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"I can be loved and love again"

Safe Families for Children, a program of Bethany Christian Services, helps families and children in crisis by providing a network of volunteer host families who help parents who need temporary care for their children as they face unmanageable or critical circumstances. Last year, 122 children were provided safe care through the program and at the end of the crisis, 94% return to their families. Here is a note from one of those families:

My name is Celeste and I am 34 years old. I have one daughter, Cam'raya, in my care. She is the light of my life and has shown me love all over again! If it wasn’t for Safe Families, then I honestly don’t know where we'd be at in life right now. I was in the Women’s Prison in Pierre because of some bad choices that I had made in my life and pregnancy. I didn't know where my baby was going to go and I honestly thought I was going to have to put her with CPS and fight for her when I got out. Well by God’s grace, I was led to Safe Families!

With their help I was able to keep my baby in prison with me for a month and maintain our bond. When the month was up, Safe Families connected me with a host family who has become my family! Tami, the host mom, came and got my baby straight from Pierre.

It was amazing because Tami brought her to me every day after I left Pierre and came to Sioux Falls. I was still able to maintain my bond with Cam’raya & build a bond with the host family. My little Cam’raya just loves the host family and is treated like one of their own!

Whenever I am feeling down and need to talk to someone Tami has been there to lend an ear. She has not judged me or my past and builds me up when I need to be built up. Sometimes I think, “Why me? What have I done to deserve all this love and help from everyone?" Then I remember that Safe Families was meant for us.

I believe that God brought Cam’raya into my life, not only to open my eyes and straighten me up, but also to help me see that I can be loved and love again. Believe me, I was truly lost for years and have struggled due to my other children being lost to the system. Safe Families was there so my baby girl didn't have to go to the system.

Every time I think about it I am brought to tears. My baby and I get to be together and I have all the love and support that I need to get on my feet. It has also humbled me, taught me to be grateful and to accept help. We are well on our way to a better life because of Safe Families and all the people and resources provided!

A Heart Club gift to Sioux Empire United Way of $10/week will provide a warm bed to a child for two days, creating the space a parent needs to handle a temporary crisis.