What Do We Mean by "Activate the Good"?
I entered the role of CEO for the Good Samaritan Boys Ranch in 2020. I was given an almost impossible task: following in the footsteps of a titan in the child welfare sector. Kevin Killian, our former CEO, breathed life into this organization 30 years ago. His work in the state and federal legislature left its mark. He and his stalwart staff developed a treatment program that has had an incredible impact on kids and families.
Gifted with this incredible legacy, and challenged by a changing landscape in child welfare, we began to define what the next 30 years would look like.
We are continually inundated with cries for help. Families in crisis, children in crisis, crying out for support. Unfortunately, no matter how much we desperately wanted to help, the reality is that almost all the youth and families we have traditionally served were in the custody of the State of Missouri, also known as Foster Care. For years we have served some of Missouri’s most vulnerable children and families. The reality of our world is that many children and families experience crisis, and many are not involved in the Foster Care System.
What we continue to see in the news tells us that this is not a localized issue. Mental health is not just a regional issue. Pain is pain. Trauma is trauma. These things have no regard for socio-economic status.
We needed something that would define our mission and direction as well as challenge us to do more.
Our mission over the next 30 years is to provide hope, help, and support to any child, any family, anytime, anywhere.
This does not mean that every child and family go into our treatment program. It means that over the next 30 years we will work to develop programs and services that will be able to meet children and families where they are. To offer support to children and families regardless of their location, and regardless of their socioeconomic status (ability to pay). This process has already begun, as we more than doubled the number of programs and services we provide since 2020. Several of these programs serve families and children outside of the Foster Care System.
Our mission is to increase the variety of ways we can continue to help children and families, as well as increase access to our services. We never want to turn down a family based upon their ability to pay.
Our vision, however, is something much, much greater.
Imagine a world in which children do not have to practice active shooter drills. A world where we emphasize mental health as much as physical health. Imagine world in which cycles of abuse and neglect from generation to generation are broken. A world in which all children and families have the opportunity to feel safe and supported in a home.
Our vision may seem out of reach. This vision is much bigger than the Good Samaritan Boys Ranch. To succeed it will have to involve other organizations, our brother and sister agencies. It involves cities and municipalities. It involves local businesses, churches, and service groups. It will cross political party lines.
Our country is hurting; people in Missouri are hurting; people in Southwest Missouri are hurting. If things are going to change, we will have to do something different.
Movements begin when people make up their mind that something has to change.
We need a movement.
A movement away from division and towards love and kindness. Our world is full of good people who genuinely want to do good things. Sometimes life has a tendency to trap us. And sometimes the reality of our situation and divisions in our world make it hard for those good things to come out.
Imagine a world in which this goodness within each of us is released. A series of moments where we show a little more compassion, a little less judgment. A little more patience and a little less anger. What if that goodness was activated? Activated in our churches, and local businesses. Activated in our politicians, as well as our homes.
Activate the good!
That is the rallying cry! Is it a plea for support?
Yes it is.
As you can see, our mission is big. Without proper resources, there is no mission. But this goes far beyond us. This is about others. The moment our mission becomes just about us then the mission is lost.
This is about elevating and activating something within, and perhaps dormant in each of us. Using the unique gifts, resources, platforms, and networks to take action and create a movement.
If that means you cross paths with our mission to help any child, any family, anytime, anywhere, we will be happy to have you!
Activate the good in your life. Whatever that looks like.