"You remembered my name?"
About a year ago, I started following Lydia Home on Facebook and kept up with their posts.
One day, there was a post asking if anyone was open to giving music lessons to the kids that lived at Lydia. I replied and a few weeks later I had my first student. Her name was Sarah*. She received a new guitar through the generosity of donors. She was over the moon.
Our first lesson could not have gone better. For almost two hours, we learned all about the instrument and Sarah strummed her first few chords. She was grateful, kind, and eager to continue lessons. I, too, was blessed by volunteering at Lydia and was looking for more ways I could serve.
One of the staff let me know that there was a group activity scheduled that coming weekend and volunteers would be needed. I jumped at the chance to help out and that Sunday, I assisted at the activity as a chaperone.
During the activity, I saw Sarah and I waved hello. “Hi, Sarah.” I said, “I hope you’re practicing.” I’ll never forget the look on Sarah’s face: a look of shock and confusion. I felt embarrassed as if I had done something wrong.
Sarah walked up to me and said, with disbelief in her eyes, “YOU REMEMBERED MY NAME? I CAN’T BELIEVE SOMEBODY REMEMBERED MY NAME.” I realized outside of the staff at Lydia Home, few people had ever taken time to get to know Sarah by name. It was at this moment that I began to understand what neglect looks like—how damaging it is.
The holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, said it best “The opposite of love is not hate; it is indifference”
- Sam*Lydia Home Mentor*
Sadly, Sarah’s story is far too common. In Illinois, there are almost 18,000 children in the Foster Care system right now; most of those children were removed from their homes due to extreme neglect. These children are not only forgotten by their family, but by people in their state, their city, and their neighborhood.
At Lydia, our goal is to provide HOPE, HEALING, AND HOME to the children who’ve been victims of neglect. To our team, HOPE means making sure kids know they are loved, seen, heard, and have a future. HEALING is freedom from the bondage of trauma, the restoration of God given dignity, and knowing that they matter to Him. And HOME is providing a safe and nurturing environment for children to grow.
*names and personal information have been tweaked to preserve the privacy of the people in the stories.