of seeing moms and children re-unite. Though, yes, these transitions are hard at times, the joy is palpable.
This is one of the reasons why Agape staff and I are so excited about a programming shift during 2014. As of February, there were ten plus classes a week made available for all women at Agape. These classes, with topics ranging from Boundaries, to Love and Logic Parenting, to Christianity 101, to Safe People, to a Domestic Violence Healing group, to Anger Management, are now part of the healing and restoration process for all families at Agape.
Women who stay at Agape work with their case managers (whom we call growth assistants) to find classes that would be most appropriate for their schedule and helpful in their overall growth. These classes not only serve as an encouragement and help in one’s holistic health, but they also provide opportunity for community and relationship building among staff and guests.