Jackie Turner: Breaking the cycle of homelessness for mothers and their children
There she was, her little hands covering her eyes. Mom was cheering her on. Her little sister watched in excitement. It was time for her second front tooth to fall out.
The moment seemed so intense to this little girl. Though she grew squeamish at the thought of how this tooth would make its grand exit, the consideration of its departure kept her in the game of removing it. She was hesitant about the method, but certain about the goal. Her mother’s comforting embrace, and words of encouragement was enough to give the first remedy a try. With a small string around the tooth, and a door handle tightly clutched, she reluctantly closed the door in hopes of a gentle release of the tooth.
To everyone’s dismay, the string slipped off, and the sigh of wonder filled the room. With quick thinking by her mother, while her daughter still felt a bit of courage, she said, “Will you let me gently tug it with this napkin?”
To everyone’s surprise and delight she agreed. Within a second the tooth was removed.
Smiles filled the room. She was missing her two front teeth. This beautiful toothless little girl had the most precious moment that she will always carry with her. She had her family there to help her conquer the shenanigans of a loose tooth.
Yet, there must be more said. If I leave it here, you will walk away with a smile on your face, and maybe say to yourself, I love what Acres of Hope is doing. Yet I sit here tonight knowing this truth, this family desperately needed Acres of Hope. For the little girl in tonight’s story has a history much bigger than the joy I have shared with you. Her mother is the sister of an Acres of Hope alumna. The alumna almost ended her life, but in the nick of time, she found out she was pregnant. She fought to save her own life, and provide a healthy life for her child. She did it.
Passed around a system of foster care was her story, yet she graduated Acres of Hope and today works with foster youth. A couple years after she graduated she fought for her sister to change her life too. Her sister agreed to doing the transforming work at Acres of Hope to renew her life for both herself and her children. Tonight we see the evidence of that choice, as a loose tooth reveals so much more. It revealed a child’s courage, a mother’s presence, and a sister’s encouragement.
Yet the most important evidence is the proof that Acres of Hope is not just ending homelessness, but rather impacting our residents in such a way that they are stepping out and changing lives too. Our alum found her sister, and brought her to Acres of Hope. This sister is a strong mom who is present for her daughters. The daughters are safe, and one of them tonight lost a tooth. This is Acres of Hope. We are always at work breaking the cycle of homelessness for mothers and their children. To learn more, visit http://www.acresofhopeonline.org.
Jackie Turner is the ministry outreach coordinator at Acres of Hope in Auburn.
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