From WORLD Magazine:
"In 2006 we started giving Hope Awards for Effective Compassion to some of the best homeless shelters, pregnancy resource centers, free clinics, prison rehabilitation ministries, inner-city Christian schools, rehab centers, and immigrant helpers.
We profile these ministries to honor those who love their neighbor well, and also to lay out common principles that actually help break the vicious cycle of poverty—principles we hope others can emulate. What follows are some principles we’ve observed from 16 years of covering effective poverty-fighters."
Christian Encounter was highlighted for the principle of discernment. Read excerpt below or read article in full here.
“Is this a cannot, or a will not?” That’s something the staff at Christian Encounter in Grass Valley, Calif., a residential youth program, often ask when a kid acts out. Discerning between “cannot” and “will not” leads to completely different responses and results.
Christian Encounter daily sees the pervasive realities of childhood trauma, which can stunt physical, social-emotional, and cognitive growth. One boy refused to take showers because he said he didn’t deserve to be clean. When he did, he turned the water scalding hot to burn himself. Another kid stared listlessly at the wall and refused to make eye contact with anyone. Many have abused drugs and alcohol, engaged in risky behaviors, or attempted suicide. They arrive at Christian Encounter wounded. Many explode into streams of tears and expletives, disobey rules, or fail classes.
Instead of immediately taking a punitive approach, Christian Encounter staff try first to engage the youth, over and over, before they discipline. They ask questions, listen, and point out wrong behaviors. That doesn’t negate structure and responsibility. One girl refused to help with Christmas decorations. But there was a reason: This foster kid had never enjoyed holidays with her family. So she withdrew, expecting another horrible Christmas. Then one staff member told her firmly, “You can sit here and have another terrible Christmas, or you can get up and help because this year is different.” The girl chose to get up and had a great time.
That’s discernment: The staff member knew the girl enough to understand why she was sulking, but she also called her out on it and offered a better way. Such discernment leaves room for more personalized approaches. Sometimes a person may be reacting to trauma. Or it may be typical teenage troubles. Or he might just need a nap.
Help us win $10,000! Click here to vote for Christian Encounter in the Hope Awards.