So this blog post is coming to you almost a whole week late. However, I imagine that by the end of this, you will come to understand as to why some things will come late, why I send those "midnight emails," and why I burn that midnight oil.
It's common that when creatives want to start digging deeper into their gifts and talents by starting their own business, they cannot leave their 9-5 behind...yet. Bills need to be paid, insurance needs to be offered, and a consistent paycheck needs to be expected. With starting your new business, regardless of how long you have been in the industry, focusing on growing that new "baby" comes at a slow and steady pace. For instance, I've been within the wedding and event industry for two years but I've only had T+T for less than a year. Having a sturdy income with benefits is a must right now. Eventually, T+T will be able to provide that. But, for now, I have 40 hours a week dedicated to taking care of 12-17 year old kids whose circumstances are very different than your every day child.
The Loudoun County Youth Shelter (LCYS) is an emergency crisis short term residential facility located in Leesburg, Virginia. It was opened in the 2012 and has gone through a few different phases of curriculum. Currently, LCYS has a contract with the North American Family Institute (NAFI) which strives to create a normative model of community for all of their facilities all up and down the East Coast. LCYS takes cases that fall into three categories: court ordered, mental health referred, and Child Protective Services (CPS) referred. Our most common type of cases are minors that are court ordered by Loudoun County. We see anything from probation violations, truancy, to runaways. For CPS ordered minors the most common cases are related to domestic violence within the home, parents/ legal guardians losing custody for whatever reason, or there is alleged abuse within the home. Our mental health referred minors are few and far between. If we do have an intake that is a mental health referred, the most common related cases we see are depression, suicidal ideation, or the like. However, they normally are at the shelter for no more than an average of seven days or until a proper mental health facility has a bed opening for that minor. Unfortunately, LCYS does not provide psychiatric or psychological services, hence the reason that our mental health referred cases do not stay with us for very long.
Social work was not on the list of things that I would cross off of my life's "to do" list. However, I am called to minister to the lost and to share to the love of Christ regardless of where I am, who I am in contact with, and where I work. Being able to be a positive influence on youth that walk in the shelter doors with crazy pasts and bright futures has become more of a blessing for me, I think, than it is them. February marks six months of me becoming a Direct Care Counselor for LCYS. And even though I may come home in tears due to a hard day, I know in the end it will be worth it. There is joy in seeing these kids' face get another chance at correction, redirection, or opportunity. For me to be able to be a part of their life journey, especially during this difficult time, is amazing.
So here is my challenge to you. Take a glance at your every day life, your world. Reflect on your blessings and opportunities. Ask yourself, "Am I giving the world everything I could be giving it?" If the answer is no upon reflection, it's okay. There is always a new day. I encourage you to find an opportunity where you can give back while still using your gifts. Be a mentor for someone, tutor for your local elementary school, become an organization sponsor for your high school, volunteer coach for a youth league. Literally, pick anything that you think would involve your gifts and give back to this world. You'll be forever grateful that you did.
Have a Purr-fect Day!