“I believe and I trust that even if these babies don't remember anything, they remember the feeling of being loved,” Lauren Schneider said.
This week we are celebrating mom ahead of Mother’s Day.
Lauren Schneider doesn’t have kids of her own but gives families a secure place to turn to in a time of need through Safe Families.
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For Safe Families, the hope is to keep kids out of the foster care system.
Safe Families for Children hosts vulnerable children and creates extended family-like supports for families facing a crisis through a community of compassionate volunteers to keep children safe and families together.
People like Schneider and her husband help by offering a safe place, food and security.
“I have no idea how many kids have been here,” Schneider said.
Her house is always ready for little guests.
“We've had kids for six weeks or we've had kids for a couple of hours, and you never know what you're going to get but if we get that phone call we can always say yes or no,” Schneider said.
Schneider and her husband signed up to volunteer for Safe Families three years ago.
“This is not babysitting, this is not daycare, this is this family desperately needs help and Safe Families is going to come alongside them,” Schneider said. “We have this beautiful home and I love taking care of children and so it just was an easy fit for us.”
Over the last three years more than a dozen kids have been entrusted in their care.
“Since we don't have kids, it is extra special for us and for me and I know for my husband as well especially when we have little boys who you know enjoy golfing or racing or things like that,” Schneider said.
Calling her Lauren, Mom, or Mama Lauren, whether it’s for a few hours or a few weeks, she knows she’s making an impact in their lives.
“I know that we had a small part in that story. We know that we're not going to see necessarily the seeds that we're planting with these littles, but we know that we’ve planted those seeds,” Schneider said.
While they aren’t her own kids, her family and friends celebrate the gift she’s giving the kids in her care.
“For a few years now my husband has gotten me Mother's Day cards that say you know "Happy Foster Mom’s Day” or even “Happy Dog Mom's Day.” And I've had some friends bring over flowers randomly and because they know this is it's wonderful but it's also really hard,” Schneider said.
After three years Schneider said sending the kids back home never gets easy.
“It rips my heart out every time,” Schneider said.
The joy of seeing the kids try new things, have their own bed and feel safe keeps her coming back.
“It's not one experience it's all of them,” Schneider said.
She uses her social media platform @laurenindy on Instagram to get others involved with Safe Families.
She puts the call out for Christmas gifts, diapers, gift cards whatever these families need to get through their tough times and she said the community always answers the call.
“People want to help they just sometimes aren't given the opportunity, or they don't realize that like helping by sending a package of diapers it's a huge blessing,” Schneider said,” “people are literally waiting they're just waiting to be asked they're waiting for it to be easy.”
Safe Families is not foster care. A parent or guardian who utilizes the volunteers and Safe Families is not giving up any of their rights, they are simply reaching out for help.
You can learn more about Safe Families and how to get involved with the program even in a small way by clicking here.