One of the major goals of my job is to “connect” with the street youth that walk through the door. That being said, some youth are easier to connect with than others, and some days are easier than others. One thing that I have realized is that the more we get out of the “norm” with the youth, the easier it is to have a true conversation with them. If we fall into the same everyday pattern, it can be hard for the youth to come in expecting anything other than the basic resources that we try to provide.
Lately, I’ve had the opportunity to do some manual labor with one of our kids who regularly comes into Sox Place when the drop in center is closed. Being in a different setting with this youth has been awesome. We have the ability to talk about real life whether that is relationship problems, money problems, or just the everyday issues of being young and on the streets. While our youth have different struggles, I realize that they are regular people, just like anyone else dealing with the same types of issues – their struggles may just look a little different.
See, no matter where we are in life, we have some type of relational or monetary struggle. It can be easy for people to point a finger at the street youth and to say that they are lazy or strung out; however, in reality, we are dealing with many of the same problems, no matter how much we do or don’t have. We need to start looking at one another at a basic human level, and it will probably be much easier for us to connect with the people we encounter each day in a genuine way.