Friday, April 13, 2012

Fourteen Years

So, besides being tax day, April 15 is my anniversary with Promise House.

Fourteen (14) years, 11 of which I have served as President. I started in April of 1998. Leslie was 8 years old, Kat was 18. I used to pick Les up from school and bring her to PH for the afternoon. We barely had computers, had no email, no computer games, iPads, or iPhones, so she amused herself drawing and messing up my office.

1998 was Kat's senior year at Arts Magnet. We were busy finishing college apps and waiting nervously for acceptance letters. She had done Senior Showcase, and probably Prom by that time. Her graduation was one of the coolest I've ever attended----a little over a month after my first day at PH.

Fourteen years. I cannot get my head around it. WHERE has the time gone?

Funny, I don't gauge my time at PH so much by the milestones there, but by personal milestones, primarily of my girls. And my mind stays boggled at what 14 years has brought.

Leslie went through elementary, middle, and high school, graduating with top honors from Bishop Dunne and is now 21 and a junior at The University of Texas at Austin, majoring in photojournalism.

Kat graduated from Arts, then Austin College, moved to Austin, met Dan, fell in love, got married, and promptly moved to London for graduate school in theatre. She is now back in Austin with her own non-profit theatre company serving incarcerated women.

And me? Well, I stayed the course, cheering them on (and, yes, sometimes living vicariously through them), keeping the home fires burning, visiting them in weird places, keeping the animals alive (mostly), and becoming the "older generation" in our neighborhood.

But what ABOUT Promise House? My other child, as some would say. What has 14 years brought? Well, email for one thing, and great computers, iPhones, and up-to-date technology. They have brought new programs, ended others, borne mighty struggles for survival, and witnessed unprecedented highs. They have brought awards, disappointments, great joys, and great sorrows. The years have ushered in fabulous new employees and ushered others out. Most importantly, they have, year after year, placed hundreds of desperate teens and families at our door.

As I've watch my girls grow and change, I've watched PH do the same. As the teens we serve have changed, so have our programs. As the depth of their problems and sorrows has increased, we have changed and grown to help them. And, no doubt, we will continue to do so for many years to come.

And me? Well, I'm staying the course, cheering us on, hoping to be of service, struggling at times with the enormity of our responsibility, trying to keep hope alive for these kids.....

And we shall see what the 15th year brings. For Leslie, for Kat, for PH......for me.

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