Step In Step Up
Updated: Jan 28, 2022
By Alicia B.
Kinship is my life. It is literally how I was raised. Until I learned what that word meant—like the Golden Rule, treat others as you want to be treated—it was just how things were done.
To me, Kinship is defined as “helping those who help others.”
As a Kinship provider, it is simply doing what is right: stepping into a situation to shine a little light in a darkened time of someone else’s life. We all have our dark days now and then, but knowing that you are not alone can be a “make it or break it” moment for a person. And knowing that you have someone willing to lend a hand or even just call is a blessing.
My mother had me when she was 18 years old, in a tight-knit community in Maine. We grew up living together in a Kinship household with my grandma. She is the reason I am who I am today. Her willingness to step in and step up in the
role of caretaker spoke volumes to the happiness of my childhood. Her strength and resilience to stay positive, even in tough, times has built me into the happy-go-lucky, optimistic person I am today. It truly takes a village.
Throughout my life, I have experienced many different living situations. Being one of fourteen kids, we moved around a lot, staying with family-friends, aunts and uncles, new co-workers, co-habilitating with them until we found a place of our own. Each of these living situations can be considered Kinship arrangements. And in them I have met some of the most wonderful, kind-hearted individuals, especially when we lived in the campground—just a big ol’ Kinship family living in the woods. We shared food, told stories, and looked after each other as if we were all related, which were. Related by circumstance.
And now, as a Kinship Navigator myself, I have the honor of assisting those that care for the wellbeing of others as so many of my friends and family have done for me in the past. It’s a chance for me to give back to my community and to support individuals with prominent needs in our area. I am blessed and honored to be part of something making such a difference.
Have a KINSHIP STORY of YOUR OWN? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear how you used YOUR VOICE to meet your family’s needs.