A little boy arrives on our campus with fear in his eyes. A teen girl comes to CCHO with deep depression. Biological brothers bring their anger. The children cared for in our residential center are from hard places. And they are precious to God, and precious to our staff.
Our youth have often been disappointed and hurt by the closest people in their lives. They have received broken and devastating messages from family members. Messages of their intrinsic value are passed on directly and indirectly through words, actions (or lack of actions) and experiences.
Each youth responds differently to trauma with their emotions and behaviors. Some avoid difficult situations or run away (flight). Others get angry or physical (fight). Some retreat inward or shut down (freeze). There are also children who attempt to please in order to diffuse conflict (fawn).
Part of welcoming each young person to residential life and tailoring their individual treatment is listening closely to their story, their strengths and discovering what unhelpful and untrue messages have been internalized. We then focus on what core messages that particular child needs to hear and receive.
Some of those core messages include:
You matter. Your voice matters. You are seen. You are heard. We will meet your needs.
It’s okay to be who you are. You are beautiful. You are important and valuable. You are not too far gone. You are worthy of love.
There are people who choose to be in your life because they want to be. You are worth positive attention.
You don’t have to be perfect. You’re doing a good job. Everyone has something to work on.
You can do this. You can do hard things. You can be happy.
You are safe. It’s okay to open up.
Our goal is to help our residents experience their worth and increase their self-esteem so they are better able to work through their trauma and learn coping skills.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” -Philippians 4:8, NIV
Your support helps a little girl feel safe. Because you give, a teen boy hears for the first time, and then frequently, that he is worthy to be loved and cared for. Your giving is growing a young person’s self-esteem and changing their future toward what is true.