Here is Cindy’s Story – a story not uncommon with WrapAround.
Cindy (not her real name) is a single mother of First Nations heritage. Her hard-scrabble life led to two of her four children being taken into the care of the Children’s Aid Society (CAS). Now a third child was apprehended, and the Children’s Aid Society was pursuing Crown Wardship once again. The CAS appeared to have an airtight case. Her daughter would soon become one of what we might call Ontario’s “forgotten children.”
That’s when WrapAround Hamilton became involved, a community-owned, volunteer-driven WrapAround program supported by Shalem. WrapAround is a proven way of organizing and sustaining a community’s care for its most vulnerable members, like Cindy and her children. Thankfully, one of our WrapAround volunteer facilitators has Micmaq heritage. The facilitator helped Cindy to implement her own life plan, using community supports. Remarkably, the Children’s Aid Society returned her child to her care and closed the case. Cindy has now moved to another Ontario community to be close to her family.
Every church should have this as part of their ministry and we hope that Wraparound will help many more people feel part of the Body of Christ.
WrapAround helped our family feel embraced by the church community. People cared and we were able to share our emotions, joys and concerns with people we knew would understand. It seems that when there is a serious diagnosis or disability within a family that people often don’t know how to approach or help. The family is left then to initiate or seek out what help might be available. So for us before WrapAround we felt isolated and very lonely. Having a group of people that we chose to turn to is like having an extended family. The group idea also helps because no one person gets burned out. The structure of WrapAround, having specific goals, time limited meetings and working from a strengths base, ensures that there are not huge expectations placed on people. Having people come alongside us has been so helpful and we are thankful to feel more a part of our church family.
From my experience as a parish priest for almost fifty years, I see the WrapAround concept as ideal in helping families with troublesome issues. In fact, although now retired, I am now a member of a particular WrapAround and am excited about its possibilities.