WE RISK rejection and the pain of kids making choices that will hurt them, we risk struggling toward healing with those who will return to hurtful situations. We risk love. Every. Day. (and we risk life and limb as we make sure each of our teens gets their driving hours completed for their driver's tests!)
THE ADVENTURE IS AWESOME
The composition of our campus is changing. As mentioned in our last newsletter. The Children's Home is one of few placement options for older teens from CPS, and we are intentionally advocating for these kids. As a result, we now have two homes dedicated to preparing these upper-high school kids – some of whom have lived with us for years, others who will be here only a brief time before they graduate.
This means we have more cars* on campus than ever, more kids with job than ever, more opportunities for grand success and more chances for safe failure. It also means we have more seniors than ever.
We have eight young people preparing to graduate in the spring – eight intrepid souls who will excitedly head off on their own in this game of LIFE all too soon. At the outset, it can feel a little scary, but this is what we've been working toward: preparing our kids to be capable, healthy, independent adults.
From our Going Places curriculum, to meal planning and shopping, to learning to drive and buy a car and beyond, in addition to fulfilling our mission of restoring identity, we must also impart practical skills and wisdom to enable these young people to be competent and responsible contributors to society.
Our older teens balance jobs, school, extra-curricular activities, campus activities, home responsibilities and time with friends like they're spinning plates, all while healing from past hurts and learning the truth about who they were created to be. We repeatedly challenge these guys, and they repeatedly rise to it. It's an exciting time, and it undoubtably won't be easy, but you'd better believe it's going to be awesome!
NEAT FACT: Our Going Places curriculum utilizes a "learn, do, teach" methodology, which means our older kids, after going through the curriculum themselves, become Going Places mentors for our younger kids on campus. This not only helps the older kids learn the subject matter better, but it builds relationships, establishes community and provides our kids yet another opportunity to be a blessing to others.
* You might be curious how our kids get their cars. First off, all older teens must get a job. Initially they're required to save 75% of their earnings and can spend 25% (including purchase of a cell phone and service, going out with friends, etc.) At first, the kids tend to be disappointed to not be able to touch a good portion of their money, but as they watch their savings grow, they typically get pretty excited. Once a teen has saved enough to buy a car outright, they shift to saving 50% and spending 50% (to cover the additional expenses of car insurance, maintenance and gas). This continues until they have saved a $1,500 emergency fund, at which point the ratio becomes 25/75. Through this, our kids learn how to save and how to delay gratification. They learn that they don't have to do or have every little thing and become proficient at prioritizing their spending.