Some time ago I visited the state adolescent Youth Services Center stationed at Watkins Mill, the state sponsored program for abused and problematic adolescents. We folded bags for Harvester’s, a food pantry in my area, for an 8000 bag food drive. I spent an amazing couple of hours with 6 girls, all of whom thrilled to have a visitor and to help with the project. Afterwards, we shared teenager approved snacks and played Apples-to-Apples, and eye-opening experience to me. Very few of them could read or understand the words, even though they loved the game. My heart ached as the young quiet girl next to me tried to sound out words and whisper questions about what they could mean. She seemed so lost and scared. While I didn’t know her story, most of the kids placed there are for delinquency, truancy or protection from abuse. But I was amazed by their sense of fun, politeness and camaraderie. And touched by their immediate acceptance of me.
I highly recommend trying a service project for yourself. My day had meaning for both myself and a half-dozen girls who otherwise would have spent the afternoon with no visitors and nothing to do. Some of these young people don’t have a permanent home to go after their stay at the program ends, having been abandoned by their family. They will either be placed in foster care, where they will be shifted from house to house until their 18th birthday. There is no transitioning program. When they are 18, they are released to go their own way. No wonder so many go into drugs or prostitution or crime. What else have they been prepared to do? Having no home, no family support, no mentor, they are
I thought the beautiful song “Dream With Me” was very appropriate for this post. It was written by the soprano prodigy Jackie Evancho and her father and appears on her debut album “Dream With Me”. Check her out if you don’t know her, she has a voice that will make your mouth drop with shock. While I am just a shadow, this is an honest and simple rendition with no equipment or embellishment. I hope you will love this song as much as I do.
Two word poem: a very simple form with two words in each stanza