Join us today for the Saturday Night Special with Caroline Boudreau from The Miracle Foundation...
In this episode Caroline Boudreau for Mother's Day we talk about her ministry and why taking care of OPCs is so important...
In tonight’s Saturday Night Special I ask Caroline to share how her journey into serving orphans and foster children though her ministry began on Mother’s Day. I also ask her to share how her mission has remained the same while it’s still shifted in application as well. I also ask Caroline how you can also make an impact on the world yourself as well.
Join in on the Chat below.
SNS92 Saturday Night Special - Interview with Caroline Boudreau from The Miracle Foundation
[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: [00:00:00] Welcome to tonight's Saturday night, special episode 92, a special mother's day episode.
[00:00:07] Caroline Boudreau: [00:00:07] I'm Caroline Boudreaux. I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence and impact the world by using your time, your talent and your treasure to live out your calling. Having the ability to impact the lives of children is key.
[00:00:23] And one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this inspired stewardship podcast with my friend Scott Maderer.
[00:00:31]we call them OBCs other people's children. Foster care is fine for other people's children. I would never let that happen to my kid or orphanage care is fine for other people's children, but it's not known until we start taking care of other people's children and caring about other people's children.
[00:00:45] The way we care about our own. We're just not going to fix it. So I, in 150 years, I'm hope we're taking care of other people's children that are no, there's no such thing as OPC.
[00:00:55] Scott Maderer: [00:00:55] Welcome. And thank you for joining us on the inspired stewardship podcast. [00:01:00] If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent and your treasures for your true calling in the inspired stewardship podcast.
[00:01:12] We'll learn to invest in yourself, invest in others. And develop your influence so that you can impact the world.
[00:01:21]And tonight's Saturday night special. I asked Carolyn to share how her journey into serving orphans and foster children through her ministry began many years ago on mother's day. I also asked her to share how her mission has remained the same while the application of it has shifted over time as well.
[00:01:40] Carolyn also shares how you can make an impact on the world yourself as well. One reason I like to bring you great interviews. Like the one you're going to hear today is because of the power in learning from others. Another great way to learn from others is through reading books. [00:02:00] But if you're like most people today, you find it hard to find the time to sit down and read.
[00:02:05] And that's why today's podcast is brought to you by audible. Go to inspired stewardship.com/audible to sign up and you can get a 30 day free trial. There's over 180,000 titles to choose from. And instead of reading, you can listen your way to learn from some of the greatest minds out there. That's inspired stewardship.com/audible to get your free trial and listen to great books the same way you're listening to this podcast.
[00:02:37] Caroline Boudreaux is the founder of the miracle foundation.org. Where for the past 20 years, they've been empowering orphans and vulnerable children to reach their full potential. The miracle foundation's revolutionary. Thrive scale methodology is based on the UN rights of the child and leverages data and technology to create a [00:03:00] family for every child.
[00:03:01] In our lifetime to date, miracle foundation has impacted 15,000. Children's lives and it's continuing to grow that number each and every day. Their latest project is foster share a phone app that prevents foster children from bouncing from home to home decreases the dropout rate of foster parents and brings greater stability.
[00:03:25] To the foster care ecosystem. Carolyn is a dynamic global leader whose passion and enthusiasm for helping kids is contagious through her work. She has empowered thousands of orphan children around the world to reach their full potential miracle foundation, actively collaborates with governments, companies, other nonprofits, and local family strengthening organizations to transform systems and give children a voice.
[00:03:54] Welcome to the show. Caroline.
[00:03:56] Caroline Boudreau: [00:03:56] Thanks so glad to be here, Scott.
[00:04:00] [00:03:59] Scott Maderer: [00:03:59] So of course, this episode is coming out right before mother's day tomorrow. And I know that the journey that you had really began in a very real way on mother's day, what'd you talk a little bit about that journey and how you got there and why that led to the founding of the miracle foundation.
[00:04:20] Caroline Boudreau: [00:04:20] Yeah, my mother's day was pivotal and I never saw it coming. And it started about six months earlier in Austin, Texas, my friend, and I both worked at a TV station. There we were, it was pretty lucrative job. It was a great, we were in sales. We were doing really great financially, but. Boy, this corporate world of just making money for the man was a very confusing thing.
[00:04:43]Like we just knew there had to be more to life. So as many of your listeners know, what you do in South, Texas and Texas as you go and you have a margarita after work. So that's what we knew. We went and had margarita after work. And we decided on that trip on that at that happy hour that we would quit our jobs and take [00:05:00] a trip around the world for a year.
