Meet Christy Johnston, Home Study Specialist
Meet Christy Johnston, Jonah’s Journey Home Study Specialist.
Christy has been with Jonah’s Journey for 2.5 years. Having grown up in the Nashville area, she loves being able to serve the community that she knows so well. Christy resides in Goodlettsville with her husband of 15 years, John, and their son Graycen (10) and daughter Kara (7). Christy actually studied criminal justice in college, so her road to Jonah’s Journey was not quite as obvious as some of our other staff, but we’re so glad she’s found her place in the Jonah’s Journey family.
What brought her to Jonah’s Journey:
I worked for the state of Tennessee in the department of children’s services for fifteen years, primarily with at-risk or delinquent teenagers. Through the years, I began to see the children of teens I’d worked with come through the system, repeating the same mistakes their parents had made. I was drawn to the ministry of Jonah’s Journey, because it seemed like a way to help stop that cycle of children repeating the mistakes of their parents. Obviously, no mom is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes, but Jonah’s Journey provides such a strong support system for women whose children are placed with us. The faith-based environment of Jonah’s Journey was so awesome to me, and I love to see caregiver families openly sharing the gospel with the mothers of the children they care for.
What makes her perfect for the job:
While I do have the career experience needed for a home study specialist, I’d really say this job is perfect for me; the support system we have at Jonah’s Journey is just such a blessing. Watching the caregivers be there for each other, carrying each other through the difficult times and rejoicing together in the good times, and to know that people really do care is just such a great environment. One thing I really enjoy is going out and talking to people about Jonah’s Journey, and just sharing the effects this ministry has on the mothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and really the whole family of a child in our care. It’s so great to watch caregivers pour into an entire family and share the love of Christ with them.
Her favorite thing about Jonah’s Journey:
I love seeing the support for each other between our staff and caregivers. I don’t see families as often as their caseworkers do, but the support is tangible, even through things like our Facebook page. Seeing the families come together to help each other and help the mothers of the children they care for is amazing. Whether it’s providing physical items, resources, or praying for each other, someone is always available.
On how the community can be involved:
I think the obvious answer is to become a caregiver, but we know that’s not for everyone. I love seeing the “empty nesters” get involved- retired schoolteachers, grandparents…we need everyone! One thing I’d love to see our community do is help offer resources for mothers who are being reunited with their children. So often these women are starting completely over, and don’t even have the basic necessities. Something as little as a gift basket with toiletries and basic household items can help give them the confidence they need to get back on their feet and be great moms to their children.
To anyone thinking of being a Jonah’s Journey caregiver:
Taking care of the child is the easy part, but Jonah’s Journey caregivers believe in showing compassion to that child’s mother as well. If you don’t have a heart for the biological family, things will be difficult. Our goal is reunification, but there aren’t fairytale endings in real life. When a mom is reunited with her child, she often still relies on the emotional support of Jonah’s Journey caregivers to help her through hard times and encourage her. If you’re considering becoming a caregiver, you need that support from your community as well. Attend an interest meeting or panel discussion and hear from our current caregivers about their experiences so your expectations are realistic. Reach out to everyone in your church, small group, or neighborhood and ask them to commit to praying for you, and providing respite care and emotional support on your journey. Having the emotional and physical support from other believers is so important.