A Step to Connect What We Love with Who We Know
“A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With One Step”
– Lao Tzu
“IMPOSSIBLE!” would be the gut-reaction of most of us, if we saw God’s plan for the rest of our lives. Knowing the challenges ahead, our fear could paralyze us before we start. Lao Tzu’s saying, the 2020 Restoration Gala’s theme, reminds us that all tasks – no matter how big or difficult – start in the same way…with a single step. It doesn’t matter if it is expanding to meet the ever-growing need of children, or trying to outrun childhood ghosts. Each seemly ‘impossible’ journey starts with a single step of faith, trusting God to provide along the way everything else needed.
“How Can I Do Nothing?!?”
Left to grow up in unhealthy environments, children experience traumatic events that remain with them the rest of their lives affecting relationships, prospects of a successful future, and their faith – in God, in others, and in themselves. Even the lucky ones, who appear to break the cycle (see Keyon Dooling’s story on page 3), may carry emotional scars that threaten everything. Without help, the odds are stacked against these young lives having a happy childhood or growing into healthy, independent adults.
Over 50 years ago, upon seeing these battered young spirits, a group of Good Samaritans were compelled to answer, “How can I do nothing!?!” Collectively, they stepped forward to create Show-Me and rewrite the near and eternal futures for hundreds of children.
Can We Keep Turning Them Away?
The sad fact is that each year Show-Me can only say “YES” to five percent of the requests for help. Our current homes have reached their capacity. Safely, we can no longer add to the 50-year-old framework with short-term renovations, which are not cost-effective or adequate. If we are to meet the growing demand to help more children, our infrastructure must be rebuilt so new homes can be added. Compelled once again by the Spirit, a request is being sent out to find compassionate hearts willing to step with Show-Me as part of The 2020 Vision Campaign to Rescue and Restore Even More.
The $3 million campaign will enable us to serve up to 85 children by adding three new homes and expanding our school capabilities. The first step is almost complete and funded with the updating of the main campus infrastructure (water and waste management systems). The next step is to build two new homes and enlarge the current school facilities to accommodate up to 80 students. The second campus in Barnett, MO continues its development with the Reed home currently under construction. Future steps will include a new office across from the homes and school, creating more safety check-in points and relocating non-school staff and programs.
If Children Can Be Helped, But No One Knows…
To provide the stability needed for the new families that will live in the three homes currently under construction, we must not only maintain, but increase our steady, ongoing, monthly support. The estimated cost to support a new 10-person family is an additional $5,000 per month per home. New supporters must be found to help the children waiting.
But where? Each year, more and more of our most faithful, long-term supporters have gone on to be with the Lord. Congregations struggling to keep their doors open trim their missions support. Today, fewer churches and Sunday Schools provide time for missions to speak. Christian Conferences and camp attendance have seen a steady decline over the last 25 years. Relying more on mainstream methods such as billboards or commercials is just too costly to be practical.
The problem is not people believing in the mission; almost everyone who talks with a child or comes out to visit becomes active in some way. “I never knew a place like this existed for kids,” is a common phrase uttered by first-time visitors. The problem is how do we connect Show-Me in its rural locations with new supporters, most of whom do not live anywhere close to Show-Me and whose lives are dictated by their hectic schedules.
If They Can’t Come to Show-Me, Bring Show-Me to Them!
In 2018, the 1st Annual Restoration Gala was held. While financially a success, the greatest treasure came in the form of new relationships, which have opened doors for Show-Me to speak at their businesses, community groups, and churches.
Kim Ream, a former American Family Insurance agent in Warrensburg, MO, was instrumental in connecting Show-Me with the American Family Insurance Charity, Inc. (AFIC). Thanks to her nomination, Show-Me was selected as the beneficiary of the 2018 AFIC Annual Golf Tournament. The tournament raised over $25,000 and resulted in American Family Insurance donating over $45,000. “I don’t know many people who can write a check for $25,000 out of their own bank account,” laughed Director Chad Puckett. “But, many of us have relationships that could have a tremendous impact to help the ministries we love.”
