Today one of my regular teens was waiting for me to open the teen space – like he usually is. And when I did he bounded in and said
I’mma get a family this week and I won’t be in the shelter anymore!
And after I blinked a few times I said
That’s great! I’m excited for you! [pause] I didn’t know you were in a shelter, I’m sorry you’ve been going through that.
He shrugged and when I asked him how long he’d been there he said
Counting today 115 days. But this week I get to leave. And they live even closer to here than the shelter!
I had no inkling that this kid was living in a shelter. He was a bit moody and could be difficult, but not that much more than any other 16 year old boy. When I asked why he wasn’t living with his folks, his answer was
They didn’t want me back.
At this point I stopped asking questions because he didn’t seem like he wanted to talk about it, instead he wanted to be excited about living in a house with a family. All he knows about them is that the dad is a cop. He doesn’t know where he’ll be going to school in a few weeks or how long he’ll be with this family.
And we wonder why these kids act out.
But I am just incredibly grateful and honored to be part of a place that provides a safe haven for him. A place where he can come and play video games and just be a teen without the stress he is going through.
And it reminds me that you never know what’s going on with teens, or kids or adults for that matter. You never know who might be struggling with homelessness, or addiction or any number of other things.