by: Ashley West
Half way across the world stands a big, beautiful, blue building filled with some of the most precious kids. Maria’s Big House of Hope in Luoyang, China was the host site for our first study abroad trip this past summer. We took a group of 16 students and 3 staff to visit Maria’s and learn how they are moving towards implementing Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®). Maria’s is a Care Center run by Show Hope that strives to provide loving and attentive care for children with acute medical and special needs.*
Over the course of twelve days our students experienced the beautiful juxtaposition of the hardships the children under care at Maria’s face and the joy that emanates from every child there. Alongside their full time caregivers, our students intentionally engaged and connected with each child. Our main goal was to encourage what was already happening in the care center and more often than not, it looked like a lot of fun and play! We sang, played with blocks and even threw an animal themed birthday party!
We also had the opportunity to visit two other care centers in China and see firsthand how TBRI looks different in each setting. Our students had the opportunity to see TBRI at work first hand and to understand that it is hard work to implement. When we weren’t engaging directly with the children, we spent some time learning about best practices for caring for children from hard places. We talked about being mindful in how we help so that every person involved benefits.
While our time at Maria’s was undoubtedly the highlight of our time in China, we also had a chance to visit a few national treasures like the Terra Cotta Warriors and the Great Wall. Our guide in BeiJing shared that when you step onto the wall you are considered a hero. We are so grateful and proud of our students who took a step and traveled with us to China. These students and the children we had the chance to love and serve, are heroes, just like everyone who chooses to step foot into the life of a child from a hard place.
*For more information visit https://showhope.org/our-work/care-centers/