Giving Street Kids A Safe Place To Go
We constantly ask ourselves, "How can we better serve the children living on the streets? Are we making the best use our resources? Are we truly making an impact?"
A friend of mine kept telling me I needed to open a Drop-In Center, suggesting that it would help in identifying the kids who are really serious about leaving street life behind.
Aware of what a huge undertaking it would be, both when it comes to financial and human resources, I was afraid to commit.
But then something happened — the politics of the slum forced the street kids to disperse. Without a central place to congregate, our job of keeping track of the kids became much more difficult, resulting in our outreach benefiting fewer and fewer children. I was left with no choice but to open up a Drop-In Center.
Wasting no time, we rented a temporary location smack in the middle of the slum and the word began to spread that Auntie Jackie had opened a Drop-In Center.
At first very few came, only about 20-30 kids. But over the span of a month, we doubled the number of children who now attend our programs. And on Easter Sunday, a whopping 180 kids showed up!
For now, we’re open three days a week and we cover the basics of what most people take for granted. The center offers two meals a day — breakfast and lunch — as well as showering facilities, hair cutting, the ability to wash their own clothes, and much-needed toothbrushes and toothpaste. They can come to watch movies, or play games like Scrabble and chess.
Counseling sessions are conducted to help the kids focus on possibilities, and envision a future that doesn't include street life.
We want our outreach to make the greatest impact and the Drop-In Center is allowing us to do just that.
The kids now come to us on a regular basis. They like knowing that we are there for them and that they can find us whenever they need to. The Drop-In Center has allowed us to continue to bond with the kids and build trust. The strong connection we create between Shule and the kids is key in ensuring that these children become street kids no more.
Our goal is to find a permanent location for our Drop-In Center, and expand our programs to include more skill-building workshops, chess tournaments, a soccer club and so much more.
April 12 is International Day for Street Children. Help us celebrate: make a donation to our Drop-In Center today.
Photo Credit: SoulJe Riddim
Video Credit: Soul Montage Films