The first full week of October is Mental Illness Awareness Week. Learn about the importance of providing services to trafficking victims and survivors to help them recover.
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Blair and Verna Corbett left the normal marketplace in their mid forties. They have chosen to use their own childhood experiences, and their faith, to make a difference for God's hurting children. The Corbett's had five children by previous marriages when they married in 1998. They also cared for Ray, Verna's disabled, ½ paralyzed and blind ex-husband and his mother. The new family moved to Florida.
As children go, Blair and Verna had two of "hers," and three of "his," but they still wanted some of "theirs", and their only daughter wanted some sisters. So, in 1999 the Corbett's began adopting from foster care. They chose foster children due to both Corbett parents having lived through their own difficulties from abuse and neglect in their childhood years. They felt this equipped them to give a forever home to children who may not otherwise be considered adoptable. They sought out kids who had mental issues or whatever would make most look at other children instead.
Over the next couple of years they adopted five children, which meant 10 children now lived in their busy little home. The adopted a family of four who were expected to be split up in adoption due to the severity of some of their disabilities. Then they adopted a teen that had previously been abused, fostered, adopted and discarded back to the system. Due to mental and physical challenges the Corbett's knew these children would have otherwise aged out of the foster care system to lives of dire uncertainty.
Verna felt Gods nudge first as she realized He had bigger plans for the family. In 2000 they founded a nonprofit near Gainesville, Florida that would serve young child abuse victims, called Ark of Hope for Children. Their passion was to reach child abuse victims, to help them become strong and "habilitated" survivors. We are rehabilitated when we are given back what we once had. Too many abused children are born into a world of violence and neglect. Hence the Corbett's use the word "habilitated" since the "re" can't be attached until it has first been experienced at least once.
Ark of Hope for Children was impassioned to serve the needs of abused and neglected children, in any way possible. The goal of Ark of Hope has been to "Break the chains of past abuse and lead child abuse victims into lives filled with faith, hope and love." Over the years the Corbett's and Ark of Hope have faced waves of difficulties, successes and awakenings as they have been molded to serve these very deserving children.
Not the least of these difficulties occurred when a "life extending" surgery for Verna in September of 2009, left her at death's door more than once for the next 1 ½ years. You can read about her Verna's "adventure" here. The Corbett family quickly adjusted so older "children" could manage the home while Blair kept Verna willing to fight for life. He stayed with Verna for 98% of her 7 months in and out of various ICU's, hospital floors and nursing homes that acted as rehabilitation centers. By the time they returned home from the final hospital stay in the spring of 2011, the majority of volunteers, board members and funds had withered away. Yet giving up was simply not an option.
Prior to Verna's disabling surgery Blair had built up an expansive internet based network for Ark of Hope for Children. Ark of Hope's social network presence had begun drawing child abuse victims to Blair that needed hope just to carry on. Most had received food and beds, but not the emotional support that would help them not give in to hopeless and suicidal thought patterns. Blair was committed to God to serve abused children in any way, so if this was it, so be it.
In 2008 it was as if God took him up on a previous silent vow Blair had made, "Bring me the worst of the child abuse victims and I will not turn away." A victim of incredibly severe ritual abuse found Ark of Hope on MySpace hoping he had found a truly compassionate place with open ears and hearts. The horrors he had faced physically and sexually for all of his young life, while imprisoned within the bowels a dark "religion," had left him firmly on suicides door step. He was "safe" in a highly protected living arrangement, with food, shelter and medical needs met. But emotionally the boy was beyond starving. His ability to trust any adult was stolen so his need could not be met by traditional means.
Due to the beauty of the internet, Blair's new mentee learned over time that he did not need to face all of the shame and guilt when sharing his past with Blair. On the net, victims are not face to face, which enables them to more easily risk being honest about their past. They know they can just click away if truly necessary. This kind of sharing can be slow or difficult as the mentor must prove he is an adult worthy of the victims trust. Blair had to prove his ability to listen without judgment, without reaction, and with true "unconditional love."
Blair's relationship with this young man flourished throughout Verna's many hospitalizations. They continue in a fully bonded mentor type relationship today. This spawned more mentor relationships from other youth also once held captive and tortured as well. Victims from many other nations and continents have since been emotionally fed by Ark of Hope for Children throughout the United States plus Canada, Brazil, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Ukraine and Australia.
Ark of Hope for Children is incorporating plans for how to reach out to more abused children that are victims of child sex trafficking and bullying. All forms of child abuse leave emotional scars that can destroy fertile young minds.
We are told, "The abused will become abusers."
Ark of Hope boldly asks "Why?"
The answers lie in too few adults reaching out with compassion and unconditional love to "stand in the gap" for broken young lives. They can change. It has been proven. Ark of Hope for Children makes it part of our goals to identify, equip and mobilize selfless individuals, young and old, which will embrace these efforts. These children are our future that we will inherit no matter what. Without proper help many will die due to the abuse. But thousands of others will learn survival skills to make it in this world that will lead to victimizing others, homelessness, welfare, crime, drugs and imprisonment. This is simply not good enough even though our world systems are filled to the brim with these adult victims of child abuse.
Check the statistics, meditate on our goals, then we hope you will partner with us as together we,
"Create a legacy of Hope for abused, trafficked and bullied children worldwide."
Ark of Hope for Children breaks the chains for those victimized as children by human trafficking, child abuse and bullying to lead survivors into lives filled with faith hope and love. We help survivors experience unconditional love, emotional healing and life change. Our programs are meant to equip and empower them to mold the challenges of their past into hope filled futures.
Effective mentoring and emotional healing is taking place for youth from preteen to mid twenties. Even adult survivors of child abuses are finding new hope through Ark of Hope for Children. Rev. Blair Corbett has been applying focused listening techniques online as a survivors coach since 1992.