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I am always shocked by the challenges and struggles the children visiting the Center must overcome. I am impressed by their resourcefulness and ability to survive their situations. In the same respect, I am saddened that children have to know these things simply to live. In the past week, I have compiled a list of things that I do not believe any child should think about or have to know in an ideal world.

  1. The end of the month is normally when they will be hungry (families run out of food stamps on the last days of each month)
  2. Snow days are not a good thing (school is a warm place to go and 2 guaranteed meals)
  3. Murder happens (I recently asked a group of 9 children that I took to dinner how many of them knew someone that had been killed. They all had)
  4. “My parents are not raising me because they do not love me” (on 2 separate occasions, I have had a child tell me this. The worst part is both children said this as though it was a fact and not worth discussing)
  5. Santa Claus is not real (at 12, perhaps I should have not still believed in Santa but I think it is okay for a 5 year old to believe. Unfortunately, parents have a hard time keeping this lie going if they cannot afford to buy their children presents)
  6. Very familiar with all the services available and staff at the Heart Ministry Center (we are happy to help and want to be a place of trust but I still wish children did not need the Center for their basic needs)
  7. Location of youth shelters (why should a 15 year old have to worry about where he was going to sleep that night)
  8. Hear the sound of gunfire at night (it is strange to hear a couple of the boys talking so casually about hearing gunfire)
  9. Wonder what it is like to eat at a restaurant (I have been equally surprised by what some children have never had the opportunity to do i.e. I took a child that lost a family member out to dinner and he just looked at me—I then realized that he had never been to a restaurant before)

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