By Lorraine Moriarty, Executive Director
In 2016 let’s look at our beautiful County of San Mateo again with the eyes of a child! I purposefully say “with” rather than “through.” We are not looking at something through someone else’s eyes, but rather clearing our own vision, becoming a child again ourselves so to speak, and taking a fresh look with our eyes and our hearts at what is all around us.
What do we see? What do we know? Jesus had a way of calling children forth as challenging witnesses to adults, revealing simple truths in contrast to the mind games of the powerful. We are often so focused on achieving results and using metrics to support measured outcomes that we forget about the joy and hope that encountering, accompanying and integrating can bring to others in each moment-by-moment life experience. Children live in the present, whether it be playing in a park, at the sea shore or even on the street. We in San Mateo County need to look with fresh eyes at what is going on around us. We might notice a young child living in a car with a mother who is fleeing from a difficult relationship and seek to accompany and them in their need for safe housing. We could start by getting them into a motel until shelter is available. We might encounter two small children alone in an upstairs one bedroom apartment while mom works downstairs in a restaurant. At every chance she can find the anxious mother rushes upstairs to check in on them – the babysitter is the TV! Our accompaniment might begin with setting up regular food assistance and periodic rental help so that she can work shorter hours and spend more time with her family. We might encounter a dad with two small sons – all three sleeping most nights in the car, taking services periodically from one of SVdP’s “Field Hospitals” (Homeless Help Centers) as they have maxed out their shelter stay, and no housing is available for them. Both boys get to school on time though, as dad values perfect school attendance and they know that an education is paramount. Our accompaniment might initially be providing clothing, sleeping bags and gas vouchers. With the eyes and heart of a child, what might we see the longer term solution being for them? Fresh eyes and a fresh start not only on the first day of 2016, but every day of the New Year! Can our resolution be to give it a try?