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From the moment I first walked into the house, I knew that it was filled with love, that every person, young and old was being cared for. It’s that special feeling when you know everyone is really looking out for one another, where the “it takes a village mentality” runs deep. The babies were laughing, the kids were playing, the adults were checking in with one another about how their day and past weeks went. We were welcomed in, offered dinner, and ate our meal as if we too were now a part of that special community.

This is what community looks like in the MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ Marysville Constellation

2018RosieCullen

I have worked for The Mockingbird Society for a year and a half in our youth programs and volunteered with Mockingbird for several years before that. While I had a feeling that the MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ Constellations would feel like this, I was overwhelmed by the kindness, care, and authentic community that I experienced by visiting the group in Marysville last month. I was joined by two of my youth leaders, Jeremiah and Jessey, to talk about the work that we do in our local youth chapter. The youth that I came with were welcomed in just as if they had been there all along. The families were curious to know who they are, what their dreams are, and encouraged them to make it happen—all within the first 30 minutes.

As someone who has worked in social services for 10 years and has been working with youth aging out of foster care for the last 6, this community was a breath of fresh air. I have heard many stories from young people about the loneliness and lack of care they felt from families they have lived with during their time in foster care. During this visit, Jeremiah spoke about how much of a difference it would have made in his life if he could have lived in a community environment like this. That he would not have felt so alone and instead would have known that he was valued not just by many caring adults but other youth too.

If we want to make a difference in the lives of young people who have to experience entering foster care, we must do it in this community-centered way. We must SURROUND them with many caring individuals. We must give them opportunity to be a part of a greater community. Or make sure that they can stay connected to the communities they came from. We must make sure they know that they are not alone. Cheers to the all the Mockingbird Families out there who are not just part of an intentional community but have created a truly authentic community. A community filled with love, attention, and care. Many of us have benefited from those special communities in our own lives and we must ensure that foster youth have access to that too.