Since 2018, we have been partnering with a local non-governmental and non- religious organization, Big Heart For Kids, whose focus is serving foster and adoptive families.
While hosting a DTS team from Kiev, we were searching for an opportunity to serve in an orphanage, as that is how the team felt God leading them. We had no contact with local orphanages, but a simple google search led us to one and they welcomed our visit. Through this visit, we were introduced to their friends at Big Heart For Kids. After meeting with their board and presenting who we are— our vision, values and faith— as well as what we can offer as YWAM, they were interested in forming a partnership. Through this partnership, we share a common vision for empowering foster parents in their parenting, strengthening of their marriages and helping foster children, overall.
During the last 4 years, we were able to organize events for them on a regular basis. In order to support the parents, we have held inspirational meetings for moms, marriage seminars for couples, and trainings on trauma and how to deal with it. We also have organized meetings for teen girls, which we call “7 Shades of Womanhood,” and many other activities where we share Biblical values. With each event, they have discovered YWAM more, which has opened the door to host another event. Our relationships with the volunteers and leaders of Big Heart For kids have grown into dear friendships. My husband Roman calls them our foster family
I would like to share a bit about our very first project that we did together— a so called “historical moment.” We presented a tool called “Friendship Cards” for teaching emotional literacy and conflict resolution skills to children, which turned out to be a big need for the foster parents. To provide this training, print out the cards, etc. we needed $4000. At the time, this seemed overwhelming for both organizations! We felt God encouraged us with the verse from 2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” God miraculously provided for this training! The program was successfully started in Poland, the training costs were covered, and the foster parents received the training. After they had time to put it in practice, we received encouraging feedback. Parents and kids are gaining more understanding of each other and their conflicts are now resolved in more peaceful ways. They do not feel trapped by the problem but know that they are able to find the solution. These parents took it further and are now teaching other foster families to use Friendship Cards.
In 2020, Big Heart for Kids won 1st place in the competition amongst non-government organizations of Poland for their impact on society. Their award was covering the cost of printing of 1000 Friendship Cards for foster and adoptive families! To this day, we continue to work together, organizing training for teachers, social workers, caregivers and their kids all over Poland. Family relationships are being touched by the excellency of the power of God!
Below are answers to some of the questions of the interview from Jadwiga Jagielo, the head of our partner organization.
Did you learn anything from your partnership?
-Our cooperation with YWAM Poland Rzeszow has taught us to be more open and has brought lots of fruit by bringing excellent speakers to Poland regarding how to work with neglected children.
Your hardest moment in partnership?
-Planning together for 2020-2021. We had to figure out if we really want the same things.
What was your joyous moment in your partnership?
-We get lots of joy from meeting with different, interesting people.
Your advice for those starting or considering a partnership with other organizations?
Be open to cooperation. Do not be afraid of new challenges. Communicate openly. Draw from others— their knowledge and experience— but also share your own skills and experiences.