Cherish Life Program
In the beginning Cherish operated more or less as a traditional orphanage, with children living on-site in family-style homes. At the time we thought this to be the best way forward for abandoned HIV+ children. We started to realize the very limited success of this model as children started to “age out”. This challenged us to look for a better way. As we started looking deeper into the lives of the children in our care we found that many had family members. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, and in some cases even a parent. Very quickly we realized a new way forward. A way that moved kids out of an institution and into a family – their family. As good of an institution as we strived to be, we were not a family.
Cherish Life Program was birthed to walk alongside of these families. We endeavor to resource families as they take up their God-given responsibility to raise the children God has given to them. Partnership is the lens we look through in every situation. We do not exist to raise children. We exist to partner with families
as they raise their children. We want to promote dignity and responsibility, not dependence. We work with families in teaching them how to disciple their children. We desire families to know God deeper, parent well and manage their resources responsibly. We truly cherish life and yearn for families to do the same as we encourage and strengthen them through the process of raising children that learn to live out the gospel in their world. We have reunified almost all of the children that used to call Cherish home with a blood relative. There are some family situations that are just not safe, and in some situations there is not a family member to be found. In an effort to give those children the best opportunity to grow up as healthy as possible we have placed those children in a foster family. The foster families have melded these children into their own family and a child who has no family of their own has the next best thing.
At Cherish we exist to build a hope and a future for children living with HIV and we are convinced it happens best in the context of family.