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Stories with Friends: Part 8

A Kind Reminder Nelson Has Been Missed

Nelson hasn’t been attending his regular elementary school lately. Instead, he transitioned to a smaller, focused program for children with high levels of trauma.

Because Joe has other youth at the elementary school, he was there recently when they gave him a huge card they all signed for Nelson and individual cards from each student telling Nelson how much they missed him.

There were so many cards they covered a table at the clubhouse. Nelson’s favorite was from his best friend, who has hasn’t seen in a while.

Nelson and Joe made a card for his class saying thank-you, which Joe dropped off yesterday. Nelson played it pretty cool, but Joe could tell it meant a lot to him--knowing he’s cared for.

It’s a powerful reminder that impacting children who have experienced trauma takes a community. It also makes us really thankful for collaboration with local schools so that, together, we can impact the children who need it most.

Fascinated by Art and Animals

Hannah loves art and animals. Most of her outings with Sarah include creative endeavors--creating pictures of animals, signs for her pet’s cages, etc.

Last week, Sarah suggested they go to the Humane Society together. Hannah’s eyes lit up!

She was in heaven among all the cats and dogs and other animals. They started with the cats, Hannah playing with them one by one and diligently washing her hands after handling each animal (a rule at the Humane Society). They also petted dogs and even a guinea pig. Hannah has such a huge heart, especially for animals, and their experience at the Humane Society reminded Sarah of this.

Almost immediately following their outing Hannah wanted to know if they could go back next week, and Sarah plans to take her again. Sarah also mentioned volunteering and Hannah said that would be “so cool”. She asked Hannah if she wanted to do it together and she said yes!

We love when outings allow our youth to grow into their passions and use the things they love in their healing journey. We’re also really excited to see more cute pictures of dogs and cats!

“I’m a Little Scared”

Last week, Ashley (one of our new Friends) was an awesome stand in with Corey out of town. When Ethan’s mom suggested they go ice skating, Ethan’s eyes lit up.

It was Ethan’s first time on skates, and he was feeling scared. Ashley assured him this was normal the first time skating.

By the end of the outing he wasn’t even using the trainer anymore! Skating all on his own and asking if they could go back next week.

“Let’s go back next week” is one of our favorite phrases to hear from our youth, because it means they’ve connected with something. They’ve found enjoyment or been able to do something they weren’t sure they could do. Both of which are powerful tools for healing!

Way to go, Ethan!

The 2019 Selection Process

The 2019 selection process matching Friends with new kindergartners is in full swing. A process Nona, our new Program Director, has been deeply involved in.

Recently she was on campus at the Redmond Early Learning Center as they selected new students from the 400 kindergarteners in school there. She was paired with the school’s counselor (a male) when they sat down to chat with a female student who rarely talks at school.

As this young student walked down the hall with Nona and the counselor she barely said a word. For a few minutes the counselor had to step out of the room. Nona was completely taken aback when the student started chatting away with her. She was animated, asking Nona about the markers she was drawing with and whether they were the type that smell.

Once the counselor was back in the room, she kept talking--telling him what she had shared with Nona.

Later, the counselor said, “I needed a female in there the whole time”. The selection process still has a ways to go, but it was an important moment for Nona. Seeing the power of her presence with a child. It’s an important reminder for the rest of the team, too. Trauma is always unique to those who experience it, and so we have to be unique with each child in our care.