Volunteer Spotlight: Sydney

Weekends find Sydney McMillen and her husband—both Wisconsin natives–skiing, climbing, and hiking in the Colorado mountains. Seeking a weeknight volunteer opportunity after work (at Compassion International), Sydney pursued FLS for its unique impact on families leaving homelessness.

Sydney is a gem. For over a year, with a smile as warm as the Carhart beanie she sports, she faithfully contributes to Families Building Futures on Monday evenings, making an impact indeed with her approachability and insight.

Beyond her passion to serve kids, Sydney, a resident of the southwest side, sought strategically to volunteer at a local ministry near her Old Colorado City community—one which supports the goals of parents in crisis. “FLS provides a safe place for kids and moms, a unique opportunity to show single moms that their parenting is still the best thing for their child—and that we believe in them. I want to support each mom’s goals for her children by providing an extension of the love she wants to give them.” Sydney values FLS for its compassionate approach to each child’s faith journey. “Given the power dynamics and backgrounds of the kids, FLS makes sure kids feel safe, not forcing faith on them, but creating space for spiritual conversations.” The stable weekly presence of faith-filled volunteers opens opportunities for kids to give voice to their questions. One evening while Sydney bounced & rocked a fussy baby, a teenage girl sat down near her, casually picking up a children’s Bible nearby. Feeling at ease, the teenager expressed quietly, “The Bible is confusing to me…..”

“It’s okay to be confused,” Sydney gently replied, “Jesus loves you unconditionally.”

Sydney’s steadfast commitment to show up each Monday evening means she’s entrusted not only with teens’ musings, but also with affection from “the littles.” Fussy babies grow calm in her arms, one year-olds now reach for her, and a special needs child anticipates their personal weekly game (Sydney calls it “Squish”) of pressing silly faces, mirroring each other’s expressions, on opposing sides of a glass pane that separates sections of the enchanting third floor playroom. It took time & patience for trust to grow, but the sensory nature of “Squish” bonds these two.

Stacy Cox, Child & Youth Coordinator, praises her devotion: “Sydney blesses both kids and adults with her quiet leadership & warm spirit. She’s gifted in finding innovative ways to make sure each one feels special, seen, supported, & celebrated, and I’m truly grateful for her ongoing dedication.”

Sydney encourages anyone seeking to invest in kids or moms at FLS: “Giving two hours of your week might feel like ‘giving up’ something, but in making kids’ lives better, you’re blessing moms and making families’ lives better– and you receive so much more in return. My husband agrees–he’s so grateful FLS exists in our community because it plays such an important role!”

Our staff and supporters are so grateful for you, Sydney, for the important role YOU play in helping moms build new futures!

 

 

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