20 Years with ICC
Updated: Jan 31, 2022
How The Journey Started
In January 2000, there was an opportunity to visit China on an ICC short term trip. Karen’s background as a nurse was a welcome addition to this upcoming team. The funds she needed for this volunteer trip poured in as she shared with others about her adventure.
During her brief time in China, Karen was moved by what she saw at the government welfare centre. “Everything changed for me. I saw children who didn’t have very much at all and the difference that a short two-week trip could make in their lives.”
After a couple more short-term trips with ICC, her heart was set to serve in China. “In January 2002, I made the move halfway across the world to live and work as a long-term volunteer in China.”
“At that time, I thought I would stay in China for five years, and now 20 years later, I am still here!”
Reaching Out To The Vulnerable
For Karen, she felt the work of ICC stood out because “it’s the ones who are not considered valuable in a society that ICC has wrapped arms around and given them love, hope and opportunity.”
She has witnessed the children and young people flourish under ICC’s program. “We have had the privilege of seeing children grow up and become more independent. Some have gotten jobs, others receive vocational training, and others have moved out of our project. Some of our young people now live in the community and have become part of the wider society.”
Growing With The ICC Family
Because of ICC’s family style care philosophy, Karen has seen hearts and attitudes change because of the impacts of small group care. Family style care allows relationships to grow between children and their caregivers. It also allows for more individualized care which helps children meet more milestones. The “ICC Family Impact” was never more evident than during the pandemic and lockdown. Local staff volunteered to stay with the children during lockdown while giving up precious time with their own families to care for ICC children!
“I saw the staff had grown in confidence. For many when they first started it was just a job, but the children have now become part of their family.”
In the broader Changsha community, Karen has seen the city continue to develop, and there are now better living conditions and support for children with disabilities. However, there’s still a lot of work to do. She sees ICC’s mission continue to grow by reaching out to children and helping build a community of supporters walking alongside them.
And her vision for the future of ICC?
“I would love to see strong local leadership and staff who work with confidence. I want to see us reaching out to more families because our Family Partners Program (FPP) is bringing hope, services and supports to isolated families. And there are so many families out there that are yet to be reached.”
Learn more how you can support the work we do at www.aficc.org