With this in mind, this year’s 2020 Restoration Gala is focused on raising new friends. We are asking those passionate about children to use this event to connect Show-Me with these kind of key relationships, who may have the expertise and gifts we need to take the next step. In hopes to get the message out to as many new people as possible, ticket prices are $25 (covering the cost of the meal). Former NBA player and Mizzou star, Keyon Dooling’s testimony offers a rare and candid glimpse into how events in our childhood set the foundation for the rest of our lives. Hearing from Keyon and a teenager at Show-Me, Josie, folks will understand the critical help and healing that a place like Show-Me provides.
A Formula to Move Mountains
By ourselves, the journey to solve these problems seems impossible. We are just ordinary people with limited resources on our own. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 12:9-11, our weakness is our greatest strength because that is the formula God has used time and time again for the world to know His grace and love. Jesus promises we can move mountains. We just have to trust Him enough to take that first step, then enjoy the journey ahead.
“I never believed this day would happen,” Amanda stated. “Most of my life, graduation felt like an impossible dream.” Her diploma symbolized more than just completing high school, it was the reassurance that her fear would NOT come true. Unlike what she was told growing up, she would not end up like her mom, who as a young teen became pregnant with her and dropped out of school.
With the support of her Show-Me family, she is on a path to get her CNA certificate in order to serve the elderly and help children like she once was – in need of a little extra attention to reach their God-given potential. “I never would have gotten here if it wasn’t for Show-Me,” she explained. “The school allowed me to catch up to where I needed to be and the teachers were always there to push me to strive and accomplish my goals!”
School Sets The Stage for Life
Growing up, Amanda called many places home. She attended numerous schools as she bounced from family to family. Moving so often made it hard to trust others, build healthy relationships, or keep up with her peers in school. Math was especially difficult for her.
She was placed in special education classes to try to help. Although only behind in math, being labeled a “Special Ed” kid made her believe she was an overall failure with little hope for a future. These feelings ate at her self-esteem leading her to increasingly become isolated, which made her more vulnerable to negative influences in her life. Things came to a boiling point in 2015. Soon after, she soon came to Show-Me.
Uncommon Solutions to Common Problems
Life didn’t magically get better when she arrived and joined the Watkins family. “At that point, I didn’t have much hope for myself,” Amanda said. “I didn’t care for anything.”
Despite having been in the 7th grade, she was at a 3rd grade level in Math and English. She was behind multiple grades in the rest of her subjects. Her situation was a familiar one to Show-Me, where it is not uncommon for the kids that find their way here to be four grade-levels behind where they should be. The battles that they face at home make keeping up with the rest of their class a struggle. Public schools do not always have the necessary resources or time to give the extra attention needed to help them catch up. Feelings of failure, depression, frustration, and anger can arise if the cycle continues and the gap widens.
In 2000, after being forced to dismiss too many children because they were suspended from the public school, Show-Me created a private, Christian school option to try and overcome some of the unmet challenges. Using the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) Program, each student is evaluated subject-by-subject to create their own academic path to complete their studies. Students learn at their own pace while working to reach daily goals. This approach empowers students to own their education and success. Many kids who were falling behind in their former schools are able to catch up and graduate high school on time.
The ACE program identified the subject concepts that Amanda missed. She began to show progress and pass her subjects as she followed a targeted approach using PACEs, the ACE program’s bite-sized workbooks designed for self-instructional thinking skills and the mastery of a subject. Whether at home or in class, there was always someone available to help her understand when she got stuck or confused since many of the houseparents also worked in the school.
The Show-Me Christian School (SMCS) went beyond helping her in core subjects like math, English, literature, science, and social studies. Interwoven into each lesson was a Christian world view with Scripture and one of 72 Biblical character traits – all designed to help develop moral character, a sense of accountability, and wisdom in her life. It was changing the way she thought of herself. “Here we are all the same, nobody looks at you different. For the first time, I never felt rushed or uncared for,” stated Amanda. “Having the freedom to go at my own speed made me want to try harder. I found an inner strength I didn’t know I had.”
Finding Her Stride
She discovered a number of talents and interests by participating in extra-curricular activities. She sang as part of the praise team for the weekly chapel services. Being around the animals in Leadership U (LU) provided safe emotional connections. “Horses and dogs don’t judge you, they are really good listeners,” she joked. She found that the concepts taught in LU applied to her life, too. “To accomplish my goals, I needed to calm down, have confidence, try harder, and above all never give up,” stated Amanda.
