September 12, 2015 marked the first year anniversary of opening our Long-Term Therapeutic Home for girls who are survivors of sex trafficking. On that day, we welcomed our first girl into our care and in 2 weeks she will “graduate” from our program, transition back home, but we will continue to provide services to her through our out-client program. When she walked through our door, we told her that we would walk with her for as long as she needs us. We will keep this promise.
I would like to say it was a smooth road that we traveled during this first year, but it wasn’t. As with any new launch, we faced our share of trials. We had staff turn overs…some because of life changes…some because we had the wrong people in the wrong positions…and some because working in this environment requires long hours and grueling circumstances.
I would like to say that all the girls that walked through our doors have been with us since the beginning but that isn’t the case. We have received girls who weren’t ready for our program maybe because she wasn’t interested in receiving help…needed more intensive supervision…or because we knew her stay with us was only temporary. I would like to think that even for the few days, weeks or months that God allowed us to care for these girls, that they felt loved unconditionally and that we made a small impact on their lives.
But, the joys out-weigh the trials. When a girl says to you, “I have never felt judged by you”…when you sit in on a class when Ms. Annie is teaching science, and the girls are excited and giggling while making flubber…when you attend a birthday tea party and she is dressed like Cinderella, and all the other girls in the home are going out of their way to make her feel special, because she has only had one birthday party in her life…all the struggles and trials seem worth it.
When I look into a girl’s eyes and hold her while she cries because she is having flashbacks and is afraid to sleep, and when I am able to share with her that God’s love for her is vast and deep and intimate, all the long hours fade away.
Perfect? No. But, I have to say that it didn’t take long for our team’s learning curve. I am proud of The Covering House team and all they have accomplished in one short year.
Within a few short months, our second girl will graduate our program, and we will welcome a new girl into the home.
Thank you to everyone who continue to support us in many ways. I am deeply grateful that you help us help these girls.
Dedee Lhamon, Founder