Neighborhood Walk

2019 n09

Esther’s kids walked six blocks to and from school every day. It was less than a mile each way. As a child back in Africa, Esther and her siblings had walked much further without giving it a second thought. There were homes along the way, so Esther never imagined her kids were unsafe.

When a nearby church member (and friend of KIN) saw these two preteens walking alone, however, he knew they weren’t as safe as Esther imagined. He reached out to our parenting and American culture teacher, who quickly put together a set of four lessons on human trafficking and “stranger danger.” Through an interpreter, she revealed statistics of child abduction, the reality of human trafficking and the rules of DCS. She even showed some video clips of how easy it is to snatch a child. Esther and the other parents in the class were shocked!

After the final class meeting, three fathers approached our parenting teacher. Their wives were now walking all the young children to school. Eventually, the community set up a “neighborhood walk” system in which a different parent walked all the children to school each day of the week.

We all wish metro Knoxville neighborhoods were as safe as this African mother's childhood village, but the reality is much different. Thanks to a caring neighbor and a church that was willing to open its doors to nearby internationals, these children are now safe.


There are unimaginable cultural differences between an international's home country and the United States. At KIN, we work to help our new neighbors not just survive but thrive here in Knoxville. Want to be part of this? Sign up to volunteer or donate today to support our on-going programs, such as the parenting classes described above.

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