[00:05:02] For fun. And so we went back to her house and we spread this world map on the floor and we started picking the countries that we were going to go see on this one year adventure around the world. We wanted to chase summer for one year. She wanted to go to India because she'd been sponsoring a little boy through the Christian children's fund and she wanted to go and meet him.
[00:05:20] And I told her Chris, Oh my gosh, that it's a scam. There's no kid, there's, no kid, but she insisted that she loved him and she got letters from him and she really wanted to go and meet this little boy. So we started our trip in January of 2000. Started in South Africa, worked our way up Africa and in may, about five months in, we get to India.
[00:05:43] And we go to this very remote village on this, on the Eastern side, one state, South of Calcutta in a state called ARESA Odisha now. And we went to this village, we got paraded through this village and at the end of this parade was [00:06:00] this little boy standing there holding the very first picture she'd sent to him four and a half years ago.
[00:06:05]He was real. I couldn't believe it. And he, she, he was getting everything. This organization promised, which was clean water, electric power and free primary education. And so we started working in this village every day. The joke was that we found summer because it was 119 degrees. And so we started going to this village every day and one day the social worker there who spoke English beautifully.
[00:06:27] So we could visit with him a lot, invited us to his house for dinner. It was mother's day in the United States. So I'd gotten up really early in the morning, called my mom for mother's day, went and worked in the 119 degree heat all day, and then went to this guy's house for dinner. And we walked into his house and we walked into his orphanage.
[00:06:46] We were greeted by 110 filthy, bald, hungry, empty looking children. I had never seen anything like it. I was haunted. By what I [00:07:00] saw there. And so we had dinner with them and then we had a beautiful prayer service with them. And then after dinner, we were playing with the children and we were calling them Velcro babies because they were just attaching to us.
[00:07:11]You didn't even have to hold them. They just, they wanted affection so badly, so desperately that they would just push themselves into you. And this little girl came and put her head on my knee and I picked her up and I sang her the same lullaby that my mother used to sing to me. And she fell asleep in my arms.
[00:07:27] And when I went to put her in her crib, I walked into her room and I didn't find a crib. I found 30 wooden beds like picnic tables, these splintered picnic tables. And the minute I put that hungry baby girl on that wooden bed on mother's day, I just thought unacceptable. Who is going to take care of these children and why do they not have enough food?
[00:07:49] Where is their water and where are their parents? And I started the miracle foundation that very day that I just knew that they were a little miracles, their human potential was incredible and that they just [00:08:00] needed a foundation. And that was the beginning of the foundation 21 years ago.
[00:08:05] Scott Maderer: [00:08:05] That was 21 years ago.
[00:08:07] So obviously with anything like this it. It touched your heart. And so you started that, that foundation. What was the purpose or what was the mission of the foundation? When it first started?
[00:08:22] Caroline Boudreau: [00:08:22] I love that question. That was, so it was such an important question for us. When I say us, I mean like my friends and family, we really talked about it because there was this opportunity to bring food to a million children and we could have fed a million children, but I had such good parents and I had, I had so much love.
[00:08:40] Poured onto me all my life. And I thought, what did they give me? And what they gave me, Scott was they gave me the opportunity to reach my potential. And that is what we decided at miracle foundation. We would do for children who weren't with their parents is that we would enable them to reach their full potential.
[00:08:56] So that was our mission in 2000. And that's our mission [00:09:00] today that we empower orphans and vulnerable children to reach their full potential.
[00:09:05] Scott Maderer: [00:09:05] And so that, that mission has stayed the same, but walk us through a little bit of, when you started the focus was on orphanages. And of course, there's different avenues come up as you go through it and different changes that come out.
[00:09:22] But. Could you talk a little bit about the evolution of that and what are some of the newer things that you're continuing to do as it grows and evolves and expands and makes bigger and bigger impacts. Yeah,
[00:09:33] Caroline Boudreau: [00:09:33] the evolving is the right word. So really actually, when we first started, the first thing we did was we were an international adoption agency.
[00:09:40] So that was the first thing I was like, let's just get them over here and let's just get parents. That was the original idea. And when I went to India, the second time I visited a bunch of different orphanages and I realized, wait a minute, we might be able to adopt 20 children a year. What about all of these other [00:10:00] kids?
[00:10:00]Who cares about them? Where's their, where's the work around them. And so we shifted to improving the standards of care and orphanages. And when I was in television, I worked with so many franchises and I learned the franchise methodology where you just, every orphanage has the same.
