The past few years have been ones where I've been at the highest high and stuck in the lowest low. Throughout it all, each one of you have been near to me, available, supportive, honest, forgiving when I don't respond to calls or messages, and encouraging to my spirit! I think of the church, and then I smile because I realize this right here.. is THE CHURCH!! It's no wonder that Scripture is stained all over with this sense of community. It's awesome. I promise. You all have blessed my life not because you tried to but just because I know you, and have a real relationship with all of you. So here is my thanks. Here is my love. You all have it. Praise God for you all:)
Now, here's what's going on in my life. After a lengthy application process and a long wait I was offered and accepted a position working for Advent Group Ministries in San Jose, California!!! This is a one year contract job. The plan is to come back after a year and attend grad school for counseling. That's the plan, but God likes to change my plans so anything could happen. And that's totally ok! I am writing to you all humbly and faithfully requesting money to help me get to California. Let me explain:
My role - Resident Childcare Worker.
For the next year, I will be living with up to 6 teenage boys dealing with addiction. There are a lot of details associated with my role and you should know them all. The Resident Childcare Worker is responsible for the overall care and supervision of six behaviorally/emotionally disturbed and/or chemically dependent adolescents. I will implement an individualized treatment plan for each youth 4 days a week while living with them. This is done within the context of an interdependent staff treatment team. This is a paid position.
I will be in a houseparent role. It is my job to enforce and provide structure that these kids never had. I will be loving these kids in ways that are foreign to them. All of the kids placed here are placed by their probation officer and mandated by the court to be there. None of them genuinely want to be there. During my interviews, the interviewer spent an hour or so explaining how terrible this position is. "The kids curse at you for no reason. That's how they talk". "They won't like you". "They will try to break you as soon as you arrive". I answered those statements by saying "I'm not qualified. No one is". This is not an easy job. But one that my heart is prepared for. I'm fully trusting God to prepare me, lead me and transform me. And I don't know them yet, but I have already begun to pray for my guys in the house. God's going to bust into this house. I am going to invite God in this home every day, every night until his kingdom grows there. I may not even see the fruits. But I'm determined to plant seeds day and night. Till soil, water it and prepare it for God!
This is a copy of a document they provided that shows " A day in the life of a Resident Childcare Worker"
It has been said, "if you've worked in a group home, you can work anywhere". You learn a lot about yourself as well while in the resident childcare worker (RCW) position. It is a houseparent role where you live-in 4 days out of the week. The two shifts are(1st) Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and a weekend day OR(2nd) Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and a weekend day. You switch off with your house mate, one weekend working a Saturday and the next working a Sunday. So you work 2 Sundays and 2 Saturdays a month basically.
We have a boys program (2 homes) and a girls program (1home); each home is able to house up to 6 clients and 2 staff each. They are homes in residential areas, quite normal looking. We strive to have a familial feel by living in a home and having committed staff waking them up and putting them to bed each day. We have clients in the age range of 13-18 years old. The teens we have here are usually on probation, required to be here or in a stricter placement. They are alcoholics or addicts (detoxed before entering the program) and some haven't made the decision that they are ready to stop using yet.
A typical week would start with waking up the girls/guys somewhere in the 7am hour, with a brief meditation time when the kids review and focus on their daily recovery goals then the RCWs start breakfast while the kids are getting ready for the day. RCWs get started on their paperwork among all the other morning activities - menus, daily logs, and medication to record and dispense. Breakfast is served, and then it's off to school.
The school is similar to a public continuation or alternative school. School begins at 8:30, with a break around 10:00. On Mondays and Fridays while the teens are in school the staff meets with the caseworkers to discuss how the teens are doing and then the RCW goes on a 3 hour break. On Tuesdays and Thursdays while the teens are in school the RCW has time to catch up on paperwork and other stuff before going on a 3 hour break. Then Wednesdays are busy days as all the staff are working and there are different kinds of meetings all day (e.g. group for staff, debriefing, casing, devotions, announcements).
The RCW may spend the rest of the morning working on a weekly or monthly evaluation of each client, completing daily logs, and calculating daily points. The kids earn points for making their beds, eating breakfast, going to school,getting to bed on time, and doing their assigned chores. The point system provides a structure the kids have never had. They are then rewarded with privileges and extra rewards.
By 3 o'clock school is out. The afternoons may consist of doing chores, working on recovery work the addiction counselor assigned or calling parents/sponsors. Each client has a weekly counseling session as well as group therapy five days per week.
Dinner preparation begins about 5 p.m., with each of the clients being the chef one night a week. They plan and cook a well-balanced meal from the 5 basic food groups. This provides an excellent teaching time and gives the kids invaluable life skills. Of course, the RCs are always there to lend a hand if needed.
5 nights out of the week they go to Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Then they have room time about 30-60 minutes before lights out, which is 10:30 pm on weeknights, and 11:30 on weekends.
The weekends are more relaxed and the kids take in some outdoor activity - a movie, trip to the beach, miniature golf, hiking, etc. They can also watch TV or play video games. On Sunday morning they can either go to church or have their own meditation focused on recovery. The weekend is also the time families usually come for visits.
So as a RCW you will be guiding them through their time here. You'll have moments of joy and moments of frustrations!
Here's where y'all come in. Actually y'all been there the whole time! Haha. I won't be able to do this without your prayers, thoughts, messages and calls. Those are the things God has used to get me out from the lows. I suspect that I will hit lows in the next year. Please help me out of the lows and affirm me in the highs. Money will come and go, God will make a way for me. Keep praying and God will make a way. Please always be honest with me as I will with you. As you consider helping me out, please pray first. Don't give simply because I sent you this link. This work is important and a genuine response will only work here. If you can only pray, pray with your whole heart. I feel I should say these things since this is heavy on my heart and I want this to be treated with care. Even if you couldn't give or didn't want to for whatever reason, I actually trust you enough to believe that is a good decision.
Here's my financial situation: Starting November my loan payments are active. That will be around $500-700 a month. So, this job will help me pay my debt. That is a blessing a bigg blessing. I will have to pay 50% of my health insurance premium as well. I'm not what that amount will be but my budget will be tight. I will be leaving late August or early September. They are not sure yet when I'm needed but you all will be the first to know. Fairly soon. I am raising $800 dollars to fund my trip to California.
Let me say that my parents would gladly fit the bill for me. My sister going to college this year(pray for her!) so my parents have devoted money toward her expenses. I know also that money is tight at home. I want to take some stress off of them. I wish I could have found a job and paid for some of these expenses myself. It didn't work out that way. Your donation would bless my parents as well.
Here is what I need:
Plane ticket(s) - I would love one of my parents to be with me but only if its possible financially. A single one way ticket is around $230
We are still figuring out if I should ship my car or drive. Either way the cost would be around $700. a little more to ship my car.
Taxi, hotel for a day, could be around $100
There are still a lot of uncertainties. The costs will become more concrete soon. I'm not even sure yet when I'm leaving!! So, I'm wanting to raise $800 just to help with the costs. I've decided that if I raise more than enough I will donate that money to the organization to use at their discretion.
I couldn't begin to express my thanks to you all. Please call me, message me whatever for more information. check out the website. Pray pray PRAY. I will speak with each of you before I leave as well. I love you all very much.
- Benny Johnson
- Craig Fritchey
- Pamela Abraham
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