What do Chuck E. Cheese, roller skating, catching frogs and turtles, making s’mores around a bonfire, visiting Santa Claus and dancing in the rain all have in common? These are “firsts” childhood activities that many of our girls experienced over the course of this year.
I wish you could see their beaming faces and hear their belly laughter while they embraced these experiences for the first time. Watching the face of Beth, our 18-year-old, who asked to celebrate her birthday at Chuck E. Cheese, was precious. The balloons on her table, tokens in her hand, and having her picture taken with the Mouse created girlish giggles that should have occurred years ago. Witnessing this birthday moment brought me both joy and sadness at the same time. Over the course of this year, I had those same conflicted feelings as I watched our girls embrace simple childhood pleasures.
You see…when I first learned about girls being sexually exploited and sexually trafficked in our neck of the woods, my heart shattered for the loss of childhood and innocence these girls have endured. My maternal desire was to gather these girls up and just give them cookies and hugs…safety and comfort.
Over the course of 8 years, I have learned that it takes much more than cookies and hugs to provide healing and restoration for our girls to overcome the extreme abuse and trauma.
It takes weekly counseling and group therapy. Therapy in various forms such as horticulture, art, music, equine and traditional are provided weekly and monthly.
It takes a full trauma sensitive education program and classroom where our girls can gain confidence in their ability to learn, gain hope in their future, gain a love for reading, science and the arts, all the while regaining class credits towards school and college.
It takes an atmosphere of family to restore the girls to a place of trust. The home we provide isn’t a facility but a rather a big farm house where laughter abounds, meals are cooked together and eaten at a family table, where managing “sibling” squabbles are learned, and where unconditional love is poured out so each girl knows her worth and feels secure within her home.
It takes people who show up day after day and walk through the mess and muck that most of us wouldn’t want to hear about much less embrace.
It takes partners like you to help us truly heal hearts and provide life changing opportunities.
As you probably heard, The Covering House was gifted property a home where we will be able to triple the number of girls to whom we can provide care with room for growth and expansion. This beautiful piece of property sits out on 17 acres with nature surrounding us. We will now be able to increase our impact. I am overwhelmed by the generosity of this donor and the kindness of a complete stranger.
But because of her generosity and the generosity of all our partners we can now help more girls overcome trauma, graduate high school, attend college and celebrate childhood by dancing in the rain.
With this new opportunity, comes increase needs. We will need to hire additional staff, expand our programs and services, and provide more furnishings.
Would you consider an end-of-the-year gift to The Covering House, so we can prepare to care for more girls?
On behalf of each of our girls who danced in the rain and met Santa Claus, I deeply thank you.
Founder and President