Then there’s Darron – a young boy who joined us for our first Thrive Afterschool program this year. Darron had never been around anyone outside his nuclear family and was afraid to be around other kids and adults. Despite a rocky start, the Child Thrive team helped Darron build his self-esteem, comfort and confidence, and he now asks his mother every single day if he’s going to the afterschool program with so much excitement and glee.
Or, Theresa*, a single-mother who is a resident in our Supportive Housing program. Losing her oldest son to Chicago’s gun violence, Theresa has battled depression and chronic unemployment. With CPA’s case management services, she has established and followed a SMART goal plan for self-development. Now employed and marching steadily toward financial stability, her youngest son recently graduated from high school and plans to attend college next fall.
Lastly, my mind went to Joshua*, a foster care youth with a severe congenital disorder and cognitive delays who presents a significant challenge to his foster care family. Navigating the complex child welfare system while caring for a youth that requires substantial care and intervention would be trying for the best of us. To stabilize the youth’s placement and prevent disruption, our foster care staff worked tirelessly to eliminate bureaucratic barriers and secure the respite care that Joshua and his foster family desperately needed.
It’s interesting how an unexpected expression of genuine thoughtfulness can spark such remembrance and restoration. In that moment, the young man reminded me to focus on the many ways that the light shines in spite of the things that come to try and snatch it away. He did for me what Children’s Place Association does for every one of our youth and families every day: Hold the door open.
Whether you are a long-time supporter of Children’s Place Association or newly acquainted with our work, thank you for journeying with us. Thank you for being a source of light that helps eradicate the darkness that comes with being poor, sick, and marginalized. Thank you for empowering us to hold open as many doors as we can, as often as we can, for those that need it the most.
*name changed to maintain confidentiality