Our mission is pretty clear. We strive to build confidence in kids, specifically kids who have had a health challenge somewhere in their family. We use aviation to do that. Simple, right?
What often surprises me as I get to know the families in our program, is how not simple their lives are. First of all, there are the expected complications from a medical crisis in a family. Those can range anywhere from financial considerations, modifying the living situation, ongoing caretaking needs, grief, school or career disruptions, and more.
Our families navigate all these challenges the best they can, and we accommodate them and their schedules as much as possible. Sometimes that means scheduling them at an odd time of day or a Sunday. It could mean modifying the experience for physical needs. We are happy to be flexible, and so far, have been able to meet our families where they are.
Something that is always touching to me, is how the families are able to put the children first, no matter what else may be going on. Very often, the children are brought in by grandparents. Very often, a parent happily brings a half-sibling or step-sibling of their own child. Sometimes, even cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends come to watch the kids become Courageous Fliers!
The families in our program teach me so much about banding together for children when life is difficult. Everyone forgets about medical bills, complex family history, and more when it is time for a child to jump in our airplane. Everyone is happy to be there and excited for the life-changing experience that is about to happen. At that moment, it really does become as simple as helping children build their confidence.