As camp ended I knew God was telling me I had to do more.
There were 2 girls that stood out to me that I wanted to mentor. Although my home church at the time had a mentoring program – we had very little training and understanding of how trauma impacts these youths and how we relate to them, as well as systematic issues that exist around the child welfare department.
I reached out to the group home these one of these girls resided – she had gone AWOL. So, I let the home know I was available and waiting for her return. Over the course of 3 weeks I would call the house everyday…and, finally, she did come back. I remember vividly walking into the charming old Santa Ana home and this girl saying to me “why would you want to mentor me? And why would you call for 3 weeks waiting on me to come back?”
And that began our relationship.
The second girl had transferred homes within the first week of retuning from camp. I remember at camp learning she had already been in four other homes that year. Not having an understanding of the system we were unable to locate her…This is a painful reality that comes with not being properly educated all that comes with advocating for foster youth.
Today, years later, I still have her name in a journal and pray for her regularly.