Mikayla is a Living Symbol of Hope as She Pays it Forward

When you help today, children with extraordinary needs are blessed.

You wouldn’t know it today, but as a small child, Mikayla endured her mother’s death, father’s incarceration, and the passing of a loving grandfather who cared for her. At the age of 7, she came to live at Thornwell when no one else in her family was able to care for her.

You and I can only imagine how hard that must have been for anyone, let alone a 7-year-old child. But to hear Mikayla share her story, she was able to enjoy a life on campus that included summers filled with fun! Now Mikayla has come ‘full circle’ and is a Thornwell summer counselor—serving others whose pain she knows all too well.

As we approach summer—one that is likely different from any in recent history—the staff at Thornwell are preparing summer activities for children living on campus that are fun and engaging.

You can provide vulnerable children with loving care, therapy, and summer enrichment activities that are critical to healing for children in need. Will you join me in giving to support a child who deserves a life filled with love and kindness?

Thanks to friends like you, Mikayla was met with loving care and a safe, family-like home. To this day, she stays in touch with the Family Teachers who raised her at Thornwell!

These same loving Family Teachers shepherded her. They took Mikayla to church and showed her what it means to follow and love God. After she endured two failed adoptions, she met her small group leader at church who would later become her forever family at the age of 18.

Today, she’s a junior in college and a competitive collegiate cross-country runner, earning a degree in psychology to become a Christian counselor. She would tell you that if it weren’t for Thornwell and caring people like you, she wouldn’t have had a second chance.

Your gift today creates permanent, lasting change for children just like Mikayla.

She fondly recalls the beach trips, lake days, bible studies, and recreational activities that made her feel “normal.” You give kids like Mikayla a second chance to heal, find hope, and discover who God created them to be.

Your giving multiplies blessings to children on campus today…Mikayla calls it her way of ‘paying it forward!’ This summer will be her fourth year as a camp counselor at Thornwell’s Momentum Summer Camp. It’s at Thornwell, she says, that kids from hard places have a chance to be kids.

Thank you for your faithful commitment to support our mission. You are giving to help children now and the ones who will stay connected and return to share the love of God they first experienced at Thornwell.

Our staff has responded to these humbling times with creativity and grit —making us stronger than ever. Because you care, children at Thornwell will continue to have fun, meaningful summers that last a lifetime!

Thank you for believing that all children, especially those who have endured hardships beyond belief, deserve a chance to be kids.

When someone like you steps in, we’re able to provide relief from trauma that happens to kids like Mikayla all too often. A summer filled with fun adventures, friendships, and a renewed hope in faith is something Thornwell can provide when you join us in giving.

by Rev. Elliot M. Smith, President

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