Posted by: joshjasper | December 23, 2010

Dreams do come true

I woke up this morning vividly remembering a dream I had last night.  For nearly 3 years I worked at a place called the Florence Crittenton Center (FCC) in Los Angeles.  FCC was a residential facility for teenage girls and their children.  On any given day we housed 45 girls and 12 babies.  The girls came to us beaten and battered both emotionally and physically.  They regularly struggled and resisted the rules and structure that we provided them.

I was the third shift residential supervisor.  In short, my job consisted of supervising the employees charged with the responsibility of providing the direct care for the girls while acting as a counselor, mediator, and authority figure.

Every night that I arrived to work to relieve the second shift I was briefed by the outgoing supervisor as to the details of the day.  It was his eyes though that told the real story.  If it had been a hard day I could see the toll it had taken on him.  The moment I walked in the front door I could feel the energy in the agency, and more often than not, the energy felt chaotic.  Some nights you could cut the tension in the air with a knife.

My dream last night put me back inside the Florence Crittenton Center.  I was sitting on the floor of the mother’s lounge playing with the toddlers and talking to the girls.  They were telling me what they had been doing over the last 10 years when it hit me like a brick.  What I felt was something I had never felt before while at FCC and it was so incredibly refreshing.  I felt a sense of peace and tranquility throughout the building.  The chaos had evaporated.  The girls looked differently too.  No longer were they guarded, defensive, and angry.  I could see and feel the trust they now had for one another.  They were smiling and laughing out loud.  The pain that once crippled their well-beings was now gone.

And then it occurred to me.  The work that I had invested 3 years of my life in and the work that so many others put into helping these girls had paid off.  We couldn’t have possibly seen the growth while we were there, but now that I was back, I could see the transformation before my very own eyes, and it was awe-inspiring.

As I sat in bed this morning remembering this dream it got me thinking about Riverview Center’s vision of a community free of violence.  The dream acted as a great reminder for me that although we often see the worst in humanity on a daily basis now, we must remind ourselves that although it can be difficult at times to see the positive impact that we are making, the change that is happening is real, and is destined to lead us to the realization of our vision.

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Responses

  1. Josh,
    Thanks for writing about FCC. I moved on from there almost 6 years ago now but I frequently think about the girls we worked with and I pray that I may have said or did something that made a difference for even 1 girl. If that is the case, then my 2 years in the chaos will have had meaning and purpose. I discovered your blog tonight when I was doing a search on FCC trying to find out if they still exist or not. I admire your passion and perserverance for putting an end to violence in our society. I hope this note finds you happy and healthy.
    Sincerely,
    Teri Auman


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