I have a plea for you on a Saturday night.
I am pretty jaded when it comes to hard luck stories after nearly 15 years in law enforcement, 18 years in ministry and 1.5 years as a retired old fart working with Juvenile Probation kids...I have seen it all, heard it all, and have been unimpressed by it all.
Yet, the kids, the KIDS, they tug at my heart.
I am not so jaded that I don't hear pain, or suffering, or resignation, or fear, or hunger or, loss.
I need some advice.
What can I do?
Today, I heard some stories from the kids that really hurt. There is nothing I can personally do, but my GOD! We must do something for the youth of our country who are slipping through these giant cracks!
I have kids who have really, really, crappy parents and are being raised by a moderately crappy grandparent(s). I have kids who are living in motel rooms instead of the 'hobo camps' that we trashed this weekend...but they are one weekend away from an outdoor hobo camp. I have kids who show up each week with no breakfast (there's no food at home) no lunch (there's no food at home) and no transportation (there's no one at home to wake them up, or drop them off, or pick them up). There are kids who don't have anything warmer than a hoodie. (I'm not cold) I have kids who have serious mental problems and are struggling with reality, let alone, life.
I know that the Probation Officers are doing their best with home visits, busting the kids when they do wrong, offer classes for all kinds of things, but something else is missing.
What can I do? What can we do? A LOT of these kids just need....something. I am not sure what it is, but not a handout. They have the opportunity to go to school...they have clothes, they have some food, they have some shelter, they have someone who is trying to give them a relationship, but what can I do to really make a difference? These kids don't need to become statistics in a couple of years- those who just get through the system, fail and end up on the streets, in jail, in prison, or stuck in a short and hard life of drugs, alcohol, welfare and 3 children by age 19 with no spouse or significant other who cares.
I don't want to call out 'the system' because the 'system' is doing all it can- within the limitations that exisit- and I want to keep my job so I can do something. I don't want to do a letter writing campaign, I don't want a Church adoption program where most of these 'families' will not qualify (they don't go to Church, they are not interested in Church, the parent - guardian are drug or alcohol addicted and don't give a shit about anything more than free crap) and I don't want to be a patronizing jerk who tells them that 'with Jesus, it will all be OK'...because, you know, it won't.
It's not that I don't have joy in my faith and that I don't believe in the salvation that Jesus offers- but most people in these circumstances (especially teens) just don't care.
So, any answers?
I need some help to do what needs to be done.
What can I/we do? I need suggestions!