That same determination would carry over to success in sports. Amanda gained confidence as she played volleyball, basketball, and was part of the team that took first place in track at state. “There, I forget about everything else,” she said. “To play well, you can’t let doubt and fear follow you on the court.” She was named to the MOKAN all-conference second team in basketball and took top state honors in volleyball. But, her teammates were her biggest motivational factor. “If I wanted to play, I knew I had to find a way to do well in class,” she recounted. “I couldn’t let my team down.”
In the Path to Purpose Program, she learned key life skills like how to make a budget from the Dave Ramsey’s financial courses and how to drive. Job shadowing at local hospitals confirmed that she wanted to be a nurse and work with the elderly or kids with special needs.
Taking on a New Identity in Christ
Slowly, but surely, becoming an adult didn’t seem so scary when she realized that she was a part of God’s bigger family. At the age of 19, she decided to make the change official when she changed her name and asked to be adopted by the Watkins family. “My parents helped me succeed by believing in me, not giving up (even though at times I thought they would), and showing me how to love and be part of a family,” Amanda said. “I’ve learned that when there seems to be no one else, there is always God to rely on.”
Dear Friend of Show-Me,
PROGRESS. It is an essential ingredient to transform STRUGGLE into SUCCESS. If we are ever to leap from “what is” to “what could be,” progress is the small steps we must continuously make. As Winston
Churchill said, “continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential.”
Recently, the smallest of lives reminded me of this truth. As we heard “Timmy’s”* name called out at the school awards ceremony, most of us in the audience began to tear up. Our cheers turned into a standingovation as he proudly made his way across the stage. His notable smile widened as he received the “Mr. Progress” award, a special honor given to the student who makes the most progress in a school year.
What an inspiring moment for a child! The opportunity to see his struggle turn into success! It was the culmination of an eight-year battle to overcome his continuous behavioral and learning issues. His teachers and Show-Me parents had exhausted many great ideas to try to help the
little guy. Nothing seemed to work to control his anger and hyperactivity. Timmy seemed to cause so many “problems” that it was easy to lose sight of the many problems he was trying to solve in his young life.
One Child’s Story: Timmy
Only three years old, Timmy, with his Mom and five young siblings, fled an abusive home and ended up at a women’s shelter. Knowing it was no place to raise kids, the ministry counseled Mom and told her of Show-Me. She hoped to place her children there for only a short time while the shelter helped her get back on her feet. Soon, that plan unraveled and mom ended up in jail. Not the ending we all hoped for, but at least the children could remain together. In the safety and stability of Show-Me, they discovered their academic, artistic, and athletic talents. They continuously earned Honor Roll and achieved numerous awards.
Each of the siblings found a way to thrive…except Timmy. He began to believe that he might never overcome his struggles. His “problems” were interwoven. Struggles in school led to acting out at home. The only way to solve one problem was to help him understand and deal with them all.
We approached his issues together from all angles.
• Counselors helped him to understand and talk about his past.
• His houseparents created an environment in which he could thrive with consistency and routines. Breaks were added to his studies so he could go outside and run out his extra energy.
• Our self-paced school gave him structure to focus and minimize distractions.
Feeling the love of so many people who believed in him and his future, something clicked! With an amazing attitude, congenial spirit, hard work and determination, Timmy is now embracing a new role for himself and finding success.
How can a child transform struggle into success? The number one factor is a team of support that never gives up. And, that’s exactly what Timmy had in his corner. A team, including YOU, who believes in each child’s potential and is ready to invest in their success. To challenge YOU to be a part of the next child’s team, an anonymous donor has offered to match your gift to Show-Me this summer. Every gift received by July 31st will be DOUBLED – up to a total of $20,000!You can make your donation here! So, let’s create more moments like these for the “Timmy’s” who haven’t had that moment, yet – a moment that makes an impact for a lifetime.
Thank you for believing in each of these young lives and being part of their team. With your support, together, we can turn their STRUGGLE into SUCCESS!
Awaiting the next moment,
Chad Puckett, Director
Turning to a new chapter brings mixed emotions – the confusing culmination of loss with anticipation. But, face a new chapter we must from time to time, as the “Author and Perfecter of our faith” continues to write our stories.