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Stories with Friends: Part 9

One Year of Relationships

As Joe pointed out this week, the Friends have been developing relationships with their youth for over a year now. It's not just the children, however, they have been developing relationships with their extended families, as well.

This growth of these relationships has been really apparent to the whole team of late. Joe has seen it with a father who is “not a people person”, but has been opening up to Joe more and even calling him on the phone. Or a mother who has had a tough time communicating about scheduling, but recently called to cancel an outing and already had a plan in place to reschedule.

It’s in these little shifts that Joe notices trust forming. Shifts born out of Joe’s consistent, long term relationship with their children.

Sarah has also seen these family connections growing stronger. For example, she and Amber were grabbing a slice of pizza as their most recent outing was nearing an end. Amber asked if she could take a piece to her sister, so they decided to grab a whole pizza and take it home to her family. When they arrived Dad invited Sarah in and, as they often do, had a long conversation together. She spent an extra 15 minutes after her outing with Amber hanging out with the family.

As Sarah talked about these growing relationships, she said, “I really feel like my families are starting to love me--I see a deep bond forming with many of them. They seem really grateful I’m in their child’s life”.

All of the friends agree, one of the most rewarding parts of their work are the familial bonds they are forming. Developing relationships with the entire family allows the Friends to grow deeper in relationship with their children. It helps create the sort of long-lasting relationships Friends of the Children was built to form.

There’s a Gecko in Your Hair

Last week Jacob and Joe visited Reptile Zone in Bend. Joe loved watching Jacob come alive as he talked with the staff about lizards and snakes. One staff members asked Jacob, “wouldn’t you like to be a snake? I’d like to be a lizard!” Jacob responded, “I’d like to be half gecko and half chameleon!”

Back at the clubhouse after their outing, Jacob asked if he could draw a picture of his half gecko, half chameleon for the folks at Reptile Zone and take it to them. Joe agreed and, after some artistic magic, they headed back over.

After the team at Reptile Zone hung Jacob’s picture behind the counter, Joe wanted to get a picture of everyone together. Before he could get the picture, the store owner stopped and went and grabbed something from one of the tanks and placed it in Jacob’s hair. It was a Gecko!

It made for a great story and an even better picture! Thanks to the gang at Reptile Zone for being so great with our youth!

A Stuffed Animal Named Tiny

Corey and Izzy have had a tough time trying to see each other in recent weeks. First it was the crazy snow storm. Then Corey and his entire house were sick. Finally, Izzy and his family got sick. When they were finally able to see each other, Corey could tell Izzy still wasn’t feeling well. He was sleepy and his smile didn’t have the same excitement behind it.

There is a particular stuffed animal at the clubhouse that Izzy loves. It’s a small horse he’s named “Tiny”. He loves taking it on his outings with Corey. On this particular week, however, Corey not only let him take it on an outing--he let him take it home, as well. Izzy even introduced Tiny to his Mom! As Corey started to leave Izzy said, “I’m going to get better so I can see you this week”.

In the moment, Corey knew Izzy needed Tiny to stay with him. We love that about Corey--his ability to be present to the needs of his youth and cheer them up when it’s most important. Way to go, Corey!