You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
By Terri Durdaller, Vice President of Communications
Jancita and Sandra were complete strangers before they started working together at LSF Case Management Organization in Fort Myers. They have the difficult role of licensing new foster parents and helping find placement for kids coming into care.
I stopped by their office, in my usual fun loving spirt, with the agenda of taping a video about LSF. I caught a quick conversation between Jancita and Sandra that summed up a day in the life of a counselor.
Sandra: We have two kids to place today and they have tough behavior issues. It’s Friday and there are only three of us on call today. You know Fridays are crazy.
Jacinta: I hear you, but I was here this morning at 6 am and I have to leave at 3 pm to pick up Jace from school. (Jace is a 7-year-old boy who was moved away from everything he knew, but it was best for him.)
Sandra: Well I was here until 9:30 pm last night after hours of looking for a foster home that would take Michael. (Michael is a 17-year-old who tested positive for marijuana after a check-in with his parole officer. The foster parents said, “don’t bring him back” after they learned the test results.)
Jacinta: We will make it work, girl. We always do.
After witnessing this exchange, I couldn’t help but see that these two are difference makers because their hearts are emotionally connected to the job they perform. They smiled at each other during the conversation. I heard respect in their voice as they spoke to one another. It was a quick but powerful glimpse into their important work of keeping kids safe.
Jancita and Sandra were once strangers. The families they meet are strangers. But the love they have for those working in and served by the child welfare system forever bonds them.
I share this story today because I want you ladies to know that I see you. We see you as an organization. You are juggling caseloads. Your work goes home with you. You are up late at night. Bad images of what you see never leave you. But you don’t walk away. You stay and fight through the chaos for another day, for another child…a stranger who you love.
We admire you and are grateful for you.