Reaching a Crossroads in Life
According to the latest surveys, there are over 90 homeless and unaccompanied youth in the Rock Hill School District alone. In addition to those 90, those monitoring the numbers suspect that there are many more who have simply not reported themselves as homeless. Beginning in February of 2017, the Children’s Attention Home opened its doors to these youth; going beyond the tradition Department of Social Services (foster care) population. With the Crossroads Program, the Home is able to offer all of the same services to teens who are experiencing homelessness.
Over a year after the Crossroads Program’s debut, several youths from York County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg County have come to the Children’s Attention Home to receive a nationally-accredited level of care. However, this summer, we got to meet and serve a very ambitious young lady looking for stable housing to assist her with the transition into college.
Delightful, daring, and determined, Desiree came to us just weeks before her high school graduation. With no assistance from family, she not only struggled to plan her future, but even figuring out where she’d sleep was a daily task itself. The CAH team welcomed her with open arms and hit the ground running. Desiree was transported to and from school (outside of Rock Hill) every day until her graduation. On graduation day, not knowing who would be there to support her, Desiree was pleasantly surprised to see CAH teammates along with her new cottage mates in the audience to cheer her on. Furthermore, after graduating, our social worker was able to assist Desiree with getting a job in order to help save for classes.
Because quality improvement is essential to the Children’s Attention Home, seeking opportunities to learn more about the experiences of the children in care is never taken lightly. Executive Director, Emily Parrish, sat down with Desiree to talk about her experience at the Children’s Attention Home and was delighted by her response. According to Desiree, people at CAH are always “being positive and joking”, giving what can oftentimes seem like a dark situation some much needed light. She also highlights the activities she never really got to do before like swimming and horseback riding. In addition to all of these things, Desiree most importantly mentions the connections she’s been able to make and that CAH “has a great sense of community”.
There is no reimbursement from the state for any child coming into care through the Crossroads Program because it is not a DSS program. This means the Home depends heavily on community support to be able to provide all of these services to this population of children. For Desiree to be able to see the connections between teammates at the Home and the community-at-large after only being there for about two months speaks volumes.
Without things like in-kind donations, mentoring, volunteering as independent living assistants, financial generosity, and so much more, the Children’s Attention Home could not give Desiree the life she deserves! For more ways to get involved with the Crossroads Program, visit attentionhome.org/give.