I have a confession. Back in 2014, when this non-profit began, my husband and I didn't have a hot clue what to name it. We knew our mission - so much so that we left our jobs to fully commit to this venture. But like parents eager to take their newborn home, there were a lot of unknowns. We strategically worked through the legal papers that begged for a name and had this humbling gut realization that we had no manual to follow. So we decided to pick a starting point and go.
And go we did! For the last 7 years, Forever Families of Canada has been connecting nonstop with churches, agencies, government, community leaders, and those impacted by family hardships. We've been hosting annual Belong Summits, offering seminars, speaking at events, and facilitating forums, growing a team along the way. As trust keeps developing with agencies and community partners, new opportunities have also been emerging for our partnering churches to come alongside the children and families they serve. This led to introducing CarePortal technology to Canada to help grow this phenomenon exponentially, even during a pandemic. And while the globe screeched to a halt with the virus, we were instantaneously catapulted into forming the online Academy, which continues to grow in momentum and reach; and the online platform helped support more children and families than ever before. Our growing team of leaders and partners have rolled with the pandemic punches, helping to galvanize our niche and purpose.
To be honest, I'm glad we didn't wait until we had the perfect name, or a 10-year strategic plan, or a budget that defined our God-size calling. It has kept us learning, trying new things, praying, and seeing miracles.
So why rebrand? It wasn't out of desire for a new logo, a fancy website, or impressive marketing. That's only lipstick on a robust mission. It wasn’t because our work had screeched to a halt and we wanted a makeover. No, things have actually been ramping up. The #1 reason was actually this...
Yes, YOU inspire us everyday to be better at facilitating connections and equipping community to journey alongside each other within our Canadian communities. You care that children and families in your community are in hard places. Your neighbour cares. Your church cares. Your agency cares. You as a struggling parent, aging out youth, foster child - you care!
While people desire to make a positive impact, the pathway to doing so can admittedly be tricky. As we have been discovering our niche, we have not been adequately communicating how we could support you, probably because we were learning with you. So, we ruthlessly have been analyzing our role and activities, challenged ourselves to get better and to make it easier for people, especially the Church, to make a caring impact in their communities.
Some may wonder 'why the Church, when we see CareImpact crossing into all other sectors too?' Did you know that, according to WayBase, there are over 25 thousand churches across Canada? Big or small, functional or dysfunctional, these imperfect ecosystems are in nearly every neighbourhood and each have a mandate to extend unconditional compassion and hope into their communities. The truth is, the Church needs community too and a rediscovery of her roots and calling. Reconciliation needs muscle and heart, not solely political observance or token conditional inclusion. Can you imagine if every church was connected and equipped to effectively journey in community with children and families in hard places? We can. This is why we rebranded and why we need more partners to join us in this mission.
It's not lost on us that reconciliation is desperately needed and that the Church has made grievous errors. Systemic issues are a thing. Colonization is a thing. The sacred and the secular can be so isolated that wisdom and skills are rarely shared. Yet we believe that everyone has gifts and abilities to offer each other. You and I are journeying through this reality and we need each other to journey well. Collaboration is not easy in a society so polarized on every level. We realize it is virtually impossible to know when and where and who and how best to support others. Privacy laws and an increasingly individualistic society are real constraints. We get it.
In some ways, it’s like we have been sitting on gold with CarePortal technology that is now working - literally working to coordinate vetted needs of children and families to church response teams who support those in crisis in real-time with support they welcome. Local businesses and community members also have opportunity to get involved. Defying the odds, there's a new movement happening across our nation, across denominational lines, across socioeconomic lines, racial lines, and across divided sectors - because people are saying yes to working together to support children and families in hard places. We have been on the front row seeing this work in various cities. Pinch me, it's happening!
We have been sitting on gold with our growing network of Christian professionals, growing partnerships and growing access to evidence-based resources that are building capacity within church communities to integrate faith values with unharmful action. It's been amazing to learn from you that the Academy is welcomed and helping you make an impact. We've seen how empowered people empower communities for good. We've seen how greater understanding of trauma care, culture and reconciliation, poverty, and healthy collaboration can be integrated into the everyday of living out of the gospel. Good News is great news when shared through informed acts of compassion. We needed to find ways to make our Academy more accessible to Canada - to learn together and from each other, to ask good questions, to seek truths together, to wrestle with injustice, to integrate our beliefs into restorative and redemptive action.
For those of you who have rebranded an organization you love, you understand. It's like a car barreling down a highway while having its engine rebuilt to become electric. You know it's going to be worth it, but it requires the humility and expertise of a team to discern what is working and how to become most effective and efficient in its mission. This is a huge shout out to Graf-Martin Communications for coaching us, DGinspired for giving of your graphic design expertise, the many who responded to our national surveys, our dedicated staff, and my wise mentor friend who convinced me rebranding was our first priority to making an impact with our mission. You all have shared a common passion to see the whole Church effectively journey in community with children and families in hard places. We are becoming better together - Thank you.
Seven years later, this organization isn't a baby any more - still young, learning, trying new things, praying for more miracles. But she's found her voice and she is listening. She's in her sweet spot, yet still growing into it. Welcome to the new era of CareImpact - where YOUR impact is OUR mission!
Executive Director / Co-founder
Stay tuned for an upcoming blog in November: 5 Signs Your Care is Making an Impact