When I first heard of the social issue Youth Advocacy, I was unsure of what this completely meant. All I knew was that I had an open weekend & the need to site lead another weekend. And so that was when I signed up for this social issue break going off to Flint to volunteer at Whaley’s Children Center for February 12-14th.
Whaley’s Children Center is a nonprofit organization that takes neglected or abused children with an unsuccessful rate in the foster home care system. This kids range from 5-17 & have experienced traumatic experiences in their life from their parents and so they are then removed to be placed in Whaley’s. What I didn’t realize was just how traumatic these experiences were. (PS, what you are about to read are true stories & if you are expecting to read a PG story, I would stop reading from here) One story was of a little boy who didn’t stay in bed during sleeping hours & so his parents stapled him to his bed sheets; stapled his skin that is. Utterly disgusted. Another story was of a little girl who has had multiple sexual partners before the age of 8 because her parents used her for income. Morally wrong.
The worst part is that these kids are now experiencing suicidal idealation or are just never the same. One girl was found disassembling a pencil to be used to cut her arms over 100 times & was found covered in blood. Another would have to make sure you knocked on the door before entering her bedroom or you would find her squeezing underneath the crack of her bed like she used to do to hide from her sexually abusive father. And this was just a couple of the stories we were told from the director or coordinator of events for that weekend. I can’t even imagine what other things have happened to those kids.
The other really sad fact we were told about was that for the amount of kids in foster homes, it directly correlates to the amount of couples who are homosexual that wants to adopt kids but are unable to because of Michigans laws. To hear this statistic, I was saddened because all these kids want are parents to love and care for them. When they were asked during Christmas time what they wanted, 9/10 would say all they wanted were parents.
These kids also usually come to Whaley with little to nothing & so that is where the donations come into place. But the kids are so giving and generous that one girl got a teddy bear for Christmas & loved this bear so much. One day she saw another little girl behind her trying to touch the teddy bear. The little girl gave her bear to this stranger because she felt like she deserved or needed it more than her. Wow.
Hearing these stories feel like something out of a movie. Unreal. So it was literally my pleasure to pour my heart into this center during Valentine’s weekend because these kids deserve love too. I was able to paint offices & the new fitness room there to improve the overall outlook for future kids. I was also able to interact with a couple of the kids and see a little about their new life. It was interesting to see just how much attention these kids crave & deserve so being able to give just that made my heart feel better. We also got to sort through the many donations that came in that day. We sorted it by keeping the new or barely used items and put the others in a goodwill pile. We also took some of the donations to the “Whaley bucks” room where if a kid has good behavior, they can get Whaley bucks to spend on some extra fun toys or things. It was also interesting to see some Girl Scouts come in to make valentines cards with some of the kids. I used to be a Girl Scout but would never think that I would of worked in a center like that.
On Sunday morning, we got to serve the homeless of Flint in the church we stayed in. I was able to sit down and talk to a couple of them as well. It was interesting to hear their passion as they can go to this workshop on Sunday for job ethics/interview performance and bible studies during the rest of the week. It was nice to see them striving for something better. This facility was also much nicer than the one I served at in Detroit. In this one, they didn’t ridicule us for our color. We also were able to hear a sermon during this breakfast and hearing they served all this great food and did this every week was nice to hear.
Overall, I learned so much about this issue and helping those in need in Michigan. I am definitely interested in revisiting the Whaley’s Children Center to help out more. The kids deserve so much love and attention that I deserve to give as I am so blessed to have two loving parents. It’s only fair to myself and them to give them a mentor as well.