Surviving the storm

What’s on my heart this month: On hurricanes and kids in poverty

As I write, our hearts and prayers are with those in Florida who are picking up the pieces after Hurricane Irma. We probably all have friends or loved ones who hunkered down and weathered the storm, fearful for their homes, families, neighbors, and communities.

As I watched the news and prayed for those enduring the storm, my thoughts turned to families we know who live in poverty and the thing they have in common with hurricane victims: Living in survival mode. 

For someone weathering a natural disaster, life is very quickly focused on just a few things. Decisions are honed in on immediate needs. Long-term thoughts, like next year’s or even next week’s plans, are tabled until the storm is over.

If you didn’t know there was a storm, you might think those decisions were strange, even hard to understand. Why hole up in your house? Why not get up and go to work like other people? Why not think about your future?

But factor in the storm, and it makes a lot more sense. In the same way, the “hurricane analogy” helps me better understand the decisions of someone living in poverty: Because they are living daily in a storm that is foreign to me, and for them life is about survival.

Here’s an example. For the past month or so, I’ve been working to match a delightful young woman through our mentoring program. She’s eager to have a mentor — and we have someone eager to mentor her. But communication has been hit-or-miss and the process has dragged on. I’ll text her, she’ll confirm and then cancel a few days later. Or I’ll show up and her grandma is not home to sign paperwork. Or phones will be turned off for a week or more.

In my world, this is frustrating. But in her world, one with no car, intermittent phone, a revolving door of living situations, a grandma with her hands full, and very little scheduling, this is normal. Honestly, for someone living in a storm, she’s doing pretty well.

Living in a storm, only thinking about survival, is not a place for anyone to stay permanently. It’s not a place to flourish. But it’s a starting point for us to understand those whose decisions don’t always make sense to us.

Thank you for being an advocate for those kids and families in our community who are weathering hidden storms! Together we are seeing kids grow toward their God-given potential — not just surviving, but thriving.

Faith Bosland | SCYM

To learn more about Faith’s work visit

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