From the earliest days of The Hope Effect, we have had conversations surrounding the approach and quality we will pursue for our family style homes. We searched for words or phrases that would help clarify our intentions and set the bar high for our team and our future. As is often the case with brainstorming sessions, the list grew long and complicated. However, one simple question seemed to sum up our conversation: If any of our children were being cared for at one of our homes, would we be pleased with the care they are receiving? The answer to that question prompted six orphan care standards that would eventually define our values: 1) Family, 2) Excellence, 3) Spirituality, 4) Preparation, 5) Sustainability, and 6) Innovation. Over the next several weeks, we will expand on each standard in greater detail.
Because family is the most effective model for development, we seek to mimic the family in all strategies. Traditional orphan care solutions around the world too often function like “institutions” rather than “the family unit.” In order to maximize budgets and space, institutional care focuses on meeting basic physical needs. To be fair, they do this very well. While not the best solution, millions of children over the years have had their situations dramatically improved thanks to the generous and selfless work of orphanage directors and their supporters. They have helped children get off the streets, out of dangerous situations, and onto a better path for the future. However, in recent years, studies have shown the life long negative effects on children who are reared in an institutional setting. Therefore, given the choice, I could not imagine many parents who would want their children to only have their basic needs met in a larger institutional care situation. If my wife and I, God forbid, could no longer care for our kids, we would want their basic needs met, but more than that, we would want them to be part of a family! We would want our kids to be raised by people who would love them as they would their own biological children. We would want our kids to feel safe and secure. And we would hope our children’s uniqueness would be affirmed, strengths developed, and challenges helped to overcome. At The Hope Effect we are seeking to change the way the world cares for orphans by offering children the opportunity to be part of a family. Rather than constructing large buildings that house a high ratio of children to caregivers, we are building smaller, one-family size, structures. Each home will house six-eight orphaned children and two parents. In this way, we mimic the family in all orphan care solutions. Not only is this what we would want for our children, but a family is what every child needs and deserves.