This fall, L.A.C.E.S. held our first virtual Behind the Scenes event where we had the privilege of sharing with you the stories of those who are the hands and feet of our program in Liberia.
During our event, attendees had an opportunity to ask questions and below are a few of them.
Q: Pastor Roberts, it seems like you have some truly wonderful coaches, how do you choose them?
A: We select our coaches from the community. We ask the community leaders to give us their top choices for coaches. They must be High School level or above because we have to do reporting. They go through a vetting process and then we chose the ones that are compatible with the L.A.C.E.S. program. Afterward, we train them to get them ready for the program.
Q: How many communities do you currently work in?
A: In the past, we have worked in 3 or 4 communities in the same year. Today, we are in a community called Kakata, it has 1,500 street living children in it, it’s a semi-urban area, so we decided to concentrate all of our resources into Kakata.
Q: Are your coaches’ home visits scheduled? Have they been well received by the families as well?
A: Each coach visits 3 children a week. When children start the L.A.C.E.S. program, they are children at risk. Children who disturb the community and people initially think we are collaborating with the children to do those bad things. But when the coach goes into the community, asks questions, and takes the evaluations, the people get excited. They say, “at least we have someone partnering with us to make sure our children are doing fine”. Our coaches are well respected and looked at as partners of the community in helping change the life of the children.
Q: Why do the children leave home? Is it because the family can’t afford them? And why and how are they welcome back home?
A: Lack of discipline, peer pressure, and abuse from the parents are the main causes for children to leave home. The child would leave the home for two, three years and once the child sees his or her friends do the wrong thing and join them they all begin to do the wrong thing and their parents see them do this in the streets. They do feel bad, they are parents. We are prone to change, you know? So they think “How can I bring my children home? How can this child come back home?” They may have solved their own problems, and they have decided within themselves, I am not going to be the child’s enemy. But the child does not understand this, so it is our role to mediate between them. We talk to the child, we talk to the parents and believe me change is not immediate, it is a process. It takes some children two years, it takes some of them three years, by the end of the day our joy is when they are united with their parents back home.
Thank you to all those who attended our event. Your support and donations have helped sponsor over 120 children in the coming year.
If you missed the event, please watch our recorded videos and read some of L.A.C.E.S. team’s most memorable moments.