I was startled awake by my phone one night a little after 2 am. On the other end of the phone I heard Greg crying out. Greg was 17 and hadn’t lived at home for a few years. He had been couch surfing at friends’ houses for several months, eventually running out of friends to stay with. He sounded sad, even a little desperate. I asked him where he was staying. That’s when he said the words I will never forget. “I am staying in the tube slide at the park.” I couldn’t believe it. “Where’s all your clothes and your stuff?” Greg explained that as he moved from place to place his things just got lost or left behind. I told Greg I would come get him that night.
Greg lived with our family for the next several months until he finished high school. He was a charming young man, capturing people’s attention, telling stories and filling the room with laughter. He was also brilliant. Greg was an avid reader; his favorites were the classics, and he could quote authors and philosophers. People gravitated to him and looked up to him.
So how did such a great kid find himself homeless? The story is not simple. Greg had an abusive childhood, lacking love and acceptance from his mom. He coped well, but the scars ran deep. He spent time in a group home and later a foster home. Time passed but the pain didn’t go away simply because the pages on the calendar continued to turn. He found himself alone late one night with nowhere to go and called out of hopelessness.
Greg eventually moved away. I hadn’t heard from him for several years until recently when he sent me a message. He wanted to come to town and visit. Our family was excited; we couldn’t wait to see him! We went to church together, had lunch and spent the afternoon reminiscing and laughing a lot. It was like he never left. While Greg has grown up so much from that lost kid we once knew, he still deals with hurts from a lost childhood. You can see it in his eyes. Our family supports, loves and welcomes him home.
We are grateful for him and rejoice with every opportunity we have to celebrate the relationships we have made serving children and families.
Here’s what’s happening!
Mark your calendars!
Bring your swim suits and pool toys; we’ll bring the food!
Join us on June 11 from 6-9 pm at Centennial Park and Pool (across from Compass in Kearney) for BBQ and fun in the pool!
There is no cost to attend. We want to say thank you for all of the hard work you do for kids!
Be a hero for kids and families!
On July 4, 2016 heroes will converge at the Archway in Kearney, NE to walk or run for kids and families. The event begins at 9 am and features a costume contest, 5k and 1 mile events, family friendly games and food.
The money raised at this event benefits our Community Assistance Fund which helps local families in need.
Register at COMPASSnebraska.org/races.
Contact Savannah if you are interested in sponsorship opportunities.