Across the world, Back2Back staff have faithfully shown up and served vulnerable children for the last 25+ years. As the ministry grows, expanding its reach, depth, and breadth, families have become a top priority at many of the sites. Back2Back longs to see children in loving, safe homes, whether with their biological families or placed with foster/adoptive families. Staff understand that children, and adults, from hard places only heal through consistently safe relationships.
When Back2Back Cincy opened its doors in 2018, Director Chris Cox knew it would look different than the sites who came before it. With no children’s homes in the Cincinnati area, the goal was, and is, to invest in family units, not just the child. Through rehabilitating parents who may have come from similar disparity, Cincy staff saw the possibility for cyclical poverty, incarceration, and trauma to end.
Children and teens take part in after-school programming, summer camps, and weekend activities- building friendship with peers and learning how to regulate and voice their emotions. Their moms, or female guardians, also have programming with other women raising children near them. In their time together, they forge connections, learn new skills, and have fresh experiences together.
2023 has given opportunities for the moms groups to have special outings tailored to foster community and remind each woman they are not in parenting alone. “We know healing happens in relationship,” shared Julie Goetz, Back2Back staff. “Because of this, we want to create space specifically for the moms to form them, and the outings are an easy way to do that.”
So far this year they have had three outings together with three staff members. The first one was to get pedicures. They went to a local nail salon and the idea behind it was illustrating what self-care can look like and how to do it together. “We want to pour into the moms, because they spend so much of their time giving of themselves,” explained Julie.
The second outing was lunch at Bucco de Bepo. They shared a meal around a large circular table and even got to celebrate one of the staff member’s birthdays with a song. “We sang the happy birthday song loudly and with vigor!” laughed Julie. “It was a sweet moment to see women celebrating other women.” Their third trip was to Jungle Jim’s where they got a full tour of the store and the upcoming trip they have will be thrifting for school clothing for their children.
“This is a group of women with similar narratives, a lot of joy, and a desire for connection and investment,” shared Julie. “The outings are just one way for them to grow deeper in their connections and friendships, and we have seen numbers exchanged and heard stories of the women getting together outside of the gatherings. This is why we do what we do.”
As plans are made for future outings and women are understanding of the importance of friendship, Back2Back Cincy asks that you join them in prayer – over the children served, the moms who are raising them, and the communities they’re all building one conversation and connection at a time.