[00:10:16] Chart of accounts. They have the same food. They need all the education, they all need healthcare. They all need housemother. They all needed the same things. So we put together a franchise model for existing orphanages, and we would go into existing orphanage orphanages and raise the standard of care in those existing orphanages.
[00:10:33] And it was a great model, very successful. We were in 300 orphanages, 15,000 children. I It was, and they were really doing well. But like you do, you, I went on a listening tour in 2016 and I started, I just met with a bunch of kids and I just started hearing from them and as great as those orphanages were, and they were great orphanages.
[00:10:55] They were, they did not want to be there. They want it to be with a [00:11:00] family. They had grandparents, they had aunts, they had cousins, they had older sisters. They had people that would take care of them, but the money was going to the orphanage. How could we shift? And so we, we really started listening to the children and we knew that no matter how great we did, we were never going to get to the nefarious orphanages.
[00:11:19] We were never going to get to the ones that didn't want help, that we were only the best of the best. And so we shifted our mission and not our vision, but our mission in 20 in 2017 to make a goal of a family for every child that we could really figure out the most sustainable way to take care of children was to help them with a family.
[00:11:39]And some of the orphanages we were working with one particular orphanage all girls orphanage run by all women. They were having their hundred year anniversary and they were depressed by it. Like a hundred years, when are we going to get to root? Cause it was a real aha moment.
[00:11:55] I was there for the celebration and they weren't even, and the. The analogy, [00:12:00] if you will, is, if you see a baby drowning in the river, you're going to jump in the river and save the baby. That's just what you're going to do. And then you see another baby drowning in the river and you saved that baby.
[00:12:11] And then all these babies are in the river and you're just going to stay in the river and keep saving the babies. And you get so busy doing that work that you never look up at the bridge and see the guy throwing them in. And that was what was happening. That's what's happened for so long with people supporting orphanages.
[00:12:27] We have to, at some point get to the root cause we have to go to the top of the bridge and figure out why these kids are entering the system in the first place. And that's where we are today. We are at the top of the bridge and we're doing two things. We're reintegrating children. That are in the system.
[00:12:43] So kids that are in institutions or getting them back home with a family member, this is kinship care. We're supporting the kids, the families, the way we were supporting the orphanages, but a lot less than for a lot less time. And then the second thing we're doing is we're working with social workers, the social workforce [00:13:00] across the country to ensure that children never enter the system in the first place to make sure that prevention and that's the name of the game.
[00:13:07] And so we have definitely evolved. I think the secret to evolution. And in the nonprofit world is three things. Number one, don't be afraid to pivot that you're your constituency is your children. It's not the donor. The donors really do like things that are nice and measurable. Our donors love that improving standards of care that we're all in a box.
[00:13:27] We can measure their height, their weight. We knew everything. They love that. But that's not our constituency. So to make sure you're always working to the people that you're working for, which in our case is the kids. Number two. As long as the mission doesn't change, as long as you are empowering children to reach their full potential, people will follow.
[00:13:44] People will come. It's really awesome. And then the third thing is that nonprofits really should be trying to put ourselves out of business. We should not be in perpetual work here. We should really be trying to put ourselves out of business. So the evolution has been awesome. And [00:14:00] technical, but really worth it
[00:14:02] Scott Maderer: [00:14:02] well, and some of the things that come to mind there is, and the nonprofit world and quote unquote, the for-profit world are different, but they're also not, in, in that, at the end of the day, it's still, there's still a mission.
[00:14:18] There's still values. There's still execution or at least on both of them should have that. And at the same time, No, they're also both focused on solving a problem and integrating solutions and all of these sorts of things. The interesting thing is that y'all pivoted, but like you said, you pivoted it around the execution, not the core mission, not the real values.
[00:14:41]Y'all stayed centered in what was the values from the beginning. It looked at, but how do we actually implement this? So how did that also change your focus in terms of. Yeah. Are you still, mainly in India? Is this now more global? Is it, how did that part of [00:15:00] it changed? Because obviously at the beginning, when you're focused on the orphanage is a lot of y'all's work was into India, correct?
[00:15:06] Caroline Boudreau: [00:15:06] Yeah. We still are focused in India. However, because we are a measurement company, we really do know how to measure. Our success. We know how to measure the, w what we do with families, we measure how they're doing with their families, how they're doing with mental health, how they're doing with education.
