Last month, a team of 12 volunteers went to the Royal Family Kids Camp with us to help deliver the Case for Character Suitcases to the foster kids attending the camp.
Dawn Smith, one of the volunteers, shares her experience at the camp:
The evening before traveling to give our first suitcases away, I felt God say to me “Demonstrate My love to the children you meet tomorrow.” That night I had sweet dreams of giving friendly smiles to the children, talking to them and giving hugs.
When we arrived at the camp, a little girl walked right up to me, smiled shyly, and told me her name was Grace. My heart instantly bonded with her as she smiled again and scampered away.
A moment later she was back, still smiling, and said to me, “You look just like my mom.” As she went back to play, glancing over her shoulder to see if I was still there, my heart broke. I saw the hope in Grace’s eyes that maybe I WAS her mother, come to take her home. I have worked with older children who have gone through the foster care system and are now adults, and I couldn’t bear the thought that the bright hope I saw in Grace’s eyes might one day be dulled by hurts like the ones I’ve seen the others suffer through. Throughout the rest of the day, Grace reappeared at different times, smiling at me with her toothless grin.
That evening at dinner as I was putting my dishes away, I turned around and there was Grace–just smiling, not wanting anything except to look at me. I asked if she wanted a hug, and she ran into my arms. We hugged and then she ran off to join the other kids. I was beginning to sense that I wasn’t at the camp just to help give away suitcases or smiles or hugs, but that I was there to receive a gift from God as well.
As we began our program that evening for all the campers, I caught glimpses of Grace talking to her newfound camp friends and listening to the character songs being sung. I went outside to help set up the suitcases for the kids and when I walked back into the building, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Of course–it was Grace! This time she gave me a big hug without asking and we began to talk a bit. When she said once again “You look just like my mom,” I replied, “I wish I were your mom!”
The last time I saw Grace, she was singing the character songs along with the campers. I knew that, not only was she going to be receiving a gift of the character book and music and a suitcase, she was going to have a permanent reminder of God’s goodness to her. Grace was not the only one to receive a gift that night––the Lord met my need by giving me the love of a child that is pure and so like His own. God’s Grace is more than sufficient!
[Learn how you can become a volunteer for the Case for Character program]
Dawn is a faithful supporter of the Case for Character cause, participating in volunteer opportunities whenever she can. Her passion and love for foster children has inspired others with her story "God's Grace," based on her experience at a Royal Family Kids Camp suitcase distribution.