Last year a good friend and co-worker of mine suggested that I apply to be a part of Commerce Lexington's (the Lexington Chamber of Commerce) Leadership Lexington program. Through this program, we meet each month to hear from Lexington's leaders about different issues facing our community. It has been a tremendous experience!
But, last week, we had a program focused on Health and Human Services. It was a rough day for me. I get emotionally involved in a lot of these things, especially when it comes to poverty, abuse, and endangered children. As part of the day, we each had to break out into small groups and choose a human services agency to visit. The one that I chose (I will keep it nameless) was an agency focused on pregnant teenagers. I thought I would be visiting a program that taught young girls how to feed their baby, change diapers, and do CPR. This program was so much more. The children (yes, these girls are children, ages 12-17) are there because the courts have sent them to this home. They have different issues beyond being pregnant, many have been victims of abuse - sexual, physical, and mental. Most have no idea how to take care of a child... they are just babies themselves. It was extremely depressing to hear the stories. Some of these children didn't have a chance in the world. Their parents didn't care enough about them to protect them from the horrible things in the world... many of their parents were involved, the abuser, or enabled the abuser.
Yes, I'm writing the most depressing blog ever. :)
My point in writing this isn't to depress anyone or to keep myself going back to this mentally. It's something that I keep thinking about when I look at my daughter. I can't imagine how anyone could hurt her or how any parent in the world could let their baby go through the terrible things that these children have experienced. We get so caught up in everything that we want for our children. Things that we want to provide, from gymnastics class and t-ball to birthday parties and decorated bedrooms. Always contemplating the smallest details, hoping it will be memorable for a lifetime. Seeing these children only puts it all into perspective. I'm sure I'll never change my ways - I'll always want the best for my babies. And really, I don't want to change that. I just want the best for these babies, too. It really bothers to me to think that they are out there without a person in the world to care about them and there's not a thing that the system is doing to protect them. Most of these teenagers and their babies will be sent right back to the home that didn't protect them to begin with and the cycle will just continue. How do we make a difference here? Education is key, but you can't teach people to care about the people they should love. I feel helpless... just really helpless. ARGH...
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