[00:15:21] And we have these measurement tools that we use, like a franchise would do. We had these measurement tools and those measurement tools have spread around the world. And that's really incredible. The other thing we do is everything that we do is on an app. We have the, we use technology to make things easier for the social workers that we deploy.
[00:15:38]Around the country. And what we found is that in the United States, the units, the United States foster care system was not connected. They weren't know it's not digital, it's still analog. And so we have started working in the United States. Now we've partnered with the state of Texas and some amazing nonprofits in the state of Texas to put everything in an app [00:16:00] for foster families to make their life easier and case managers to make their life easier.
[00:16:05] Scott Maderer: [00:16:05] Because at the end of the day, again, when we get back to placement problems Orphanages, kids being quote in the system, whatever that looks like. That's not just in India, that, because again I have so experience with my personal family and of, being foster parents and kinship placement and non kinship placement, both, in.
[00:16:26] One connection is to somebody where it was a kin placement. And one is where they're out of a kinship and now been adopted by family members. And, I've seen firsthand some of the challenges that come either being a foster parent or being a kin placement, either one. And going through the legal system, going through the court system, going through all of those things that happen when you're in that system.
[00:16:53]And it becomes very challenging for people
[00:16:57] Caroline Boudreau: [00:16:57] yeah. For people. And of course the children who are suffering [00:17:00] trauma every time there's placement, every time there's a quote unquote placement that equals trauma. For a child. And, at some point we are going to have to start taking stock in what we're doing to children when we move them over and over again.
[00:17:12] So yeah that's one of the big things we're trying to work. We're trying to support foster families and case managers in the United States so that they can support these families so they can take care of children.
[00:17:21]Scott Maderer: [00:17:21] And I, to be clear, I would actually consider the placement experiences that I've seen as.
[00:17:27] Positive ones, and they were still difficult, in other words, they both went with the kin, it they've stayed with the same person. There. Wasn't a lot of changes. There are working to finalize the adoption, which is its own challenge. And then in the other, again, it was, they, there, one of them had only been placed.
[00:17:48] They that they're still with their first placement, if that makes sense. So in other words, they haven't been moved multiple
[00:17:52] Caroline Boudreau: [00:17:52] times. Exactly. That's what we're talking about. This Mo yeah, the average child moves seven times, seven times, seven times. So when [00:18:00] I hear about a case where they don't move around.
[00:18:01]Scott Maderer: [00:18:01] So if we let's broaden this a little bit, because not everyone is going to hear your mission and say, I want to. I want to also do this kind of work with the children, but in general, if someone hears your mission and they think to themselves, I feel the same calling or are things on my heart that I want to make a dent in the universe.
[00:18:22] I want to change something for the better, whatever that is. It may be around children. It may be around education. It may be. Around a business idea. I don't know. What are some of the top principles that you think people need to step back and focus on or learn or develop so that they can begin to identify their mission and live that out into the world?
[00:18:44]Caroline Boudreau: [00:18:44] Certainly urgency. If there is a call on someone's heart, I'm saying, jump in tomorrow. It is so important that this sense of urgency, I find it lacking. I find it lacking, and if you're a kid, days are long, if you're a kid, [00:19:00] so we really need to have that sense of urgency.
[00:19:02] It's so important. The second thing is if you have a calling to help somebody, there to differentiate what makes you feel good and what matters, the difference between a present and a present? Okay. A present is something we'd like to maybe give and a present is something that like, you like to present.
[00:19:20] So it feels really good. To put the food in the mouth of a hungry baby. There is a powerful, fulfilling thing, right? I would have loved to have done that, but that was not the most useful path that is not how I'm going to solve the problem feels good to me. Love it, but that's not, what's going to solve the problem, getting to root cause backing people that are getting to root cause is the second thing.
[00:19:45] And so while it feels really good to volunteer and people want to show up and volunteered, like I said, put the hand, put the food in the mouth of the baby. That's awesome. Doesn't change. It's not going to work at the end of the day. It's not going to work. So efficacy is number two. Urgency is number one.
[00:19:58] Efficacy is [00:20:00] number two. And then the third thing is investment money is the engine that drives this. Mission. It drives every mission. The most impactful way to help any non-profit is to donate monthly donations. I know exactly how much money I'm going to bring in every month. I know how many kids I can say yes to.
[00:20:19] I can budget against that. The biggest difference from going through from the corporate world to the non-profit world is not knowing how much money you were going to bring in it. I really did not know how to operate for a couple of years because. 30% of our money was coming in at the end of, at the end of December when everybody was finally thinking about philanthropy, right?
