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Sprinkling Joy and Magic Amidst the Have-To’s


There are only 24 hours in a day for all of us. But have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a child at Crossnore might be like? There are the “normal” things–School, Girl Scouts, practice and lessons, sporting events, homework, chores, Young Life. But there are so many “extras” that children in foster care have to fit in. Therapy sessions. Court appointments. Supervised visits. Plan of Care Meetings. Tutoring. The list goes on and on. 

When looking at the typical schedule of any one of our residential students, you will find some sort of combination of these things. And often, so much more. 

Jam Packed Days

One of my first days at Crossnore I remember seeing a copy of one cottage’s schedule pulled up on the computer. I was asking about scheduling a time for an activity. My mind was absolutely blown. I had no idea the complexity of the schedules for our kids. And honestly two years later, I am still figuring it all out.

Days are often jam packed with the things our kids have to do. For school or cottage life, a requirement of the court, or expectation of their team. Often these have-to’s leave little time to sprinkle in the things they want and hope to do. 

Building in Time for Joy

In my role, along with my amazing team, I have the privilege and responsibility to help support our students right where they are. One job of the Spiritual Life & Recreation team is to offer some time to do those things they hope and wish to learn or do. We collaborate to help meet the needs of students so that some of those required parts of their days have a little more joy and magic sprinkled in. Something we all need more of. 

Meeting Our Students Where They Are

The day to day lives of our students are full to say the least. 

Yet, it is in the middle of their day-to-day lives that we meet the kids and try to walk alongside them through whatever they may be facing. Everything from typical teenage drama to packing for spring break. Studying for a major test or studying scripture in Bible. We meet them right amidst sometimes challenging behaviors. These behaviors showing up as a trauma response or big feelings after a big day. 

Almost daily I find myself remembering once more the beauty and challenge of this work. Recalling once more the power of connection formed with students through their very hectic days. Realizing anew the heavy plates that so many of our students carry. 

I often find myself wishing I had a megaphone to share with the world just how great our kids are. I’d share that oftentimes that greatness is at least somewhat made up of their adaptability and flexibility. Even within the parts of their days they have little say in or control over.

I continue to challenge myself and those around me to ensure we continue showing for our kids in important ways. Ways that are impactful for them, right where they are. I encourage us to remind ourselves, when the long day ends, that they are just kids after all.

And that every kid deserves a little bit of magic and love sprinkled into their lives each and every day.