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school

Kevin's day off

Kevin's day off

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Monday marked the first day of school for our children… well, everyone except Kevin. Kevin was thrilled to have the whole big house and all of the houseparents’ attention to himself today. He said that he woke up later than everyone else – and it “ROCKED!”

Later, he took his two new favorite toys, Batman and Spiderman, and the three of them played a rousing game of pick-up basketball (it was a close game, but Kevin made a last-second three point shot to win against the plastic figurines).

After basketball, Kevin went on an adventure with the houseparents; getting him registered for school. As he walked up to the elementary school he was nervous; starting a new school year is never easy. After getting the paperwork filled out Kevin wanted to meet his new teacher. Although he can’t remember her name, he said, “She seems really nice. I’m excited about fourth grade even if I’m going to have to learn multiplication!” He was starting to feel better about starting school when he heard a familiar voice. Darting down the hall and around a corner he saw his favorite substitute teacher!

On their way home from running errands he asked if he could get his favorite lunch, McDonalds and chocolate milk! He ate lunch with some staff members, something he doesn’t normally get to do when all the kids are home. He expressed a little apprehension about having to take timed multiplication tests, but quickly talked himself out of it when he realized how smart he would be once he mastered multiplication.

Though he was excited to get back to school to see his friends, what was even more exciting was that this afternoon, he got to pick whatever channel he wanted on TV. Unrestricted by “all those girls” to choose a suitable movie, Kevin was able to kick back and watch Cars, and took up as much room on the couch as he wanted. As Cars came to its denouement, Kevin realized he had done everything he had wanted to do in his day off. Luckily, just then, the van with the other kids pulled into the driveway and they came barreling into the house, wide-ruled notebooks and #2 pencils flying.

Kevin loved the peace and quiet of the morning, but by the end of the day he was thankful for the usual hustle, bustle and chatter. He was thrilled to have the other kids back around – those he has come to consider his family – so he could hear their stories of new classrooms, new teachers and old friends on the playground. By the end of the school day, Kevin couldn’t wait to begin his own school journey tomorrow (even if he does have to learn multiplication). We wish for you and yours the same that we wish for all our children – a happy and healthy start to the school year! We can’t wait to see what this year brings!

Sharing Samantha's Story

One of our volunteers put together a video about one of our former residents, Samantha, and her journey from homelessness to success. We are so proud of Samantha and all of her hard work!

Samantha came to us during her senior year in high school. She had been living with her family in a church’s Sunday School classroom. After Samantha’s graduation, the church notified her family that the classroom was no longer available for them to sleep in. They had to move out immediately. That’s when Samantha found Palmetto Place.

When she started college in fall 2013, Samantha’s Palmetto Place family took her shopping for dorm supplies. They took her to lunch on her first day and then said teary goodbyes. They were like any normal family – just a bit more unconventional.

Today, Samantha still comes “home” on the weekends. She plays with the younger children and tutors the older ones. We taught her how to drive and helped her buy her first car.

We asked Samantha to tell us what happened to some of her homeless friends. She replied, “All of the homeless teens I’ve met were from Palmetto Place and they’re all doing well for themselves.”

Samantha knows many, however, who weren’t so lucky. “Some kids from my old neighborhoods haven’t gotten the support I did at Palmetto Place. They are in prison, on their third child, or doing illegal things to get money.”

“Palmetto Place gives a chance to kids like me to make something of ourselves.” Samantha will always remember her time here fondly, as it led her to realize that “there are people out there who care about us and want us to succeed. Thank you!”

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Awards Day

Hi, this is Erin. Welcome to our new adventure at Palmetto Place – our blog! We really enjoy sharing snippets about our kids on Facebook, Twitter and through our enewsletter. But we think it’s time for more! We hope you’ll learn a little more about what we do and about what our kids go through and how we are trying to improve their lives. This is a great opportunity for us to answer your questions too. So think about what you want to know and ask away!

One of the things that strikes me so deeply with our kids is their desire for parental involvement. Last week, a fourth grader asked if I’d come to his school’s awards day. Of course I would! This kiddo was having a particularly rough week missing his family and was really wanting to be home.

I jumped at the chance to be there for him.

I was sitting in the third row of parents and was worried he wouldn’t see me. Sure enough, as his class filed into the auditorium, I saw his worried face trying to find me. I almost jumped out of my seat waving but held back and did a more reserved wave.

A huge smile broke out on his face and I could see him stand just a little taller. His eyes didn’t leave mine until he was seated. I could tell he was relieved that someone was there to cheer for him.

Moments like that make the hard days all worth it. I relish the days when I get to see a kid smile like that.

As names were called and certificates handed out, moms in the audience stood up to take their child’s pictures. You bet I did the same thing! This was one of those times when our kids just want to be normal. We work really hard to make “normal” a reality for them.

This fourth grader probably hadn’t had a parent at an awards ceremony – or any school function – in years.

The small amount of time I took out of my day to show up for this kid made a huge impact. This is what we do for 16 kids every day at Palmetto Place.

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