Grace Children's Home

Trip Start Jan 06, 2011
Trip End May 24, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Nebraska
Thursday, February 3, 2011

We were staying in a Knight's Inn in Sioux City when we heard the news. Our school in Moville, IA, was cancelled due to extreme cold.

After communicating with our boss and the principal, we got the green light to head out of town, so we swung by Henderson, Nebraska, to say hi to our college friend Rachel. She's been working at Grace Children's Home as a house parent. She was fortunate to have the day off, so we hung out in the afternoon and evening.

She gave us a tour of the campus. Grace is a Christian organization that owns several houses across town (Henderson's so small, they practically own half the town)--some are administrative, some are off-duty houses solely for the houseparents when they're not being houseparents, and the rest are houses where the students live.
Most of the kids who are here are wards of the state--maybe they've been saved from a bad home situation, but most committed crimes and the judge issued that they be rehabilitated here. In short, these are some pretty rough kids, and they give Rachel and the other workers a pretty tough time. Rachel works 6 days in a row, living with a house of kids--about seven teenagers--and then has 3 days off. Workers rotate so there are two in each house. There, they are pretty much parents. They have to get the kids up in the morning, prepare breakfast, do devotions, and walk them to the local public school. Then, as many stay-at-home parents would experience, they get to let down their guard a little bit while the kids are at school. A snow day is awful news.

After school, they bring the kids back and uphold a silent study time while they prepare dinner. Everyone eats together, they have some free time, and then everyone must be in bed by 9:30. When the kids are in bed, the workers have to do their daily paperwork. They review and record all of the behaviors that the kids displayed during the day--whether it was good or bad. Incident reports and progress reports have to be written up daily so the state can track the kids' progress.

All the while throughout the day, the workers have to discipline these kids (who are not much younger, and are often bigger). It's not uncommon, then, to have to duck some flying objects and eat some harsh words.

It's not an easy life for the workers (or the kids for that matter), but it's definitely rewarding. Rachel was pretty funny--you see, her mother worked at Grace doing the same job she's doing many years ago. And Rachel now sees daily how the methods that Grace uses to discipline ended up in the way she was raised back in Ohio. Everything's beginning to make sense!

Anyway, that was a lot of information. We just found it interesting, and we're proud of Rachel for parenting seven uber-angsty teenage girls.

It was ironic to have just come from State Training School in Iowa. We've been exposed to a lot of juveline rehabilitation programs lately, and it's been interesting.

Also ironic--two other house parents on campus, Cyrus and Kristina, were Camfel techs a couple years ago. Small world, huh?

That night, they asked us if we would do a show for their group of five guys. I was a little hesitant at first--I mean, I expected to have a non-work day all day...--but that would just be me being selfish I guess. So yeah! We did a show for the guys, and Cyrus and Kristina really appreciated it. They're now able to follow up with conversations with the guys they live with.

Camfel finds its way into some pretty neat situations. No show is wasted.

Well this was a longer entry than I was anticipating. I guess you know all you could even want to know about Grace Children's Home.

Keep up the good work, Rachel! We'll probably swing through Henderson again before the year's up. We'll see :)
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