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Writing the happy endings

I love books. Real books with pages that turn and get finger-smudged from repeated use. Books with pretty, powerful, scary or thought provoking covers. Books with cover pages, copyright notices and illustrations. What I especially love is to find a book with a personal inscription in it. They’re written with good intention, sincere meaning and seem to lend authenticity to the book’s contents.

People are a lot like books. One of my favorite authors, Dr. Brene Brown, wrote, “Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.” Feel free to read that quote again. It’s the “loving ourselves” part that can be hard.

The homeless teen who fled to the streets to escape a volatile home, the young mother who finally executed her plan to leave her alcoholic husband and the terrified ten year old who lays awake at night wondering what’s going to happen to him in this new foster home. Their books have scary covers. But all three are starting new chapters and new chapters have one thing in common – the chance to change course and take a new direction. You and I can’t write the chapters for them but we can do a great deal to inspire, encourage and help them learn to love who they are in the process.

The ten year old did nothing wrong but he feels like he did. He needs an adult he can trust, someone who genuinely cares when his heart is breaking and when the anger is so close to the surface he can’t contain it. He needs a CASA. He could learn how to deal with heartache and survive, how to overcome anger and how to love himself in the process. Having a CASA will affect every chapter of his book for the rest of his life. If you ever dreamed of being a hero, this is your chance. To become a CASA, please call Jean Cate at 817-579-6866. The next CASA Training begins on January 24th.

The young mother stands at the door of the Ada Carey Shelter, completely exhausted and staring at her future, the one that’s completely blank. Where will she go? What will she do? She hasn’t worked in years and what about childcare? About the time she’s starting to second guess her decision to leave, an advocate assures her everything is going to be okay.

Over the next few weeks, she will see a counselor, attend support groups and meet with a case manager who will help her map out a plan of action. She will get legal assistance, help applying for jobs and a myriad of other resources to help her get back on her feet. She will see the cover of her book change from scary to powerful.

The teenager will be the hardest. His options are slim to zero. He can try to stay in school and find a night job to help buy food. Sleeping, bathing and staying safe will be a little trickier. If he’s clever, he can couch hop until spring when he can stay in his car or outside. But we worry about drug dealers, sex traffickers or being vulnerable to thieves. We, like so many other communities, can do so much for so many but for this fragile population who sit on the fence between childhood and adulthood, at crossroads that lead to either greatness or destruction, we have nearly nothing. This book is writing itself and the cover is and remains scary. But if we work together, maybe there can still be a happy ending. 817-579-6866

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