[00:20:38] Yeah. If we thought about philanthropy, if we thought about our health, the way we think about philanthropy, we would all be almost dead. Yeah. We got to think about our philanthropy and I'm saying monthly, so don't make it an easy goal. Stretch a goal. Think of a number, add a zero to it. You will not out-give you will not.
[00:20:55] Out-give God, you will not out generosity him. Urgency, [00:21:00] efficacy and investment.
[00:21:02] Scott Maderer: [00:21:02] Awesome. So now we're going to ask some of the easy questions. He says jokingly. Let's say that I invented a machine that could take you through time, a hundred to 150 years into the future. And you were able to look back on your life.
[00:21:20] What's the impact that you hope you've had on the world?
[00:21:25] Caroline Boudreau: [00:21:25] Oh, wow. That is a hard question.
[00:21:26]Know we want a family for every child. That's not that hard to ask, but if every child had a family that cared about them, we would solve so many problems upstream. We really wouldn't have the addiction problems we have today. We wouldn't have the overcrowding and prison problem that we have today. We wouldn't have the, that.
[00:21:47] We would just wouldn't have some of the same problems we have today. If we went and started taking care of children. Early. And so obviously a family for every child is what I would like. And then the other thing is, what does it say [00:22:00] about us as human beings? When we don't take care of other people's children, we call them OBCs other people's children.
[00:22:05]Foster care is fine for other people's children. I would never let that happen to my kid or orphanage carries fine for other people's children, but it's not know until we start. Taking care of other people's children and caring about other people's children, the way we care about our own, we're just not going to fix it.
[00:22:20] So I, in 150 years, I hope we're taking care of other people's children. There's no such thing as OPC.
[00:22:27] Scott Maderer: [00:22:27] So what's coming next for Carolyn and for your mission, as you continue on this journey to living after call and making an impact on the world. What are y'all working on next?
[00:22:38] Caroline Boudreau: [00:22:38] We see the end of institutionalized care by 2040.
[00:22:41]I can totally see the end. There won't be orphanages on the planet by 2040. That those things that will be a thing of the past prevention work will be so strong that children, before they ever enter the system. Neighbors and youth led initiatives and community impact initiatives will be taking the place.
[00:22:59] Neighborhoods, [00:23:00] churches will be taking the place of orphanages and foster care. We see children not in orphanages anymore by 2040, and the future's really bright. This, 2020 was a great reset for a lot of people. And the future is we've had more support than ever before because people understand the digital divide.
[00:23:18] They understand that children need our help. They feel very grateful. And so it's just been amazing. So the future and Scott, what's interesting is we're not tired. Yeah, we've been doing this 21 years. We are as charged and passionate as ever before. It's just so exciting what's happening.
[00:23:36] And then the coolest thing is, that little girl that I've put on that wooden bed that night and she's in nursing school. She's gonna be fine. You know that we have kids that are graduated from college. Now we have engineers, we have social workers, we have accountants, all these children that we've been working with all these years.
[00:23:53] Are coming of age and they're saying, how do we help? What w how can we support? And of course, they're spokespeople. It's good.
[00:24:00] [00:24:00] Scott Maderer: [00:24:00] You can follow Caroline and the miracle foundation over on Twitter as the miracle found or find her on the, her email@example.com.
[00:24:11] Of course, they're also on Instagram and Facebook. Instagram is the miracle foundation and Facebook as the miracle foundation dot. Org, the foundation is also active on LinkedIn at miracle foundation and on YouTube as well. Of course I'll have links to all of that over in the show notes. Carolyn, is there anything else that you'd like to share with the listener?
[00:24:32] Caroline Boudreau: [00:24:32] No, I think it's good. I appreciate everybody listening. And like I said, that sense of urgency is really critical. So if they ever wanted to make a big difference, now's the time.
[00:24:41] Scott Maderer: [00:24:41] And I'll add ha happy mother's day to all of the mothers that are listening tomorrow as well.
[00:24:47] Caroline Boudreau: [00:24:47] Thanks. Yeah. Happy mother's day.
[00:24:49]Scott Maderer: [00:24:49] Thanks so much for listening to the inspired stewardship podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively [00:25:00] listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoy this episode. Please do us a favor. Go over to inspired stewardship.com/itunes rate.
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We call them OPC's Other People's Children. Until we start taking care of OPCs and taking care of them the way we take care of our own we aren't going to fix orphanages and foster care. - Caroline Boudreau
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