Yesterday, I posted the music video that the kids and I made a few weeks ago. I was searching for the right words to express what I think of these kids, and even more what I think about the teachers and faculty. “Amazing” seems like such a cliche word to describe the way they pour themselves into students day in and day out. After posting the video, one of the teachers who I have been privileged to become friends with over this past year borrowed the video and made her own blog post. I’m going to borrow her blog post as an introduction to the senior portraits and staff photos.
You can read Kacy Lou’s blog here, but here is some of what she said yesterday that just hit my heart:
I haven’t written about work or my students in a while, and to be honest, it’s because I’m a bit crispy around the edges. By no means am I “burnt out”, but teaching “at-risk youth” day-in and day-out without seeing much change or success is exhausting to say the least.
In the last month alone, I have had students confide in me that they are suicidal, re-addicted to drugs and alcohol, being abused at home, homeless, self-harming… You name it, I’ve probably had a conversation about it with a student lately. Every time I sit and look into the teary eyes of one of my students during one of those talks, my heart splits in two.
I just want to go all “momma-bird” and swoop them up, let them live in my house, so that they can be removed from their circumstances, and love on them… but given the fact that I live in a glorified shoebox, I can’t. And thus, my heart breaks even more.
I know in my heart that God is the only one that can truly rescue my kiddos and deliver them from their circumstances, but sometimes not being able to provide a safe haven for them makes me feel like a failure as a teacher and advocate….
…The teenagers in the video below aren’t just my students– they are my kids… and they’re “playing” because they know that they’re at home.
There are felons, drug addicts, and current and former gang members singing in this video. There are kids that have been thrown out of their homes and have lived on the streets dancing. There are girls who have traded their bodies for love and acceptance, only to be crushed, giggling, and boys who have suffered unspeakable abuse smiling.
This video was a perfectly timed reminder that God is doing something in each and every one of their lives… Even when I don’t see the daily changes, I can rest in confidence knowing that He brought them into the DSS family for a reason and that He loves them more than I ever will.
With that being said, here are the teachers and faculty of DSS:
And then the seniors. They should be proud of their accomplishments, and finishing their education in spite of circumstances and past mistakes. This is just the beginning of a whole new life, and a world of opportunities for you guys! Way to go!