January is the time I sit down and set goals for the coming year. I should probably do this in December, but with all the things that go on then it just isn't practical for me. Not only do I try to set personal goals, but Need Project also works on goals for our ministry. It can be difficult to decide what we can accomplish in a year, with so many variables out of our control. What will the economy do? Will donations be up or down for the year? Last year fires and floods changed a lot of what we were able to get done. All we can do is lay out our dreams, outline the biggest ways we hope we can make a difference, and then realistically assess the probability of accomplishing those goals this year. We have big dreams, many of which are in the process of becoming reality and will take many years to be realized. But if we break these goals down into smaller pieces, maybe we can reach them sooner than if we wait to achieve everything at once.
The first of our goals this year is to reach out to dads in greater numbers. In many families Dad is the breadwinner; perhaps he doesn't spend quite as much time around the kids as Mom. This doesn't mean he isn't struggling to provide for his family and be a leader. As a dad, I know we deal with things differently than our wives, but we need support and connection with others just as they do. We created "3 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me" just for dads, and we want to get it into the hands of dads who may be in need of encouragement. We want to tell them they aren't alone, that other dads have been through the same things they're going through and are there for them. Our goal is to get 1000 printed copies into the hands of these dads.
Second, one of the goals of Need Project from the start has been to support families. When parents of special needs kids are surveyed, isolation is a topic that comes up very often. Many parents feel they are the only ones in their situation, and don't feel any connection with others because they are dealing with things their neighbors and friends don't understand. Our Parents Helping Parents project aims to interview parents about the situations they face and the struggles they are dealing with, helping other parents break free from isolation. Everyone's circumstances may be a little different, but raising a child with disabilities is not something anyone has to face alone. Telling the stories of parents who have navigated these experiences successfully will provide helpful information for other parents as well as encourage them by proving that there are those who have gone before. This year we are thrilled to have entered into a partnership that will help us get this project off the ground. We are so excited to see this initiative evolving and hope to announce more about it soon!
Third, we have come to understand over the years that the best way to support those with special needs is to connect them to the local community. Supporting the local church or family organization is the most effective way to provide families with a strong foundation. Our outreach through the Church is especially crucial, fulfilling the Christian mandate to minister to those in need. Our community program gives tools to the local community to be able to speak to those with special needs and tell them they care and support them. Expanding this program to new areas of the country is one of our highest priorities. We are working in the Dallas area as well as in other communities and are excited to see how the tools we provide can be a blessing to more and more people.
Of course, our ability to achieve all of these goals depends on so many different factors, but the thing we need most is your help. We need your prayers! It is not possible for us to accomplish anything without God sustaining us the whole way. We need your involvement: we are a volunteer organization. That means we need more hands helping to get these tasks done. We all have talents we can offer, and we need yours to reach out to those we are called to help! We also need your financial support. All of this goal setting will be meaningless if we don't have the ability to reach those in need. We look forward to giving progress reports every month about the amazing opportunities God is opening up for us, and we hope you feel the same excitement we feel about the coming year.