Communication Builds Our Community

Having a HEART for Children in our LAND

The current health crisis has noticeably altered many of our ideas of what, and who, is most important. Some of the things we would have listed as essential in order for us to have a "successful" life on March 1, may not have made our list here at the end of May.

The perspective, words, and interactions we have with others has likely been altered by COVID-19.

Upon further reading and reflecting on John 15:13 in recent weeks, (Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life [and self-interest] for his friends) old questions have resurfaced in my mind.

• What is love? What does it mean to lay down our life? Who are our friends?

What a blessing it is to be able to read The Book for ourselves and ponder where we are at this specific point in our lives! In addition to The model in Christ, it is also a blessing that God provides people, organizations, and structures that reflect John 15:13 in challenging situations.

Since 2003, Heartland for Children has served as the lead Community Based Care agency and provides a comprehensive child welfare service provider network in Polk, Highlands and Hardee Counties. The network includes protective services for children, foster care, adoptions, independent living, family preservation, and family support services, among other services.

Their bold mission statement is to eliminate child abuse and neglect in our communities. There are over 2,200 children from Polk, Highlands, and Hardee County who are receiving services from Heartland for Children (HFC).

According to their website:

- HFC's primary role in the system of care is not to provide direct services, but rather to serve as a system administrator dedicated to building an integrated network of services with traditional and non-traditional providers and supports. This network has the capacity to provide a comprehensive array of culturally competent services to children and families in both rural and urban areas. As a system administrator, Heartland for Children manages resources effectively and efficiently to ensure positive outcomes for children and families.

- We have an in-depth understanding of the vast array of existing community resources, as well as, the strengths and challenges in each of our communities.

You can find more information about this agency at Here's how to help:

• Consider praying about being a foster or adoptive family.

• Consider giving a financial contribution, or a specific gift of diapers, wet wipes, a Pack N Play, or a new car seat.

• Pray for parents to get connected to the resources and supports they need.

• Pray for children who have been removed from parents to be able to safely return to parents.

• Pray that children who are available for adoption are adopted by a loving family.

Christian Ponder has been a resident of Lake Wales since 2001. He enjoys living in Lake Wales with his wife and two children.


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