Family is the foundation of our lives and the cornerstone of our society. It is where we learn important values and morals that shape us as individuals and contribute to our growth and development. The importance of family cannot be overstated, and it is up to all of us to ensure that families are supported and strengthened in our communities.
As the saying goes, “Family is like branches of a tree, that grow in different directions, yet the roots remain as one.” This highlights the importance of family as a source of love, support, and stability, regardless of the many challenges that may arise. It is not just blood that makes a family, but the bonds of love, trust, and commitment that are forged over time. It’s the people who love you even when you feel that you don’t deserve it. It’s those who laugh with you and cry with you.
The role of family in promoting the social, emotional, physical, academic, and occupational growth of youth cannot be overemphasized. It is through these early years that children learn essential values that will shape them for the rest of their lives. In healthy families, children are taught to be good people, and productive members of society, and to be aware of their environment and other beings. These values are shared through unconditional love, which is the greatest blessing of family life. Moral values play an important role in family life as well.
“It is through these early years that children learn essential values that will shape them for the rest of their lives.”
Unfortunately, not every child is privileged enough to live in a healthy nuclear family, and many families face economic pressure and other challenges that can put a strain on family dynamics. It is up to all of us to recognize the disconnection of families and provide support where necessary. We can help by training teachers to connect and work with parents, reducing distrust and cultural barriers, evaluating parents’ needs, making referrals, and using technology to connect with parents. Some of our families are single-parent families or extended families. These can still definitely give the love, support, and values that a child needs to strive and survive in this community.
Foundation Judicial Institute St. Maarten (SJIS) recognizes that our children are the future, and they need the opportunity to grow and develop in a supportive environment. With this in mind, the foundation has established a foster care unit and needs the support of the community to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children in need. The foundation celebrated the National Day of Foster Care on May 3, 2023, under the theme “Be the Village, Foster a Child. Several activities were organized throughout the month to raise awareness of the importance of foster care and to show gratitude to all those who have made a powerful and positive difference in the lives of our vulnerable children.
Two of the greatest gifts we can give are solid roots and strong wings. And as a community, we all have a role to play. Back in the day, the entire village would help raise our children. These days, the extended family is not as connected as it used to be. Economic pressure places a high demand and frustration on families. Parents have two or three jobs to be able to take care of their family. This challenge can put stress on a child’s emotions and contribute to loss of focus, acting out at school, or even displaying deviant behaviour. Our family dynamics can strongly influence how we see ourselves, our behaviour, others, and the world around us. Unhealthy effects of family dynamics can potentially lead to verbal, emotional and physical abuse.
” Back in the day, the entire village would help raise our children. These days, the extended family is not as connected as it used to be.”
Sometimes children are placed under protective measures because of abuse and neglect and end up with a foster or adoptive family. These children are in dire need of a family to give them a voice, to provide them with a space to heal, and to make a difference in their lives.
Our foundation supports children and their families, including those in foster care, by protecting and promoting the child’s well-being, health, and social-emotional development. We need your support to be that family or that village for a child in need.
The call to action is clear. Our communities need us, our children need us, and our families need us. We can all play a role in ensuring that families are strong and supported and that children have the opportunity to grow and thrive. So, what will your response be? How can you help give early support and adequate help to a family in need? Join us in making a positive difference in the lives of our most vulnerable children and help ensure that our families remain a circle of strength.
Meredith Concincion, Project and Foster Care Coordinator
Foundation Judicial Institute St. Maarten (SJIS)