Enter how yesterday played out...
This summer I started working at Residential Treatment Center (RTC) where kids come who are on their last chances. These kids are coming from the "system" or from jail. They have behavior (bx) issues or mental health issues. I am what's called a Direct Care Professional aka DCP. In other words I work directly with the kids, help them to program, go to school, etc.
I should have know that Friday the 13th would not be a good day at work but I had no idea what was about to happen. This week I'm what's called a "Float". This means I'm not assigned a dorm or a classroom. I take kids from place to place, from class to nursing for their meds, run errands, and most importantly I help keep the kids safe. If there is a restraint or AWOL I am there to assist in any way. Being the float can be nice at times but not yesterday!
I started off my shift by talking to one of my co-workers who had just returned to work after a few days. He and his girlfriend had recently had a baby. My co-workers sister (25) was driving out to see his baby when she was hit and killed by a car. He had spent the last few days planning her funeral and being strong for everyone else in his family. I've thought about him lately and wanted him to know he was in my thoughts and prayers. Then the day began as usual...
As a staff we had just transitioned the kids to their classrooms around 8:30 am. I was sitting in the courtyard outside the "comfort room" (seclusion-padded walled-room) trying to get kids to go to class. Mind you it was already around 112 degrees outside so I was already sweating. After about 15 minutes of school one of our boys runs out of class climbs the fence and somehow gets onto the roof. This is a problem. This is an even bigger problem b/c he is on suicide watch. So long story short he is talked into coming down and we all think that will be the highlight ( or lowlight) of the day--boy were we wrong.
Next came the 4 AWOLS, 2 that actually left the grounds, and 2 that attempted but failed (there would be 9 more AWOL attempts before my shift ended). Again the temperature was around 115 at this point in the day so you can imagine how hot it was for the staff and kids. While all this was going I was involved in a restraint of a girl, then another girl found kid scissors and cut her arm, all at the same time. So once I was out of the restraint, I started handing out gloves to staff, keeping my eye on other kids and so forth. At that point we had 7 staff in the school courtyard.
By the time the end of my shift rolled (3:00 pm) around I might as well have been showering in my sweat! I was exhausted, caught off guard by all the commotion, and relieved that I would be leaving soon. I had definitely earn my money's worth for the day (and then some).
The silver lining to my day happen later that night when I was contrasting my life (and some of my current hardships) with the lives of the kids I work with and I truly couldn't complain! The Lord has blessed me immensely. My best friend came over, we chatted, and then I talked to him about my life, he talked to me about his life, and in the end I was so grateful for his listening ears and heart. I went to bed feeling renewed. I chanted to myself, "tomorrow is a new day!"