“I wish I could’ve just been a kid”
Do you remember the pure joy of waking up on Christmas morning? The sun is peaking its head out. The crisp December air is hanging in a quiet house. The sense of excitement was almost too much for you to contain. Out of the pure bliss, you ruined the silence, ran screaming into your parent’s room and begged them to open presents. I can still feel the moment. There was nothing like it. This is something that will forever be engrained in my core memories.
It was great to be a kid.
My Christmas morning 1997.
For most of our youth, moments like these are works of fiction seen only in the movies.
The big moments that were so integral to our childhood are simply missing from theirs.
I recently sat down with Alissa, the Director of Transitional Living at Good Samaritan to talk about why youth in our programs missed a lot of these big moments.
Having to grow-up is one of the many realities we all face as young adults. Go to school, get a job, and learn to take care of yourself.
The sad reality for some is that growing up comes at a much younger age and a much higher price.
“Our youth are asked to grow up so fast. They grew up without parents being able to take care of them, so they were taking care of themselves and their siblings. This continues for them through residential all the way to transitional living.” Alissa goes on to say that they teach the youth in Transitional Living to get themselves up, go to school or work, self-regulate, manage their own time.
They’ve spent their whole life taking care of others and now they are adulting at 16.
The one complaint she hears the most from youth in the program. “I wish I could’ve just been a kid.”
A few years back, our Apartment Coordinator Robert was driving to pick up a youth named Joe from Black, Missouri to move him into our group home. They both started to get hungry and decided to stop for lunch. Looking around, all they saw was a Steak ’n Shake. To Robert this was nothing special, just a normal trip to a fast-food chain he had been to many times, but to Joe this was something more.
"This is the nicest restautant I've ever been to."
This was the first time Joe had been to a restaurant where someone served him food. Robert was taken aback that something so simple meant so much to Joe.
Every day or for the first time. These moments are important.
Graduation is a big milestone that should be celebrated in every youth’s life. “It became really important to make sure the youth experience going out to a nice restaurant and graduation is one way that we have been able to do that.” Because our supporters go above and beyond for our youth, they celebrate their successes in style.
“Growing up in my home, for birthdays you always got to choose what you wanted for dinner. You could either choose for mom to make you something or go out anywhere you wanted. We love getting to do that for our youth on their birthdays. That experience of family and someone caring about you.”
Although some of these youth may have not grown up with these core memories, you can give them those today.
You can give them experiences to cherish and pass on to their children to set in place new traditions for generations to come.