Kimberly first came to Youth Haven as a fun-loving fifth grader, full of potential, but struggling at home and in school. A concerned neighbor wrote to us:
Kimberly struggles with academics in school and has been held back a year. She is the oldest of 4 and has a lot of responsibility thrust upon her to watch over her younger siblings. She tries to do her best with them, but she is young and just wants to be the child that she is. Her home life is intact as far as her parents still being together, but both her parents work and she is often put in charge – even if one of her parents is at home. At school, Kimberly has been referred to the school counselor because of exhibiting signs of depression as well as early signs of acting out behavior in an attempt to develop self-identity. I have observed her to be very happy one minute and instantly change to very angry and lashing out verbally or physically. I have never encountered her being physical with adults – but I have witnessed her being disrespectful towards her parents in both her language and her disobedience. This seems to be the way the whole family communicates, sometimes merely for the purpose of self-defense. I do not suspect an abusive situation that warrants a call to protective services, however, I have witnessed on several occasions the mother extremely and instantly angry with the children and threaten to hit them. Kim begs her parents to take her to church, which doesn’t happen very often. She desperately needs someone to love her so she can better understand God’s love for her.
Thankfully, because friends like you cared and wanted to make a difference in Kimberly’s life, she was able to come to Youth Haven, where she was loved and cared for. She has continued to come to Youth Haven on a regular basis since that first visit, and what a change we have seen in her life! It’s amazing what love, care, and hope will do for a child. She is beginning to find her sense of self-worth in God’s unconditional love for her. She is not disrespectful or disobedient with our staff. And when she turned 13, she became a Leader-in-Training (LIT), which has offered her the opportunity to grow and volunteer beside one of our adult staff members, helping the children learn some of the very same truths she learned as a child at Youth Haven.
As a financial supporter, volunteer, staff member, or prayer partner, you are having this kind of life-changing impact on children just like Kimberly. And to those children, you are a hero. To us, you are a hero. We just can’t thank you enough.