Sometimes doing this work feels like riding waves in the ocean.

Last week my staff team and I had some great opportunities to reflect on the work that we do and talk about the effects of trauma on the brain. The training and conversations were moments to recognize how hard this work is, how much our youth have experienced, and the opportunity we have to create a space for healing. The waves were rolling and we were riding them and being intentional about feeling the ups and downs that were occurring--not just about the work, but also about our own experiences of trauma and who we are in our hearts.

And then . . . we have to dive back into the space with our youth, and over the weekend, addiction claimed another life. The wave rose slowly but rushed in fast and knocked us off our footing for a minute. We had to catch our breath, take stock of ourselves, and dig our feet more firmly into the sand to make sure we were standing strong. We had to talk and to process. We had to plan and prepare. We had to be quiet and reflect. We had to seek strength in rejuvenation.

We had to make sure that we could stand and catch our youth in the wave because for them the waves never stop. We are their safety net that prevents them from drifting off to sea, reminding them that they are strong and that they, too, can stand and dig their feet into the sand. We can help them to look up and feel the sunshine on their faces.

So here we stand in the ocean waves, a human chain linked arm to arm, inviting others to join – all needing support, but also having strength to share, ready for the slow rolling waves or the white caps to come.

About the Author...

EKleftside-street Webfade

I’m Erin, and I’ve used my 15+ years of human services experience working to understand youth who are on the fringes as an attempt to create services that have the potential to change their life trajectory. I get out of bed each morning with a renewed sense of purpose, and I go off to work to play my part. I believe that if we each do our small part, that collectively we have the potential to change the big picture.

To me, this is more than a job; it’s a journey, a mission, a calling, and an honor.

I don’t believe that I have all the answers, but with some regular meditation, a solid support network, and a commitment to this work--no matter how hard it gets, I believe that much can be accomplished.

I invite you along on this journey. Share what you have learned, what keeps you going, and what makes you crazy. None of us are in this world alone and I am grateful that we can walk beside each other even if only for a few moments.

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