There have been many times during my time as a Social Worker where my work has prompted me to reflect on my own personal life, my own challenges, my means, and my own life perspectives. I have been given the opportunity to say to myself, “What would I do if I were in this situation?” or “How would I react to this hardship?” or even, “What would my perspective of life be given these certain circumstances?” My work humbles me. It has allowed me space to appreciate, to reflect, to empathize, and it drives me every day to support and assist others to the best of my ability.
Category: Voice of an FCNI Staff
“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
I know I don’t act the way you want me to. And I know you don’t understand why. I know you look at me and think I am just oppositional, a pain in the butt. You judge me and wonder what is wrong with me, why can’t I just act “normal”? Believe me when I tell you, I don’t know why I can’t either. I want to act “normal,” I want you to love me and to be the perfect child for you. I want to be happy. But something inside me won’t let me. And it hurts. My thoughts are always racing out of my control. I want to crawl out of my skin. Why am I this way?
This article was originally posted on March, 14, 2017 and has been updated by the author.
There is such joy, excitement, and freedom that comes with moving into your first apartment. It can also be frightening navigating new environments and experiences. These highs and lows are emphasized when working with the “Foster Youth to Independence” Voucher. The Foster Youth to Independence Voucher, or FYI voucher, is a new statewide program that provides housing choice vouchers to former foster youth who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness.
Jensen wasn’t a kid used to getting or giving second chances. He lost his parents when he was young and spent most of his childhood bouncing between extended family members, family friends, and foster homes. He endured physical and emotional abuse from people he was told to trust, so by the time he was in his early teens, he didn’t trust anyone. By then, he’d become a ward of the state and his Social Worker, Lacey, wanted nothing more than to find him a safe and stable home. But Jensen wasn’t interested.
While I know that “It takes a village to raise a child” has become a tired cliche used to promote ideological purposes without ever being appropriately attributed to any specific “village” (to date, no one has figured out where this phrase actually originates from), you’ll have to forgive me when I say that I still really like it. This phrase evokes so many emotions--togetherness, collaboration, acceptance, worthiness, belonging. In current American culture, these feelings are critical, right?
Emily Dickinson wrote:
"Hope" is the thing with feathers —
That perches in the soul —
And sings the tune without the words —
And never stops — at all —
And sweetest — in the Gale — is heard —
And sore must be the storm —
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm —
I've heard it in the chillest land —
And on the strangest Sea —
Yet — never — in Extremity,
It asked a crumb — of me.”
March 17, 2020 was a day that forever changed the landscape of the world as I knew it…it was the day I began working from home due to the uncertainty of COVID-19. Since that day, the only thing constant in my life--personally and professionally--has been change. There is such irony in that thought! My one constant is change.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…or so the song goes, right? According to the song, kids should be “jingle belling” and our collective hearts should be glowing. I’m “all in” for living in that world. However, reality is often far from this lovely image of this hypothetical holiday-world. The bigger reality is that the holidays can be a very difficult time. Our kids and families are no exception and, in fact, their traumatic experiences and situations can make it the most difficult time, far from wonderful.