True Impact Happens Through Connection

Kevin Enders, 4KIDS President & CEO

When my wife Michelle and I first got saved over 15 years ago one of the very first outreach projects we did with our church was delivering Thanksgiving meals to families in need. All of these years later I remember that day so vividly. This wonderfully kind woman answered her door and eagerly invited us in – even though at the time I was so out of my element, I felt right at ease connecting with her. She wasn’t just grateful for the food we were bringing but for the friendship and connection we were offering. Even now I can remember exactly what it felt like to be in her home that day; that early impression of offering the love and community of Christ to someone in need has never left me. 


The power of connection 

This same kind of connection and community is being extended to families every day through CarePortal. Preventative care is made possible through this online platform that connects local churches with real-time community needs. Needs like groceries, baby essentials, electricity bills, and toddler beds are all being submitted to CarePortal and willing, local churches see and meet these needs every day. 

And while meeting these tangible needs is improving lives and providing deeply needed resources, the true impact in CarePortal happens through connection. Just like giving out Thanksgiving meals was never just about the food, CarePortal is so much more than just meeting the physical need. CarePortal volunteers from local churches are meeting with people at times in their most vulnerable season and offering the gift of love, connection, and hope. 

We know we were all made for connection – God wired us to be in relationship! And meeting that deep need for connection has the power to change lives and families forever. 


Prevention through community 

connectionMany of the families served through CarePortal are not only lacking physical resources but are also isolated. One of the key risk factors of abuse and family breakdown is isolation. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and through preventative efforts like CarePortal, more families can receive the hope of being stabilized and kept safe. 

A study on Adverse Childhood Experiences shows that even when facing “risk factors” like being in a low-income family or having a young or single parent, these children can benefit from “protective factors” like being connected to a strong, reliable community. Even when families face these community and family-based risk factors they can be strengthened through protective factors. 

Another study by the Florida Department of Children and Families in conjunction with CarePortal, showed that up to 60% of kids who receive services through CarePortal are prevented from entering foster care. That means 3,000 kids in our community have already been prevented from entering the foster care system! 

We recently helped a dad who was working three jobs and about to get evicted from his apartment. This family was facing a lot of these “risk factors” – a single parent who was struggling financially and stretched thin to parent all six children alone. Spanish River Church stepped in with a donor who was willing to cover their rent and beyond that, they offered this dad a community of neighbors and friends. Six children could have entered the foster care system and a family could have fallen apart.

These were just six of the over 5,000 children who have now been impacted by CarePortal in our community. Today there are 117 active churches serving and a $1.7 million impact has been made. 


A blessing to give 

Since starting CarePortal in our community in 2020, it has been incredible to see the lives impacted and imagine the lives that can continue to be impacted. There is no doubt that together, we are just getting started. But beyond the lives who are receiving these resources and connection, I also see how the lives who are giving are also changed. 

Those who are generously giving from their heart and offering connection to people who are hurting aren’t just changing lives, but their lives are being changed in the process. I see and hear this every day at 4KIDS!

Acts 20:35 tells us, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 

When you are a part of this kind of special work, expect your own life to be transformed for the better. I pray that you would consider how you might serve the hurting and isolated families in our community, not just so they can experience God’s love but so that you too can experience His restoration in new and deeper ways.

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