Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sleepless in Oak Cliff??

Things that keep me up at night: Well, actually, NOTHING keeps me up at night, but if I WERE going to be Sleepless in Oak Cliff, here is what would keep me up, in no particular order:
  • Our case managers make home visits--sometimes in pretty rough parts of town.
  • We have new-borns and infants in our care and young mothers who have no idea how to raise them.
  • We have pregnant teens who come to us having had NO prenatal care.
  • We spend a good amount of time transporting kids in five vans--all over the place.
  • Next week, 30 kids and 6 staff are taking a chartered bus to Colorado for a week's stay.
  • Any one of our shelter teens could go OFF at any time--their CPS worker didn't call, their parent didn't come visit, another kid's hair is parted on the wrong side, someone touched them ("He touched me!" "Did not!" "Did too!", "Did not!", etc.)
  • There are over 1,000 teens every night in Dallas who are either on the street or "sofa surfing" (moving from place to place).
  • Like any parent, we wait up for the older transitional living teens to come home from God knows where (they are supposed to be working or in school, but if you have kids, you know how that goes sometimes).
  • We have 15 homeless young mothers and their children living in apartments in the community, pretty much on their own.

And these are just the kid issues! How many liability issues can YOU count??

Luckily, one of the reasons I don't stay up at night, is the incredible competence and dedication of Promise House staff. They see their job as a mission. They do things like: sit beside a young woman in the hospital who is in labor, talk down a really upset shelter teen, rock babies, go buy clothes for a teen who has none, scour the streets looking for homeless teens, go on week-long trips with kids (they deserve a halo!), stay late to get a grant out, work weekends and holidays to make an event perfect, deal with irate parents, spend hours or days helping a teen find a relative to go home to, plan birthday parties for teens who have never had one, come to PH in the middle of the night when lightening has struck, and the list goes on and on.

So, you can understand now why I sleep very well at night. And you can also understand what I mean when I say that whatever a kid needs to grow up well, that is what we do.

And we do it better than anyone else.

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