Sometimes one conversation can change everything. It changes your perspective, your purpose and your outlook. I had one such event recently. The day before this moment, I had heard the story of a former outpatient client who was in desperate need. She was homeless. She was in a temporary shelter and she needed some clothing. The staff who contacted me was working to help her, but wanted to know if I knew of any clothing donations that had come in that might be appropriate. I immediately went to work to find her some items. I even went shopping myself to buy her some much-needed items, like socks. (I had been told she had been wearing the same pair of socks all week.)
I texted my co-worker that I had made some purchases and found some items for this girl. The text back knocked the wind out of my sails. “We can’t admit her. Our hands are tied.”
So what happens next? I was desperate to help her. I was angry at a system that wouldn’t. I was frustrated with those who had been complaining about the most mundane things just that morning…at myself for doing the same. I was livid at her mother.
You see, this girl recently turned 18. She recently told authorities that see had been sexually assaulted for years. Her mom’s reaction? To flee the situation, leaving her daughter alone and homeless. This young woman has one more credit to graduate high school. Now, she’s struggling to find a place to lay her head at night. She’s struggling to find clean clothes. But she doesn’t miss school. (She’s a good student.) And she doesn’t miss work. Yes. That’s right. She’s working.
So how does this happen? How can this happen? How can any mother just walk away? How can a system fail this young lady who’s trying so hard to do the right thing?
The good news…she has Crittenton and our caring staff, which refuses to give up on her. We’ve connected her to other resources in the community. She now has a temporary home. In the meantime, we’ve given her clothing, a warm winter coat, personal care items and much more, thanks to the generosity of those in the community. Most importantly, we’ve given her the knowledge that someone cares. Someone will answer her call for help.
So when you’re complaining today about something small, as we all will, please remember this story. And remember to care about those who need it most.
Stacy Rich, Director of Marketing