Many of our residents grow up in environments where they learn to trust only themselves. Whether they come from a place of abuse, neglect, or abandonment, these young mothers enter our nest with distrust toward the world. This is one of the beasts we battle at The Sparrow’s Nest. How do we show these young women that they are safe, they are loved, and they can trust us?
The Sparrow’s Nest showers everyone who walks through our doors with love. Residents often find this odd, which is okay. They suddenly gained ten moms, that is overwhelming. But we make sure they have everything they need, that they are fed and warm, and that they are safe. These start to build trust between us and our residents.
The next step is communication. In a house with fifteen staff members and up to eight residents, over-communication is incredibly important. We encourage everyone to over-communicate and then communicate some more. We discuss appointments, work schedules, and school events every Sunday evening at our family meetings. Sticky notes are our best friend and we use them constantly for reminding our staff and residents of various plans. Are we a perfectly oiled machine without any hiccups? No, but we try. Even when we have to get two girls to work and one to a doctor’s appointment, the residents know that they will have transportation and that they will get there on time. If a situation occurs that will cause us to be late, then we make sure to communicate that to everyone and that they communicate it to their work or doctor.
This over-communication leads to staff showing our residents that we are reliable. We will get them diapers if they need them, we will have dinner at 5:30 every evening, and we are there to talk to. When someone grows up in an unstable environment, showing them that you are reliable is a huge step towards trust. Because while the rest of their world is in chaos, they see you as stable.
When a resident sees us as someone they can talk to, someone who will consistently be there, and someone who genuinely cares for them; that is when trust begins. Then they share their stories and worries. They tell us their hopes and goals. Most importantly, they see that they have a safe place in their world and start to call The Sparrow’s Nest their home.