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OMG I am hesitant for work today...ladies please read (I work in a shelter) this is a vent but I also need some direction

Okay so I work at a homeless shelter and I head an after school program.  Ages 4-14.  We help with homework, set up games, give snack, just basically do anything educational and keep them occupied.  It's a total of 2.5 hours long, parents drop off and pick up through out


Okay so yesterday there was this boy, 14yrs old, in 6th grade, and reads at a second grade level.  He has a 12 year old sister who is a bit behind but nothing like him, and he has a 5 year old sister who is very very smart.  I ended up having to let this little one year old boy join the group because they were watching him.  It was so sad.  The don't even have the chance to be kids.


Then there was this very sick looking mom, I mean sick like ill, and she had a baby 5 weeks ago, so that probably is why, but she looked fraile.  I am going to bring her some formula I never used, Gerber GoodStart, I had it as a back up just in case I ran out of pumped milk, but I never did so I have the whole 6 pack still.  Is that a good formula? idk

Anyway and then there is a mom who was completely on drugs, like you can just tell.  Her daughter was having so much fun and she kept coming in smelling like who knows what and finally she took her daughter out early because she said they had to go pick someone up.  Well they were just sitting outside for 1 hour, wtf?

Last but not least I had some really bright kids.  One 4year old who was a rockstar, her mom let her stay and she even joined in on the fun which made me smile.  The other is a 13 yr old boy who is very smart, he reads harry potter, he confessed, but her never talks to his dad so his dad always gives him a hard time.  He has a lot of emotional issues due to some losses, which is why they are in the shelter.

Moms...advice and words of wisdom are needed. 


Asked by Anonymous at 2:29 PM on Jan. 19, 2011 in Money & Work

This question is closed.
Answers (6)
  • OP--Take from your work the fact that you are making a positive situation out of a very bleak one, and that the children will benefit from your caring and generosity. These children have very little, just spending TIME with them, is often more than they ever get at home! Keep offering structured activities to help foster their growth and development, and your efforts WILL pay off.

    Perhaps you can enlist the help of retired teachers in your area who might be willing to volunteer and help with homework and basic education? Or seeing if your local Chamber of Commerce knows of any positive role models in the community who might be willing to come in and give the children (age appropriate) motivational speeches?

    I would tap into your community for clothing and food drives--including books, school supplies, athletic equipment, toys and games, etc.

    Make the time you spend with the children has upbeat and positive as possible!

    Answer by LoriKeet at 5:48 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • Some times I don't even know what to do to help.  I donate when I can and I am there for the allotted time.  But the kids suffer because of parents, it's so erking. 


    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 2:32 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • Working in the social service field you will see alot of things that will break youre heart, even make you feel downright mad. Just do your best to be a positive influence on the kids. I used to pray for my clients as well.

    Answer by okmommy08 at 2:32 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • You have to understand that you can NOT fix anyone. You can be a source of comfort and stability but you cannot fix someone else's problems. If you try and fix everyone you will burn out very quickly. That is the first thing I have learned in my social work classes and it is repeated in EVERY class, mulitple times. Just do your best to give them a little goodness when they are with you and leave work at work.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 2:38 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • I don't try to fix anyone...I feel like if you want to change you will, someone doing it for you will probably make things worse.  My issue is I don't want to fix anyone, or even try, I just want to be there for the kids, it's not their fault.


    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 2:41 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • It sounds like you are there for the kids. Keep being there for them. Vent when you need to. Of course it's going to hurt your heart, but you just need to keep doing your good work.

    Answer by evwsquared at 5:14 PM on Jan. 19, 2011