The holistic approach to caring for the youth and community of Athens looks like tending to and focusing on every facet of each person's being. That is their physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional needs. At Sideways Sunlight Ministries we see each individual as a whole person which enables us to give well-rounded care. We believe this is the best approach to caring for a community whose struggle is so multi-faceted.
Here is a look at the specifics of this approach in our programming each week!
Physical Needs: Each week a nutritious meal is served to every kid. It is important to us that the kids learn new healthy foods worked into meals they find delicious. We also intentionally encourage the drinking of water and provide each child with their own water bottle. No other drinking options are provided.
Spiritual Needs: Our program is Faith-based and Jesus-centered. Teaching the Bible, prayer, worship, and fellowship to the kids is at the center of our gathering and the true heart behind the ministry!
Mental Health Needs: Many of the children in our program struggle with behavioral issues which can stem from a lack of proper cognitive function. Children in our program often associate with PTSD, depression, anxiety, grief, and toxic stress. We are careful to be mindful for our children who struggle and give them the resources we have to help support them.
Emotional Needs: The toll of poverty and social oppression has taken a toll on every single one of the children/youth who come through our program. We give lessons and resources on managing emotions, conflict resolution, and coping mechanisms throughout the year. As well as a major focus on encouragement, leadership development, and gentleness towards their situation.
At Sideways Sunlight we are very aware of the struggles the children in our program face which is why we take a trauma informed approach to our ministry.
"Trauma-Informed Care is an approach in the human service field that assumes that an individual is more likely than not to have a history of trauma. Trauma-Informed Care recognizes the presence of trauma symptoms and acknowledges the role trauma may play in an individual’s life- including service staff. On an organizational or systemic level, Trauma-Informed Care changes organizational culture to emphasize respecting and appropriately responding to the effects of trauma at all levels." (Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care, 2015)