“I have never carved a pumpkin or gone trick or treating.”
“I have never had a birthday party or my own cake”.
“Santa Claus didn’t stop at our house.”
“I have never seen the mountains or snow.”
“I have never played a sport.”
“I don’t know how to swim.”
“I have never been to the beach.”
“I hate school – I am stupid – I can’t learn.”
“I have never been on a vacation or traveled to another state.”
“I have never received a gift.”
“I have never planted flowers in the spring.”
“I have never had a pet.”
“I have never had a best friend to share my heart and my secrets.”
“I have never met good people, only bad ones.”
I have heard each of these statements first-hand from girls who have called Courage House their home. The children who become a part of our Courage Worldwide family have had their innocence and childhoods stolen from them. Most of our girls did not have the luxury of being a child – innocent and protected by those who say they love you. They were robbed of laughter and of play. Abuse, neglect, violence and sexual exploitation are their early experiences and the memories they carry into each new day. Enduring pain and trauma at such an early age leaves little space for what we consider normal childhood experiences and rites of passage. First kisses, organized sports and prom dates are something most of our girls forfeit through no choice of their own.
I mourn these simple losses, these firsts for my girls as well as I mourn their lack of love, exploitation, loss and trauma. It breaks my heart – my mother’s heart. What I gladly provided for my own children lies in the “never/ever” category for these young ones. A home filled with love, family vacations, joyous holidays and even a refrigerator filled with food, remains a fantasy or a dream for these children until they come home to Courage House – then their stories change.
“I would be dead if I had not come here.”
“I didn’t know people like you existed.”
“I love my room.”
“The horses are my best friends.”
“The dogs comfort me when I have nightmares.”
“My birthday party was beyond my wildest dreams.”
“I am smart – I want to go to college!”
“I didn’t believe the seeds we planted would really grow – just like me.”
“You love me better than my family.”
I have also heard each of these statements; months after Courage House becomes a girl’s home. This is why we do what we do at Courage Worldwide. It is what we invite you to be a part of – changing the endings of their stories – changing the world, one individual at a time.
I pray that you and your family will have a blessed holiday season filled with much love and laughter. Thank you for being a part of our Courage Worldwide family and for giving to the dream of Courage House. We would humbly ask that you consider making a year-end, tax deductible donation to our vision of bringing a home to every city in the world that needs one for its most vulnerable victims. Our generous matching donors will match your gift up to $25,000! Your return on that investment (ROI) is a changed life. Merry Christmas!
Founder and CEO, Courage Worldwide