It’s possible you’ve never heard of us, so let me introduce our organization!
You can read about our mission, our team, and our history on the About Us Page. But in this inaugural blog post, I want to tell you a story or two so you have a better idea of the impact we can make. One is a story about kids, and the other is about their parents.
As an attorney in juvenile court, I had a client who needed a job. Now, for any of you who have ever looked for work know, this, in and of itself, can be a challenge. But he had additional challenges.
He didn’t have a driver’s license. It hadn’t been revoked or suspended; he just hadn’t had one for a long time. You’re probably thinking, “why didn’t he just go get one?” Well, he was going to have to take three “tests”—the written test, a driving test, and a vision screening. Interestingly, he wasn’t particularly worried about the first two. It was the last one, the vision screening test, that he was pretty sure he would fail. Why?
He didn’t have glasses. And he couldn’t see well enough without them to pass the test.
But he also couldn’t afford glasses. And that’s not something DHS can help with. So he was stuck. In short, he couldn’t get a job, because he couldn’t get his license, because he couldn’t pass the vision screening test, because he couldn’t get glasses.
Without a job, he was at risk of eviction. He also struggled to participate in the services DHS was asking him to engage in, including visits with his son.
Serve Iowa was able to partner with another non-profit to provide him with the glasses he needed to reverse that downward spiral. He passed the test, got his license, and then got a job. He was able to comply with DHS’ requests, and now his son is living with him.
All because of a pair of glasses.
In another case, I represented a child whose world had been turned upside down due to her parents’ addictions. She bounced from home to foster care, to shelter care, to another foster home, before finally “landing” with an adoptive family. When she got to the last home, she wanted to do dance. When the season was over, I asked her to tell me about her experience. She looked at me and said, “I finally got to finish something.” All the bouncing around had prevented that.
Serve Iowa doesn’t (yet) help kids who are in foster care and/or court involved. But if they are DHS involved (and staying in the home with parent(s)), they may have a different barrier to extra-curricular activities—money. Some of these kids quit asking, because they have heard “we can’t afford it” far too many times.
That’s where Serve Iowa comes in. We can help offset the cost of these activities so that kids can have a little slice of “normal” in an otherwise abnormal situation. And when kids have the opportunity to participate, all kinds of other good things can come of it. They build resilience (necessary to offset Adverse Childhood Experiences). They learn discipline, commitment, and working hard to achieve goals. They develop healthy relationships as part of a team.
And they get to experience finishing what they started.
So that’s who we are. Will you join us in this important work? Contact us to find out more about how you might enrich your own life by helping struggling families.