The real-life experiences that appear in Pathways of Hope are told from information provided by case managers or their supervisors. This one is a letter received by a case manager from a state ward who was placed in the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Geneva.
“Today in group we learned about these lessons in life called ‘highways.’ We’ve been doing them for almost two weeks now. Today was our last day. [We were told to] write a letter to someone we appreciate.
“Most people wrote about their boyfriends. My first thought was you. Some people looked at me like I was crazy. I want you to know I appreciate you. I appreciate you trying to do what’s best for me. I’m thankful you got picked to be my case worker.
“These last few years have been stressful and I know I was a big part of it. I’m sorry for all the times I let you down or disappointed you. I really appreciate you never giving up on me. I appreciate you pushing me to my full potential and never letting me stop trying.
“Most of all, thank you for keeping your promise from day one. You said you’d stay with me until it was time for me to get off papers. You’re the only person who said you’d always be here and meant it. Sometimes I wonder if that’s why I mess up when I get so close. When I’m off papers, you’ll be gone. My tracker will be gone. Then what?
“Soon, I’ll be 18 . . . then 19. I know I don’t have much time before these little charges could turn into serious charges that could eventually get me into York. My biggest dream is college. My biggest fear is being my mother. In the end, all the choices are mine. When I think of you, those goals I have seem possible. I thank you for giving me hope. I never needed fancy clothes, that deck of cards, or Applebee’s. I needed you to be here for me and that’s exactly what you did. You were here through thick and thin. I thank you so much for everything.
“One day, I hope I’ll be in your shoes doing something good for someone else. You’re a good person and I’m thankful God put you in my life.
“P.S. . . . Although it’s difficult, I’m learning to accept the fact that someone is always going to be here. It’s time for me to grow up and start making responsible choices. I’m not so scared to move forward anymore. Thank you for giving me the push and support I needed.”