As we all process the tragedy in Texas this week I am compelled to ask the question, where do we turn when we know something is off with our children?
I know families going through troubles today and some will be going through more tomorrow. The hopeless feeling that there is nowhere to turn and the helpless feeling that nothing they do seems to be working.
It is easy to make parents or families the villains, yet good people in our community struggle with the emotional burdens of their youth and their teens' troubles everyday. They try everything that they know of to help.
Professional mental health care seems the most obvious answer and sometimes is the key to helping these youth cope, but what about when counseling does not help fast enough?
I have had the great pleasure of meeting and working with members of Youth Dynamics, https://www.youthdynamics.org/ an organization locally focused on the mental and behavioral health of our youth. I encourage everyone needing the service or wanting to help them to call right away.
I do not have the answers, but I humbly offer some options that are available in the community and a safe space to allow yourself to grieve and hold your head up proud that you are doing something.
Lisa at Alliance for Youth uses her passion to help our youth and offers them more than a cot, AFY offers a warm safe place to rest, clean, play and share with others going through similar troubles. They are awesome! https://www.allianceforyouth.org/
A good friend of mine has a passion for Big Brothers and Big Sisters, he spends his time trying to help youth with troubles find a mentor to spend time with. Thank you Jesse for all you do at BBBS!http://www.bbbs-gf.org/
Another friend of mine has the passion to offer safe space for the youth to be themselves and celebrated at the Boys and Girls Club. Sonya, you are a rock star! https://www.bgc-cc.org/
Yet another friend of mine spends his passion with Child Bridge, helping find good solid people that will foster youth that have been pulled from harmful homes. Again what wonderful way to help our youth, thank you Andrew! https://www.childbridgemontana.org/
One of my dearest friends, Sarah, has a youth group for troubled teens to make art together as a method of processing their angst through the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art. https://www.the-square.org/curative-art-collective
Whizzard Academy has a passion for seeing their students reach their full potential including a social emotional component. https://www.childrensmuseumofmontana.org/whizzardacademy
I am sure there are many other organizations that I have not had personal involvement with, however the point is that please do not feel you are alone or that you are guilty. Reach out and let one of us that passionately want to help do just that!
One last thought, although we have current services, remember how helpless you feel right now when future plans and ideas are brought to our community that are designed to increase the offerings we have for our youth! We can get complacent and not feel the seriousness of creating safe options for the youth!
We will continue to work together and find ways to surround these youth with love, opportunities to grow to their full potential, and activities to empower them with hope. Sincerely, Sherrie Neff