I have, some time ago, written on Assist News about the charity Schools Outreach that, since 1988, has been recruiting, training and placing into British schools high calibre individuals through whom unconditional love will be offered to children and young people.You can, if you wish, check the charity’s website: www.schoolsoutreach.org where you’ll be able read how effective the work has been in the lives of children, especially those who have been abused or neglected, and are hurting or needy.I have been employed by this charity (originally established in 1973 to fund the work in which I’d been involved since the early sixties) as it Chief Executive and, since the mid 1990s, as its Director of Training.
It has been a delight to see appropriately motivated and well-trained men and women placed into a school full-time as pastoral care specialists. There follows the joy of reading their regular reports of children whose lives have been transformed, whose families have been helped, whose behaviour has changed for the better and whose view of life has become wholly positive. Children have come to faith, won by unconditional love and consistently dependable care. Should you wish to see them Case Studies are available. You too can then rejoice with us at the effects that occur when the Lord is at work.
Here is a testimony from one very special young lady:
The day that I was introduced to Linda (the School’s Outreach Pastoral Care Specialist) was the beginning of a miraculous intervention in my life. The art therapy and counseling that Linda offered helped me to release much of the tension and grief that I was experiencing. Linda helped me to realize that my situation at home was not the norm and this gave me a new spirit to fight for a better life. It was not long before I understood that I had come into contact with a very special lady. I did not know that Linda was a woman of faith during those years at school, but deep down I knew that there was something special about her. Her office became a place of safety for me; a safe haven where I would often spend my days crying out in desperation. Her heartfelt compassion for me was evident, and I felt like the most important person in her world. Linda’s level of commitment towards my life was humbling, and she helped me to see that there were still some good people that I could trust. This support and commitment helped me to survive those turbulent years, and without Linda I do not know where I would have ended up. I believe that I would not be alive today.
Linda contributed richly to my life. I always thank God for the way in which he sent an angel to rescue me from my time of suffering. Linda and I speak together on a yearly basis and it is always a wonderful time together. Linda will always hold a special place in my heart and will remain someone that I can look towards for direction and guidance.
I am truly grateful for the vision of School’s Outreach and for all of the people who have given their time and resources in the past number of years. This wonderful organization made it possible for a lady from Australia to come all the way over to a school in England, at just the right moment to help a broken girl like me.
Those years at school with Linda were just the first step in a long journey towards the personal strength and wholeness that I know today. My journey was long and arduous but God revealed himself to me through Linda’s faithfulness and love. I have now been married for almost twelve years and have two beautiful children, Luke and Emily. God continues to shower me with blessings and happiness beyond description, as I continue to hope and trust in him.
Having read this, yet again, I am feeling somewhat sad at having to report that, in early April, the members of the Schools Outreach Council of Management took the very difficult decision, due to a serious lack of financial support, to close the charity later this year. It was decided that I am to be made redundant on the 20th October, together with our daughter Andrea, the Company Secretary. Others will have been made redundant earlier in the summer. The funding we had raised for the support of our remaining workers finally runs out at the end of September.
The sorrow is tempered with the joy of all that God has achieved in many thousands of young people’s lives over the years and I decided we must hold a Thanksgiving Service to acknowledge these achievements. It will be held at Holy Trinity Church, Lickey, near Birmingham, UK, at 3pm on Sunday 27th of June, two weeks from now. If you are reading this in the UK you would be welcome to attend if it is possible for you.
With my redundancy in mind, and a burning desire to remain involved with helping to train and prepare those who wish to be involved with young people, I have launched a new website – www.pastoralcareforkids.com – through which I will be offering four short courses in:
Do take a look and make it more widely known if you can, perhaps by creating a link to it on your own website of Facebook page.
I wish it to be known how deeply grateful I am for the support and encouragement I have received from so many people over so very many years. Bless you all.
Gordon Bailey, Assist News Service