There aren’t too many individuals in this world who are more honest than a child when it comes to expressing how they feel or what they think, as in their naivety and innocence, they are often more direct and true than most adults.
That is something that a woman by the name of Rayn is more aware of than anybody else. Her non-profit organization’s goal is to provide children in the foster care system with necessities that are not covered by the social services they get.
“I don’t want these children lying in bed at night wondering if they’re worth it. I want them to know that they are. I want them to know someone in the world cares about them,” shares Rayn.
During the holiday season, the nonprofit collects Christmas gifts for foster children. Many children write their wish list on a tag, which members of the community will collect and then buy gifts to fulfill each kid’s wish.
None of them asked for this year’s hottest toy, or another video game to add to their collection. No, the children who filled out these tags listed their “innermost dreams”—things that should be part of everyone’s childhood.
“’A Dad,’ ‘new clothes so I won’t get picked on,’ or something as simple as ‘a comb.’ Perhaps most heartbreaking was the teen boy who asked for feminine hygiene products for his younger sister so she wouldn’t have to keep missing school.”
“Every tag is connected to a child who wants to believe that someone in the world cares about their well-being. If we can show them for one moment that someone put their needs ahead of their own, maybe they will finally believe that what they have endured does not need to define who they grow up to be.”
When she was 14 years old, Rayn was placed in the foster care system, where she met another young girl like herself.
“She was also 14 and came in wearing clothing that would have fit a small nine-year-old,” Rayn writes in a now-viral Facebook post. “I remember seeing her change for bed and noticing reddish-purplish welts on her skin. Her clothing had literally injured her. I made a silent promise to her that day that when I grew up, I would do something to help children like her and me.”
Sometimes the most difficult seasons of our lives can prove to be the most fruitful later on. I have to believe that’s the case for Rayn. The beautiful thing about her past and the difficulties she’s overcome is that her fruitfulness is impacting thousands of lives beyond her own.
She is carving a brighter future for children who don’t have the luxury of basic necessities, let alone a mother or father who shows them unconditional love, support, and encouragement.
“For many of these children, we are the spark of hope that lights up their otherwise dark world. Many individuals and businesses have already stepped up, asking for tags; and for these children, we hope it is only the beginning.”
As a single mother and abuse survivor, Rayn continued to intentionally pour into her children. Rayn shared in a recent Facebook post, “From the time my own children were little, I taught them that every day that the sun comes up, it means that it’s going to be a great day. My hope was that the first moment of each of their days, would be filled with excitement, and the belief that every day held opportunity for greatness. The moment their little eyes would open, they would eagerly look outside and declare “Momma, the sun is up. It’s going to be a great day! As each child aged, another sibling would be born. The older siblings would help create excitement among the younger ones. All would be excited to see the sun.”
And, the nonprofit continues to give shout outs to local heroes, like Anthony, who give of themselves. Anthony is an “11-year-old selfless superhero, on a mission, to help children who are fleeing crises. This year Anthony was asked what he wants for Christmas. He said that he wanted to sponsor children through our “Sponsor-a-Child in Crisis Program.”
“We take care of immediate needs, and then we work with people to show them they are more than what they have endured. When you can hold your head up high, you’re more likely to apply for a job and be a better parent. We make people feel important. We treat clients the same as we do our biggest donors,” Rayn said.