Anxiety and the American Teenager

Original article and all rights go to the author in this New York Times Magazine article 

I was just introduced to this article, and it really hit home.  Anxiety is everywhere!!   Many people try to blame the world of smartphones and electronics, but the issue has always been around, it’s just that today’s technology has brought it out into a more open arena.

I have copied a few major parts of the article in this post, but I am also providing the link to the original post so that you may visit their site and read the rest.   Teachers, foster parents, counselors, really anyone who works with children needs to read this.

Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?

Parents, therapists and schools are struggling to figure out whether helping anxious teenagers means protecting them or pushing them to face their fears.

***It’s tempting to blame helicopter parents with their own anxiety issues for that pressure (and therapists who work with teenagers sometimes do), but several anxiety experts pointed to an important shift in the last few years. “Teenagers used to tell me, ‘I just need to get my parents off my back,’ ” recalls Madeline Levine, a founder of Challenge Success, a Stanford University-affiliated nonprofit that works on school reform and student well-being. “Now so many students have internalized the anxiety. The kids at this point are driving themselves crazy.”

***Though there are cultural differences in how this kind of anguish manifests, there’s considerable overlap among teenagers from different backgrounds. Many are anxious about school and how friends or teachers perceive them. Some obsess about family conflicts. Teenagers with OCD tend to worry excessively about what foods they should eat, diseases they might contract or whatever happens to be in the news that week. Stephanie Eken, a psychiatrist and the regional medical director for Rogers Behavioral Health, which runs several teenage-anxiety outpatient programs across the country and an inpatient program in Wisconsin, told me that in the last few years she has heard more kids than ever worry about terrorism. “They wonder about whether it’s safe to go to a movie theater,” she said.

For the complete article please click this link

Never Too Little or Too Late

 

So many people want to help, but many just don’t know how, or think that only large donations of items or money will be accepted- but that’s so not true!
My amazing friend had a get together this weekend and asked everyone to bring something for the girls ranch. Y’all she is in the DFW area, not even close to Houston, but she and her friends wanted to help us get ready for the girls that will be here soon.
Time, items, or even a $5 donation will add up!
Never underestimate the power of kindness and blessing others.
#humbled #blessed
 

 

Foster CARE

Putting Care back into Foster Care

Most stories and social media posts concerning #FosterCare gravitate to the dark side- the mishandled foster care system, the #political promises, stories of #exploitation, and caregivers spending funds on themselves while children barely have needs met.

We hear of children going from place to place with a garbage bag holding their belongings, #abuse by other kids and parents, of older teens running away, overdosing, or spending their adult lives in #prison.

There is a very real dark side to foster care, but there’s also a bright side, a side where darkness has been interrupted and children have discovered that it’s the little things that pop up each day that bring happiness.

My husband and I have our own personal stories of struggles and experiences that led us to help children in #crisis. Whether through school programs, assisting teenagers going through drug and alcohol rehab, #youth #ministry, or #teaching and supervising at a group home, we have seen the tears, tantrums, and questions that always surround children who don’t understand why no one wants them.

We have held onto a child that was brought back to the group home because the adoptive family decided the child wasn’t what they expected, so they returned him like a puppy at an #adoption center. We have sat with kids all night who ask why families never want to spend time with them, why their parents never call, and question what is wrong with them and why they are unworthy of #love.

Yes, this is #reality. This happens daily, and it’s a side that is often taken and exploited in the media.

Some of those days, though, are different. Some of those days are filled with laughter, sharing, and tears of #joy. These are the days that you don’t often hear about. These are the days that people claim are staged for publicity, the days that no one believes exists, because how could a child with no family be happy?

I’ll tell you how…

These children find joy in the little things, in a hug, or in someone asking them if they want two pancakes or three. They crave #love so badly that they are willing to hold onto the smallest act of kindness. They don’t always run around angry at the world, in fact, you would be surprised at how happy they can be with the things other children take for granted. The right environment, with supportive people and adults who truly want the best for them, makes a big difference.

I’d like to tell you a story that we will always remember.

