What makes me get up every day and show up for work? 100 kids depending on me waking up to fight for them. With each sunrise. Monday through Friday. Week after week. And it’s not just me. I work with dozens of people who share the same convictions. The cohesiveness of my unit sustains me day after day; that I share this feeling with so many. We are a pack to be reckoned with as well. Not many can compete with our reputation as warriors for juvenile justice. Many don’t know a storm until they come up against us. We’re simply not intimidated by anyone when it comes to knowing the law and being on the right side of things. We all fight for the kids with the same amount of persistence and passion day in and day out because not only does their future depend on it, their present does as well.
The stress? It can be too much at times. Who could deny that? But, just think of the stress our clients are under and it quickly comes into better perspective. I’ve known all kinds of stress too in this job: broken system stress, in the field stress, traffic stress, testifying in court stress, death of clients stress… name it.
So why keep doing it, year after year? Simple: It is clear to me that clients depend on us to figure out how to meet the challenge of managing our own stress in ways that keeps us present to their situations. We cannot do service to the kids if we aren’t present and grounded within ourselves. My sister, the CEO of a longtime foster care agency in Philadelphia, always reminds me to bring back every conversation to what is in the best interest of the child. I consider that responsibility a privilege and an honor and therefore it is my pleasure to fight the good fight for kids who desperately need a voice. The system may be broken, but it will not break me nor stop me from continuing to fight for the kids.