Meet Allyson, Jonah’s Journey Caseworker
Meet Allyson Greene, Jonah’s Journey Caseworker.
Allyson officially joined the Jonah’s Journey staff in 2014, but Jonah’s Journey has been a part of her own story for many years. When she was a teen, her family became among the first to get involved with the ministry as voluntary caregivers to children in need. As such, she has a unique perspective on the organization and a passion for the mission that’s personal in every way. She currently lives in Cookeville with her husband of 2.5 years, Tyler. We’re so grateful for her enthusiastic addition to the Jonah’s Journey family.
What brought her to Jonah’s Journey:
I’ve known for most of my life that I wanted to work with children, and probably children from hard places, so when the time came to do my college internship for my degree in Child Development and Family Relations, I really planned to look somewhere other than Jonah’s Journey, since I already had experience with it through my family’s involvement. Fortunately, all of my other plans fell through, and when I started doing my internship at Jonah’s Journey I realized I loved it. The Lord just had it worked out perfectly– I graduated from college on Saturday and started working full time for JJ on the next Monday.
What makes her perfect for the job:
Since my parents were caregivers through Jonah’s Journey, I have experienced that side of the journey. My parents began when I was a senior in high school and we developed such a strong relationship with the birth mom. I went almost every week to visit her in prison and even wrote letters to her after I went to college. I remember asking my mom, “How are we going to give him back?” and she would tell me over and over, “He’s not ours, and he never will be ours. He’s the Lord’s.” I can empathize really well with the caregiver families in thinking “I love this child, and therefore I love his or her mother” even when it’s hard to face the reality of the difficult situations.
Her favorite thing about Jonah’s Journey:
I love so many things about Jonah’s Journey! I guess my FAVORITE thing- I just love the whole concept of it. I love how it is the Gospel. I love how we’re getting to love everyone- children, birth mommas who have been written off by so many people…we’re just loving people. We all go through times when we’re hurting and we all need someone to love us, and to see this childlike faith coming about in these women when they realize they can finally trust somebody. I love seeing moms brag on caregivers when those caregivers love them well. Moms know that no matter what, we’re still there for them.
On how the community can be involved:
Obviously our biggest need always is caregivers, and even respite caregivers. One need I see that is becoming very common is some people from the Church to be willing to help find housing solutions for our moms. We have women that are working so hard to find housing, but the market in Nashville right now is tough. Often women are released from prison and just have nowhere to go, so having people rally behind the family with the child and that momma to help meet needs and show love is so important. The more people to love them, the better. And of course prayer- Jonah’s Journey is something that’s great, so Satan is out to steal, kill, and destroy every day. We need people praying on behalf of these children and moms and birth families and caregivers.
To anyone thinking of becoming a Jonah’s Journey caregiver:
Just do it. Don’t worry too much about all the logistics. If you sit and think on it forever, you’ll back out. There are a lot of unknowns. The potential of heartbreak or sadness is there, but the relationship with the moms and children is simply worth it. I don’t know any family who would say “I wish we hadn’t done that.”
To those who wonder how their children will cope, I’d just say that the reason I have such a heart for this is because it was modeled to me in my home. I’m so thankful for my family letting me out of that “bubble” of perceived safety. I’m glad they brought this into my world as a teen. There were times mom and dad would miss a basketball game or a school event, but it was worth it. Don’t be afraid to include your children in this ministry. It’s going to affect your kids, but not in the way you think. They’re going to be world changers one day because this kind of sacrificial love seems natural to them. It affects them in the best type of way. And I personally can say that it’s so sweet to watch the kids learn to love someone. Jonah’s Journey is a part of the mission field that your whole family can participate in.