Safe Families for Children

Iowa City/Cedar Rapids

July Newsletter

Letter from the Director
Greetings Safe Families and Friends!  
I hope you all are well!  Welcome to our 2nd quarterly newsletter!  The purpose of this newsletter is to highlight the great work that you are doing in helping to keep families together in the Corridor and beyond!  The tremendous work you have done reminds me of John 13:34-35, in which, Christ says to his disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  By coming along side families in crisis, as well as helping support one another in this ministry, you have made it evident that you are disciples of Christ.  The love that you have shown for families in crisis over the past 4 months has helped parents who were homeless find housing, parents who were sick get treatment, parents who were unemployed find work, parents who were overwhelmed receive rest, parents who were isolated find community, and parents who desired to be a good enough parent be just that.  You are a tremendous blessing!  Safe Families is not possible without you, so thank you!  
– Brett
Upcoming Events
Grace Community Church in North Liberty, IA will be hosting a volunteer training Saturday, September 10th from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm.  This is a great opportunity to receive training for the ministry, connect with other volunteers, learn about the theology of hospitality, and pre-game for the Iowa vs. Iowa State game :).  Don’t worry it’s a night game!  See the link below for the Evite.  Please share with others who may be interested.
Safe Families National is launching a 100 day campaign to help build Safe Families throughout the country.  Iowa City and Cedar Rapids will be launching their own campaigns.  Iowa City will launch Tuesday, August 9th and Cedar Rapids will launch Thursday, August 18th.  If you are interested in being a part of either of the campaign teams please email me at berickson@safefamilies.net.
Service Spotlight
Back in April, Alicia (pictured left) fled Chicago as the result of a domestic violence situation.  Upon arriving in Iowa City she called Safe Families to find a hosting for her two children while she worked to find housing and employment.  Shawn and Tonia Poole (pictured center and right) of HighPoint City Church in Iowa City offered to host the children for two months.  This is Alicia and the Pooles’ story.
Alicia
This past Christmas my mom and I were attacked by my children’s father.  I decided to move to Iowa City, IA to get a fresh start.  I came here to a shelter, but did not want my kids in the shelter with me, so I called Safe Families.  I talked to Brett and he had a host family within 5 hours.  That night my kids and I met Tonia and Shawn.  It wasn’t easy having my kids with strangers, but Tonia and Shawn were great!  My kids loved them and their children.  I now have a place for my kids and myself.  I am now in school and happy.  If it wasn’t for Safe Families I would still be in Chicago not doing anything with my life.  I thank God for this program and everything it has done for me and my children.
Pooles
Shawn and I had it on our hearts for years to help children in need. As soon as we learned about Safe Families for Children and discovered that we could help a whole family by hosting the children, we knew that this was our mission. When we introduced the idea to our own children (10 and 8) we were surprised with how excited they were to share our home with other children.

Our first hosting was with a three and two-year-old, so there was certainly a lot of adjustments to our routines and schedules, but I was amazed with how peaceful everything played out. We were grateful for the abundance of support from safe families, our church, family, friends, and even members of our community.

With extra children in our home, I personally had a heightened value of priorities and time management. And we have never been more proud of our own kids. They were generous with their things, patient with the children, took the time to play and help them, and quickly began to value their time with each other.

When I asked our daughter what she thought of extending our hosting, her reply was simple, “If she can’t take care of them yet, why wouldn’t we?” When our hosting ended, it was full of joy, knowing that this family was complete again. And whenever we are asked, “Do you think you will host again?” our reply is simple, “Absolutely.”

In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is better to give than to receive. Acts 20:35

Updates

  • Since March (our last newsletter), you have done 56 hostings, for a total of 74 hostings for 2016.  We are projected to do well over a 100 for the entire year.  Incredible!
  • Since March, 11 host families and three family friends have joined the movement!
  • The Safe Families legislation that was filed this year unfortunately was funneled.  However, the legislators who filed it last year are excited to file it again during the next session and see if it can pass.  Please pray that it does!Drop Inn Resale Store in Iowa City provided us with their First Fruits donation in June!  Part of Drop Inn’s proceeds go to helping support Safe Families locally.  Please visit their Facebook pagefor more details.
  • We are currently in process of creating an Advisory Board for Safe Families Iowa City/Cedar Rapids.  The purpose of this board is to help continue to catalyze and grow Safe Families in the Corridor, and shift more momentum to participating churches.  If you are interested in learning more about the board please let me know.
  • We now have chapters in Des Moines and Burlington, IA!  Des Moines has their first host family approved and will begin their first hosting in August.  Burlington will be hosting a training on Saturday, August 6th at the Maple Leaf Center in Burlington, IA.
  • I was recently nominated to be the Chair of the Prevent Child Abuse Council of Johnson County.  I believe this will be a great compliment to what we are doing as Safe Families in the Corridor.  If you are interested in learning more about the Council visit their website.
Prayer Requests
  • Lives transformed by the gospel through biblical hospitality.
  • Continued growth and impact in the Corridor.
  • Continued growth throughout the state of Iowa.
  • Development of the advisory board.
  • Funding locally and state-wide.
  • Growth in relationships with community partners, particularly DHS.
  • Hope not in successes/failures (i.e. circumstances), but in Christ alone.
Contact and Additional Information
  • If you have questions, referrals, recommendations, and/or would like information about how to get more involved, or, how to get others more involved with Safe Families, please contact me at berickson@safefamilies.net or 319-383-6647.
  • If you would like to give to Safe Families Iowa City/Cedar Rapids you can do so here.  Just designate the site as SFFC – Iowa City/Cedar Rapids, IA.  Thanks so much!
  • If you haven’t already please visit and like our Facebook page.  It’s a great way to stay updated on hostings and events.
  • Our new website is up!  The address is http://iowacitycedarrapids.safe-families.org.
  • Check out our Vimeo page for new (and old) Safe Families’ videos: https://vimeo.com/safefamilies