Victoria Cloonan understands how difficult it can be to raise a child and through her experiences, she’s learned just how important having a support system is. But the majority of the families we serve through Safe Families for Children lack a healthy community of support to turn to, but that’s where our host families and people like Victoria step in.
“People ask me all the time how I can care for a child that’s not mine… the truth is… I really can’t remember a time that I have not cared for children that aren’t mine. The thing about children, that so many people don’t see, is that they are really quite simple. They only require love, nurture, and nourishment.”
Victoria has been a host parent in Collier County since 2016 and has been able to be part of a network of care that meets not only the physical needs of children but also their emotional and spiritual needs too.
“It literally takes a village to raise a child. Some parents don’t have their own village for various reasons. God blessed me with an abundant village of both blood and otherwise. I want to share my village. I want to share the love. If a child feels loved and supported, if they feel their life has a purpose, they will prosper and become the people this world needs.”
She knows that even though she hosts these children for a short time, the impact is forever.
“It’s nearing the end of my time with Cayden, but all that means is that he won’t be sleeping at my house anymore. When he came to stay with us, he was scared, he spoke very few words, but now he’s a social butterfly. He says hi to every stranger he meets and speaks his wants clear as can be. He’s potty training and proud of his own accomplishments. It will be hard not seeing him every day, sure, but Cayden now has his very own village. A vast number of lives that love him and will be there for him for the rest of forever – and his mommy and daddy have the village too. We’re all here. Forever.”
Through dedicated volunteers like Victoria, Safe Families for Children Southwest Florida has been able to become a support system for more than 460 children since 2015. We are currently in need of at least 30 new host families to help us step up and meet the current demand for care in Southwest Florida. If you’d like to learn more about our #30families30days campaign and how you can help, contact us here.