Her sparkling crystal blue eyes peeked at me. Her mother's legs were the walls she hid behind. I called her name but she scrunched herself further behind her mother. She grabbed tightly to her pants. I pulled out all the tricks for allowing a little one to know she was safe, but she was not buying it. Throughout the week I would see her during different activities, and I would offer her the same invitation. A simple wave, and I would wait to see if I would get one in return. No matter where I would find her, she would hide. She hid behind chairs, under the table, and when there was no where to hide, she would put both hands over her face and turn to the wall.
Then last Saturday it happened! I was sitting with some of the mothers and their children, and I saw her. Before I could give her my normal invitation by a wave, there she was, walking toward me, with bright eyes, a terrific little smile, and a small tea pot and pink cup. Her words were simple, "Tea for you". I could feel my throat get caught up. I held out my hand and received her little cup, received her little invitation. For the next hour, I watched as she walked in and out of the room pretending to refill her pot to bring me endless cups of tea. There was something about that day, that moment when she realized I was safe. That I was approachable. Most importantly it was the day that the giver of the invitation had switched. I was invited in by this wonderful little girl, who I was watching find hope. It is a tea party I will never forget.
The transformation that happens at Acres of Hope for children is so amazing. Children who have experienced the cycle of homelessness with their mothers come from backgrounds where hope was silenced and unseen. When children arrive with their mothers at Acres of Hope they can breathe, in some cases for the first time. They learn they are safe, they can trust, and most importantly they are loved. They get to watch as their mothers grow into strong healthy women, and they begin to imitate the actions of strong and healthy lifestyles.
You can take part in transforming the life of an Acres of Hope child. Perhaps you will experience getting an invitation to a tea party. Maybe you will have your heart filled by seeing transformation happen right before your eyes.
Visit: acresofhopeonline.org or Call 530-878-8030 to get involved today.