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Teens in crisis get a supportive hand

COMMUNITY

Posted: January 5, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 5, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

“Our human compassion binds us, the one to the other - not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learned how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” ~ Nelson Mandela


How many of us showcase our compassion for a living? How many of us get to show up to work every day, full of love and empathy; whose sole purpose is to effect a difference in another human’s life? I am so honored to say that we, The Youth Project, do just that.

Since 2000, The Youth Project has worked with more than 30,000 teenagers struggling through pregnancy, depression, suicide, abuse/neglect, loss of loved ones, bullying, addiction, sexual assault, divorce and so many more life changing events. We’ve celebrated as they overcame each of those challenges and stayed the course, when they have fallen off track or needed the extra support. We work together to empower kids with healthy coping, balance, better communication and a hopeful outlook for their futures.

A few stories always stand out for me when I think back over the years, but it usually only takes just one to serve as a reminder, of how important The Youth Project is to so many young people and how fragile, vulnerable and resilient most of us can be.

I am reminded of the young woman who after weeks of meeting with our staff, finally admitted she was raped multiple times by her brother. She spoke of her pain and feelings of betrayal, and her struggle with wanting to protect her family but also her need to become whole again.

I am reminded of the young man, who came into a session, and relived the physical and sexual abuse he endured by a babysitter.

I am reminded of the young woman who had thoughts of suicide (had a plan and a means) and didn’t trust herself to be alone.

I am reminded of the young man who struggled with his sexual identity and when he finally found the courage to “come out”, he was rejected by his family.

I am reminded of the young woman who shared, “after meeting with you week after week, I finally get it. I finally wake up with happiness in my heart, for the first time in two years.”

I could go on and on; stories of heartbreak, tragedy and trauma mixed with hope and courage, it’s what keeps us motivated to do more than just our job. It is the willingness of these young human beings to be better, stronger, and happier, that makes the Youth Project such a needed and worthwhile organization. It is because they want to turn their suffering into hope for their future ... it just doesn’t get any clearer, does it?

Our kids are phenomenal.

Our kids are inspirational.

Our kids deserve compassion, and I am so fortunate to be part of an organization whose mission it is, is to give it to them.

On behalf of the staff, volunteers and the Board of Directors for The Youth Project, thank you for giving us the opportunity of a lifetime, to be of service to you and your families.


From our home to yours, Happy Holidays.

Editor's Note: Kim Goldman is the Executive Director of The SCV Youth Project. Donations to continue providing free services to teens in our community can be made online at www.HelpNotHassle.org.

 

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