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The Heart of Our Work and The Relationships Formed


When I started working at Crossnore, I had zero idea how much “the kids at work” would become so much more than just part of my work life. 

Very soon I realized there was something incredibly sacred about the relationships I would form with our students. I found myself sitting on a blanket having a picnic one evening with a couple of our kids and my son, Beau. Beau was still a baby, and the kids loved entertaining him. As we sat with fries and burgers sprawled across the blanket, a soccer ball occasionally rolling by, my heart almost burst.

Outside on that blanket, one of the older kids looked down and called Beau her “almost brother.” My face must have looked puzzled because she leaned over and hugged us both. She then explained that she loved me a lot. So, of course, she loved Beau, too. 

Building Transformative Trust

Since then, my eyes have been opened in a new way. And my heart has, too. I have learned that the relationships we form with our kiddos here at work will last long beyond the 8am-5pm hours and weekend activities. The relationships we form with the children we serve at Crossnore will forever shape my life and outlook on how we love and support one another. 

Recently, I found myself talking to one of our Case Managers about the importance of building these relationships. She remarked, “When the child finally has that trust to come to someone and ask for help, I realize that what I do matters… It is very nice to see kids trust again within a system where so much gets taken away.” 

As we chatted, I could not help but think of both the beautiful and challenging moments. In these moments, we’ve built trust and beautiful things have blossomed. 

Holy Moments

The lives of the children I walk alongside here at Crossnore have not always been easy. This often creates challenges on the road to building trust with the children we serve. Yet, in picnic moments, where things are just as you’d hope, where children are free to be children, my heart swells. In these moments, I am living within my calling and among a community of loving support. 

Building meaningful, lasting relationships with our students brings me into the most holy moments and conversations. I sit alongside teenagers, laughing and dreaming of our futures together. I hug a precious child who does not feel well. And I silently support a beloved child who has faced incredibly hard news. 

Often they ask how “brother Beau” is and request tales of his latest antics. In all these moments, I hear my mom’s words echoing in my mind, reminding me of a lesson she has long instilled in me. “Every single child deserves someone outside of their home or family who just thinks they’re great.”

Grateful for Great Kids

I am incredibly grateful to walk alongside the children we serve and build relationships with them. I’m honored to remind them that they are indeed great. (And also that they need to do their homework.) I’m thankful for the opportunity to build relationships that allow for honesty, vulnerability, love, and support. 

These relationships are just as meaningful in my life as they are in the lives of our students. Through them, I have found love and support. And I pray I have offered it right back. I have seen the most beautiful connections form between children and fellow colleagues when a staff member brings in a pair of shoes they know a student will just love. These same colleagues and I have sat together, in tears, discussing challenges the child faces and how we can best support them.

I have felt profound love as students have asked me about Beau when he is facing an ear infection. I have witnessed that love when they go out of their way to send home a toy car or coloring page for Beau to enjoy as well. 

I realize, one again, that all of these children are all of our children.

Through these beautiful and sometimes challenging relationships, God’s kingdom is most vibrantly displayed here on earth. And for that, I raise a hallelujah.