Three older girls run up to Matt as he gets out of his truck. “When is the next family fun night?!” they ask excitedly. He laughs, “Not this weekend, but soon!” They run off to finish their math lesson, and Matt smiles to himself as he follows behind.
Since December of last year, Back2Back staff Matt Ellis and Wadson Delvar have hosted family fun nights at Jesus Name Children’s Home. “The idea came from nurture group discussions,” explained Wadson. “We discuss how we treat each other, whether we are treating each other the way Jesus would want us to, and how we can improve.” Staff at Jesus Name Children’s Home hope to provide a feeling of family to the children, encouraging honest conversation and support of one another.
Four to five times a year, Wadson’s family, Matt’s family, Isaiah’s family, the home’s director, join the children and caregivers for an evening of fun, food, and connection. “We each bring a meal to share with the children,” explained Matt. “We eat dinner together, and we play games and talk throughout all of it.” The family fun night serves both the families and the children, while giving the dedicated caregivers time to rest.
“Our last time together, we talked about the concept of family and why it’s important,” shared Wadson. “We may not be biological family, but we cry together, laugh together, eat together, and play together, and these things make us like family.”
Matt and Wadson can see changes in how the children interact with each other and with Matt and Wadson, as a result of the family fun nights. “The children approach me on their own now,” shared Matt. “We are building rapport and trust in fresh ways.”
As their families prepare for the next fun night, the children are recognizing the adults in their life are safe and trustworthy.