Tina* never planned to return to live at The Children's Home. Since graduating in 2009, Sunday lunches, graduation parties and the occasional afternoon visit kept her involved but fairly self-sufficient. She went to school, went to work and paid her bills just like she was supposed to. It was the one-foot-in-front-of-the-other struggle typical of a college student, but she was putting all that she had learned to good use.
Sometimes, in spite of every best effort, we lose our balance. Sometimes great roommates get married and move away. Sometimes the people we trust hurt us. Sometimes we get exhausted from living right on the razor-edge of just-making-it and not-quite-enough. Sometimes, at our most critical moments, we need space to pause, to breathe, so we can get back on our feet and back in the fight. Sometimes, we just need to go home.
For the majority of kids "in the system", there is no home to return to after graduation. The things so many of us take for granted - a parent's wisdom, a hug on a rough day, a place to do laundry and get a home-cooked meal - these are the stuff of dreams and wishes.
Every child in a loving, stable home; this is the ideal. We can't be the ideal, but we want to be the best substitute we can be. One of the ways we seek to do this is by maintaining contact with our graduates through our After-Care program. The Children's Home offers a safety net of wisdom and care, a bit of financial support, connection to community resources and, when necessary, a home.
"Krista (Transitional Coach, Krista Bryan) gave me hints that I should move back... I needed help... with bills and to save up some money. I was down to $20 in my savings account. I was so stressed out that I was actually losing my hair. I had nobody else, no where else to go. I don't even want to think about it - what would have happened to me without The Children's Home. I am so grateful. I needed a time of rest - a time of just school and work without all of the stress of grown-up stuff."
It was tough for Tina to move back - it took humility and a willingness to give up her hard-won independence. She has continued to work hard and to go to school. She has built her savings and knows it won't be long until it's time for her to be back on her feet. Once again... she'll be ready.