Children

We are responsible for children who put chocolate fingers everywhere, who like to be tickled, who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants, who sneak popsicles before supper, who can never find their shoes.

And we are responsible for children who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers, who are born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead, who never go to the circus, who live in an x-rated world.

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We are responsible for children who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions, who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish, who cover themselves with Band-aids and sing off key, who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink, who slurp their soup.

And we are responsible for children who never get dessert, who have no blanket to drag behind them, who watch their parents watch them die, who can’t find any bread to steal, who don’t have any rooms to clean up, whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser, whose monsters are real.

We are responsible for children who spend all their allowance before Tuesday, who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food, who like ghost stories, who shove dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse out the tub, who get no visits from the tooth fairy, who don’t like to be kissed in front of the carpool, whose tears we sometimes laugh at, and whose smiles can make us cry.

We are responsible for children whose nightmares come in the daytime, who will eat anything, who have never seen a dentist, who aren’t spoiled by anybody, who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep, who live and move, but have no being.

We are responsible for children who want to be carried and for those who must, for those we never give up on and for those who don’t get a second chance, for those we smother, . . . and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

Ina Hughes

The First Night Is The Hardest

The first night is the hardest.

That is when they realize they are in a completely new home and that it isn’t a dream.

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They are somewhere with strangers. They have nothing but the clothes they were wearing when it happened. No comforts of home. That first night is the hardest.

And sometimes they get placed with friends, but it’s still feeling alone. They wonder if it will be forever, if they will be with their family again.
They wonder about everything… what is going to happen to their stuff, are they going to get new clothes or will someone bring them their other clothes, who else lives here and will they like me and, especially, they wonder about what their parent is thinking/doing/feeling.

No matter how awful their parents are, or how badly they were mistreated, their one true desire is for that parent to love them and want them. It’s how we are all wired.
They start to feel guilty that they may have done something wrong or it’s their fault. They cry. Sometimes they hide it, sometimes they can’t.

They are a dichotomy of emotions.

They look around as they lay in a home they are unfamiliar with, laying in a different bed with different blankets and different sounds and smells. They don’t even know where the light switch is or how to get a drink of water. They are timid to ask where the bathroom is.

They might not remember your first name when they finally muster up the courage to tell you they are thirsty or hungry.

It is a helpless feeling they have, a combination of fear and calm wondering about the old and not knowing what to expect with the new. They know that there will be no more yelling or violence, no more drugs or random people coming around, but they will also miss that familiarity.

There is a familiarity, a queer comfort in the midst of the chaos that they called home. Away from the drama it is so quiet they can hear their thoughts and their thoughts are sad.

It’s hard to imagine these circumstances and feelings as an adult, let alone as a child. A child that has seen too much, been exposed to things no child should see or experience, shuffled around like extra baggage.
I hate it for them. I truly do. It makes me sick to think that parents can’t prioritize their children over everything else.

That’s why we celebrate every kid that comes through our doors, we embrace and we engage, we comfort and we counsel.
We want them to feel remarkably welcome and loved. They are dear to us.
We want them to know that, no matter what, we are reliable.

School Is In Session!

All the kids have worked hard trying to adjust to the school routine. It’s up at 5am for five of them, then 7am for the rest of them. We are only into the first week and already the elementary kids have homework. (I hate homework. I hated it when I had it, I hate when they have it because I have to help them with it. Homework is awful.)

Summer Vacation Nightmare

Summer months meant nobody getting up at 5am and late night popcorn and movies. Summer meant no homework. Summer was kids in the pool, eating dinner whenever, video games, and the beach. I loved summer!
The end of summer brings a new schedule, and a lot more work for everybody, but at least I will no longer hear my name called four thousand two hundred and seventeen times a day, and I will not have to make someone something to eat around the clock and I won’t have non stop bickering about whose turn it is to use the remote remote.

(That is not a typo. A remote remote is wireless and, apparently, coveted by anyone under the age of 15.) I will also not have to go room to room turning off every light in the house continually through the day and picking up random articles of clothing off the floor and off the chairs and behind the furniture giving them the sniff test to see if they are dirty or not. I will turn off all the lights in the morning that they left on, and they will stay off until they get home. Yay for saving electricity!!!

I have now become the homework monitor, the chauffeur, the lunch lady, and the shoe finder. Actually, I take that back, I am “the finder of all things”.

Literally, somehow, somewhere, it was genetically determined in each of these children that instead of looking for an item themselves, it is absolutely mandatory that they loudly call my name 24 times and stand there in desperation (doing absolutely nothing and not looking for anything) while I tear the house apart because they waited until the very last second to let me know it was missing and now I don’t have time for the “you should have put it where it belongs” lecture or we will ALL be late.
I will then drive rapidly to our destinations while I tell the other children to remind me to punish “so and so” after school so I don’t forget.

