Let me tell you a story about Kaya. One night I went down to the Weinmann Dining Room to have dinner with the children in the Residential Treatment Program. I sat by Kaya, a brilliant, spunky 10 year old girl. As we were eating, Kaya told me that she loves school and especially loves to read. Then she launched into a big description of the book she was reading. It was so fun to watch her beautiful face become animated as she described her love of reading and learning. She was so bright, and full of joy and promise. As we chatted, I noticed both of us were eating quite quickly, so I said to Kaya, “Isn’t it funny how we get so busy talking and end up eating so fast?” Kaya looked up at me and said, “No, Miss Kristen. I eat fast because my mom never had enough food in the house, so I had to learn to eat fast to get enough food to eat.”
Our happy conversation had taken a sad turn, and while I was honored that Kaya felt comfortable sharing her story with me, I also felt grief and awe at the hunger and panic she must have felt.
A few months later, I was talking with Kaya again and she ran to her room to share with me a special book she made about amazing mother-daughter relationships. The book was filled with poems, and with Kaya’s own hopes and dreams. It was heartbreaking to watch her talk about the mother-daughter relationship she so badly craved but could only imagine because her own mother had not been able to take care of her for many years. Kaya is full of tremendous potential! Yet she has such great hurdles to overcome.
Kaya’s story is similar to the story of many of the children we serve. Children come to us having experienced so many losses, so much worry, so much sadness. Some of the children we serve have exhibited behavior that makes it too challenging for them to be educated in a local school. Some have experienced unbelievable abuse and need a special place to heal. Some live at or below poverty and have known food insecurity for much of their young lives. All of the children we serve deserve a quality education, specialized therapy to help them heal from past hurts, and the basic necessities of life many of us take for granted. Even more, all of the children we serve deserve to know they matter, they are loved, and they can play an important role in this world.
As we move into the promise of spring and new life, please remember our children. We ask you to consider making a gift so that Silver Springs can continue to be the place where children can come to find love, to heal, to learn, and to realize how much they matter.
Perhaps you would like to make a gift in honor of a special relationship you have had with someone who loved you and who made sure you knew that you mattered. Through your partnership in our ministry, you truly help us to show children that they are worthy of a bright, hopeful future.
Kristen E.M. Gay, Ph.D.
P.S. – I am so thrilled to share with you that in early March, Kaya was discharged to a loving foster family. What a blessing that her kind and wonderful foster parents have opened their home, hearts, and lives to “our” Kaya. The future looks bright!