One Caring Adult
Susi Thompson first became involved at Amarillo Children’s Home because of relatives Joe and Sandy Wood. Joe, one of our board members, and Sandy invited Susi and her husband to take a tour of ACH to learn more about the great work happening here.
When Susi met the children at ACH, she recognized a potential to get more deeply involved. Susi used to teach in Groom, but after retiring to help her husband with his business, she missed being around kids. Susi was hopeful about the opportunity to work with young people outside of a full-time job. She contacted ACH, and together they brainstormed ideas.
Susi was paired with Jennie Dunn’s home and began fixing dinner for the family. For the next year, Susi came weekly to the cottage and made dinner. “I didn’t want the kids to feel they had to entertain me. I just came in and made dinner. I let them help as they wanted – each week a new girl really wanted to help out… After about 8 weeks, more and more girls were helping.” It became an atmosphere of fun and laughter with everyone working together – a highlight of the week.
Susi became a friend to both Jennie and to the girls and a true member of the family. She keeps up with what’s happening in the girls’ lives so they have things to talk about. She doesn’t delve into their pasts, choosing instead to focus on the present and the future. Susi makes sure to keep her visits consistent – she only missed two weeks all of last year, and sent pictures to Jennie to show the girls what she was up to and why she wasn’t there.
Recently, Susi offered to move into a mentoring-type role. Her idea was to take a different girl out each Thursday to do something special. Jennie suggested, instead, Susi mentor just one girl – Tiaret* had really connected with Susi and didn’t have anyone outside ACH who had taken her under their wing. Tiaret needed that one person who wasn’t from ACH to pour into her. Now, every Thursday, Tiaret and Susi get together. Once a month, they cook dinner together for the whole family. The other Thursdays they might do something special or just spend time together.
Susi commented, “I leave it up to Jennie. She knows the kids better than anybody, and I let her guide me about what they need. She has their best interest at heart and knows them.” Jennie appreciates that trust. “Susi’s not coming in to be the hero. It’s always about what we need, what the kids need. She’s very genuine – not seeking to get anything in return. She just helps.”
When you invest in Amarillo Children’s Home, what is gained truly is greater than the cost. It is always a tenuous first step from feeling a longing to be a part, to making the choice to be involved. Whether your heart is led to give, to volunteer on campus or to educate others about ACH, the first step to follow that leading is the most difficult, but also the one that will lead to greater fulfillment and purpose.
Haven’t read the heart-touching story behind how Joe and Sandy Wood became involved with ACH? Read it here!
*name has been changed