There's No Place Like Home

Volunteer Training Night
Perhaps Dorothy said it best when she clicked her ruby red heels together and said, “There is no place like home.”  In the real world though, there are no magic shoes that can whisk someone back to a place of comfort and safety. For many of the youth I meet, their house is not a home.  Not really.  As I’m writing this I am thinking about some of the situations I’ve been in the front row for. 

•   The girl who was sexually assaulted by her adoptive father
•   The young man who frequently called the ambulance for his
mother after her overdoses
•   The youth whose first memories were a parent screaming hateful word at them.

Because of you, we are able to be present in these messy situations and be the family these youth have never experienced.  A young person I worked with years ago recently sent me a message for my birthday:

“[What you did as a youth worker] meant the world to lonely 16-year old me.  It always reminded me that no matter how alone I felt, I always had people who loved me.  Thank you Danny!”

I remember meeting that particular young person when they were in the fifth grade.  Being a surrogate family is a long term commitment.  I’m humbled by your investment that has kept me engaged in so many young lives over the years. 

Of course it is the relationships that make a house a home, and we will continue to prioritize that. The odds are that these teens met one of our youth workers at a school, a coffee shop, or somewhere in
between.  We want them to know that we are passionate about putting our ideals and beliefs into action by going out into the spaces and places youth are. We want to make the most of this life by building memories and creating a community where youth can share their hopes and struggles.  We build these friendships in parks, in car rides, in restaurants and once a week we gather all together at an old airplane hangar to share a meal. The hangar is the home base of our team.  This is the place where all, whoever they are, wherever they came from, and however they found us, are welcome, safe and respected. This is a place where we share life and food together; a place of connection through conversation, community, and creativity.  It is a place where we share memories and laughter and seek to love and challenge one another to take the next step of growth in our lives so we can make it through the hope and struggle of life.  For us, it is a place of radical transformation and we hope it can be that for youth as well.

Last year in our “home” we served 765 meals to young people, we provided the opportunity for hundreds of art projects to be created, provided a safe space for teens who are in the midst of a nightmare, a place to think of when they, like Dorothy, just wish they could be home.

We have more opportunities to expand the use of our space and extend our work to middle school, as well as, college students.  Think about how your investment is making an impact already and how much more we can do if we continue to work together.

- Danny Ferguson

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