(In the same notebook where I write down the funny things they say and the things that come out of my mouth, I now have a naughty page where I write down who I need to remember to punish. Sadly, I never remember to visit the naughty page until three days later and by then the moment has passed.)

They all have new backpacks loaded with supplies thanks to all of you, their own water bottles with their names on them in permanent marker, and lots of “new to them” clothes and shoes that were donated! WE THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!

Now that we are moving into fall there will be new adventures, new exciting things for them to experience, and we will keep you all posted along the way!

An Introduction

Welcome to our very first KKIDS, Inc. post!

I must say, this is exciting and terrifying at the same time. I am thrilled about the endless possibilities of where God will lead us. Our mission is simple(ish) – we just want kids to be safe.

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Many of the kids under our roof have lived through incredibly dangerous situations including face to face exposure to drugs (as in ‘within arms reach’ of heroin needles and baggies of crack), violence (as in ‘people I don’t know are fist fighting in my living room and there is blood all over’ or ‘I am disciplined with the buckle end of a belt across my back’ kind of thing), unsafe living conditions (like ridiculous fire hazards such as passed out adults leaving cigarettes on the sofa and setting curtains ablaze, nearby gunfire, and horrific bug infestations that cause all the furniture to have to be thrown out), and weapons of all kinds. Right where they are at. Within arms reach of kids under 10 years of age.

Our mission is to remove them IMMEDIATELY from that environment as fast as we can drive there. We want to be, or have someone be, one phone call and minutes away. We swoop them up and take them to our house where they are safe, clean, fed, clothed, and surrounded with love and support.

Our more extensive mission is to help them THRIVE!

Whether they remain with us for one night, one year, or one lifetime, it doesn’t matter to us! We will always look out for them and they will be in our hearts. We want to bridge the gap, to help be their protective ‘nest’ until they are ready to spread their wings and fly on their own.

And even then, we will do what our parents did (and still do) for us. Be there. Be there with a shoulder to cry on, help with a car or an apartment, advice, a homemade meal, whatever. These kids don’t have the luxuries of two parent households, or parents with any means to help them get started in life. Their caregivers are doing their best just to keep their heads above water and the kids are destined to repeat the cycle unless someone intervenes. We want to intervene and we ARE!

The truth is, we are stepping out in faith trusting that our meager efforts will be like the fishes and loaves… multiplied one hundred fold! And it would be terrifying if I thought I was doing it on my own.
I mean, who am I to think that I could possibly do something to impact our community and the lives of children and parents? Lord knows I’m not rich, and I don’t have any special qualifications. What I do have is a vast and unwavering love for kids, and I can’t bear to see them repeat the cycle of poverty, drugs, and violence. We have to break the cycle and if God can use me in some way, then I am willing.

I cherish each of you who are standing with us financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Every aspect of that is needed in order for us to succeed in changing the lives of children and bringing the light into the darkness.

I have to try.

Keeping Kids In Distress Safe

KKIDS, Inc. (Keeping Kids in Distress Safe) is a non profit organization and here is our mission statement:

Providing at-risk kids with safety, proper nutrition, clothing, supervised education, and practical life skills so they don’t perpetuate the lifestyle of poverty and government dependence.

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To be a community conduit, connecting those that have the means and ability to help with those who are desperately in need, focusing especially on single-income families with children.

To break the cycle! Kids learn what they see, live what they know, turn into the people they have observed, unless they are provided with a positive alternative or the adults are given help to overcome their obstacles.

IN DEPTH:
We aim to break the cycle of poverty, substance abuse, abandonment, unplanned pregnancies, criminal activity, and government dependence by providing at risk kids with a safe place to play, a safe place to learn and observe traditional family values and core commitments to community, education, and advancement, and a safe place when they are in crisis.

We want to encourage them to reach for their dreams, continue to invest in their lives well into their adulthood, and foster an attitude of gratitude that will ultimately lead them to pay it forward with other at risk children helping to break the cycle.

We want to hold them accountable for their own growth and development in a loving, safe, and fun environment. We love and nurture them, but our primary goal is to teach them how to navigate life on their own.

Our facility will also provide respite for struggling single parents with “at risk” kids who need guidance and direction, counselling, and/or intervention. Single working parents have one of the hardest jobs and truly need all the support and aid we can provide them.

Children in middle school are being offered drugs and alcohol as early as 5th grade, and because they have often observed the adults in their life using illegal substances, they are curious. Often times these at-risk kids have been sexually abused and use drugs and/or alcohol as a way to escape the emotional damage.

Teaching these kids at a young age that they have a safe place with trusted mentors to turn to, who are actively monitoring their social media and their after school activities can prevent the risk of addiction, early pregnancy, and other dangerous situations from developing.

By providing alternatives like art, dance, sports, life skills training, assisting the elderly, landscaping, swimming, pet care, and other physical options we can keep them entertained and active while also teaching them core values.