One cool Christmas morning, my husband watched a little boy ride his brand-new bicycle up and down the road in front of his cottage. My husband asked him how he liked the bike. The boy looked at him and asked when he was going to have to give it back. Confused, my husband asked what he meant. He explained that he thought he would have to share the bike with the other children. My husband told him that the bike was his, and his alone. That sweet child broke down in tears, sobbing uncontrollably, because he had never had a bike of his own. After a long hug, and eventually laughter, the boy jumped back on his bike and rode around with incredible enthusiasm and a smile that took over his entire face.

This is the flip side of foster care. This is the side that many people don’t hear about.

There’s another part to this story. It’s the part that you get to experience many years down the road, when your phone rings and an adult asks if you remember him, and if your wife still makes the best pancakes ever. This is the part of the story when you find out they have a family of their own, a good job, and when tears start forming because that child who used to drive you crazy with screaming fits, and who used to run down the road cursing you and the world, calls to say thank you for never giving up. This is part that makes sense, this is the day you hope and pray will eventually come.

It is time to realize that one day these forgotten children will become adults. Who is going to guide them and show them what it means to take care of their own families? Do you really want them to rely on the example they were given by their own parents? They must know what it’s like to have someone genuinely care for them, to show them boundaries, responsibility, and what it looks like to take care of a family.

This is the reason why we need to put the CARE back into foster care.

About the Authors:
James and Angela WalshJames and Angela Walsh are the program directors at a home for girls in need in the Houston area.  Through an alliance between Imagine Foundation for Kids, Stevens and Pruett Ranch, and Azleway Children’s Services, a commitment has been made to create homes and therapeutic communities for kids who need families. The #Houston area girls ranch is the first in this venture, and is in the final stages before the doors will be opened for girls who need a family. Through intense training, education, and experienced staff, children will find the families and support they need to heal and find hope again. If you would like to help #support this cause, please consider making a #donation to any one of these foundations, any amount is greatly appreciated and needed. Thank you for taking the time to read this article, and please continue to pray for all of us as we move forward to help kids in need.
www.imaginefoundationforkids.org
www.stevensandpruettranch.com
www.azleway.org

Through The Storm

From our Houston area girls ranch:

As news was being reported about the hurricane that was soon to arrive, my husband was clearing out the front drainage ditch.   He looked down and saw a tiny, white ball of fur looking up at him, scared, crying, cold, and starving.   He brought the little kitten inside and we started nursing him back to health.    The very next day, Hurricane Harvey hit, and the drainage ditch was flooded, the same ditch our little “Paul Harvey” had been rescued from the day before.    We know he would never have survived, and now for the rest of the story…

We were so fortunate that during the hurricane we had enough food and water, and we never lost power, or phone and internet service.   We watched the water come so close to our house, and rise up the front steps of our chapel, and wondered if the horses, pig, and chickens were going to make it through it all.   One morning, around 3:30 AM, I walked through the house and was surprised to see the hard wind had blown open our front doors!!!  By God’s mercy we are all okay and the water never made it inside.

Below are some pictures during those days, and also of the days after it was all done.

The little kitten is now getting a fat tummy, the chickens are running around eating bugs, and the horses are sunbathing in the grass.   All is good in the world at our girls ranch, and we continue to count our blessings.

Soon, we will be opening our doors to girls who need a home and family.    We are so looking forward to that moment!   God has brought us through this storm and we are stronger for it.

Many people are asking us how they can help us, and we definitely need help to complete this mission, but we also know that there are still people out there waiting to leave shelters, or who have lost everything and don’t know what to do.

We ask that you join us in prayer- which is the first thing that should be done- and then move where the Spirit leads you.

God has been with this girls ranch from the beginning, and we cannot wait to see what happens next.   Thank you for your prayers and outpouring of support.

Imagine Foundation For Kids is all about collaborating and aligning with other foundations who focus on helping kids and families in need.   Our partners include Azleway and Stevens and Pruett Ranch.

TOGETHER we can make a difference!!