For the past almost 2 years (in January) Rick and I have been going to youth corrections. This is a church calling, for us to go out on Monday nights for family home evening. When we first started going there were 10 couples and 10 long term youth in custody. We were trained to not ask what offense they committed to end up in a very secure, youth facility. You don't have to ask, they usually really want to talk about themselves.
Having been raised in a kind, loving home, where we always knew we were important and had the support of our parents, we were totally unprepared for the differences we found in how the boys were raised. Some of the boys had been in custody, in the local facility for more than a year, without any visits from family. Our first boy had been in for about 6 months when we started. He was pretty negative and found it hard to find good things in his life during the week. Each week we could challenge him to come and report of one positive thing in his life. We developed a good relationship with him and really hoped he would be okay when he was released, but having been brought up in a home with drug addiction, sexual promiscuity, there was little hope he would be able to find his way. We have seen him one time since his release and were disappointed in what we saw. Hopefully he will turn himself around and find his way in life.
The boy we are currently seeing is a little different. He comes from a broken home, but really loves his parents and they are pretty supportive of him. His grandparents have taken an active role in his life and they provide the stability that may help him when he gets out. He will be released on December 12th and is planning on staying in a half-way house in the area and attending SUU in January. He wants to get his record expunged and move forward with his life. He has shown some desire to enter the military and also enjoys cooking, so maybe a chef.
This calling has been very rewarding and also frustrating. We just keep going and hope we can make a difference. Tonight Rick will be showing his slides of Iraq and talking about the military and gratitude. I'm sure the boys will all enjoy this presentation.