Oh Happy Day!  I just woke up at 4:30 AM and I had to put on a pair of socks, turn off the ceiling fan, close the window and find a blanket… I was cold!!!  It’s the first day of fall and my temperature app says its 57 degrees!  So I just blended up my Chocolate Slim Fast Smoothie, put on my pink robe and I’m ready to have my monthly chat with you all!  By the time you read this our Fall Luncheon will have happened and I know it’s going to be fantastic!  Report on that will be next month!  Pictures will be on our web site.

Our kids that started school are into their first 6 weeks grades already!  Three or four of our young men ran away (or as I say, “had to do more research”) in the first month but they have returned and are back for a “reset” or “do over!”  We are all about second chances…more like a dozen second chances!  They have had so much trauma in their lives that their survival pattern is to quit and run away when they are afraid, confused or just don’t want to do something as simple as “set the table!” Remember that night we had all that lightening, thunder and a rain storm?  One of them actually ran away THAT night!  Unbelievable, right?

I was at our CA Association of Child and Families Services Administrative conference for the week of Labor Day.  Our Keynote speaker was a young man from OK named Josh Shipp.  He had been in MANY foster homes as a kid and now is 35, married, with 2 kids and goes all over the US speaking to groups like us to give us a dose of HOPE as we work with kids like him.  You can google him, find him on You Tube or go on Tedx Talk and listen to him. He told us “His Story and his Strategy” and how ‘’ONE CARING ADULT can change the life of a kid!”  His story was pretty typical of an abused and highly traumatized and dysfunctional childhood, which got him into the foster care system.  His strategy was how to get terminated or kicked out of every foster home he was placed in.  He became a master at developing and implementing his strategy with one family after another….until he got to Rodney’s home!  Rodney, his wife and kids just would NOT give up on him, no matter which buttons he pushed in ALL of them, at school, in the neighborhood, etc. He received a standing ovation at the end of his talk.  ONE CARING ADULT became the buzz as we all spent time together in seminars, lunch, meetings, etc.  I have included his message with our staff, foster parents and kids every day since I came back to work.  Actually Josh and his wife are renting a big billboard in their town to celebrate ONE CARING ADULT…..Rodney, and how grateful Josh is for the fact that his strategy finally didn’t work and he chose to receive love and a family to belong to FOREVER!  Now he says, “Every kid is ONE CARING ADULT away from being a Success Story!”  That’s what we are doing at Ray of Hope 24-7!  We have 75 CARING ADULTS working at the Ranch, 40-45 couples of CARING ADULTS providing Foster Care and Adoption to our kids, and 4 CARING ADULTS overseeing our young men at the Transitional Living Home……EVERYDAY!!!!  Another quote from Josh is, “Your imperfections make you human, your humanity makes you influential!”  THAT’S what I’m talking about!

YOU, too, are ONE CARING ADULT that makes a difference as YOU partner with us in your giving, praying and caring for us at RAY OF HOPE!  I thank you in advance as you read this and decide to write a check to help us pay the bills.  This month we are replacing our Prius and are looking for a slightly used minivan as we transport our kids all over the State!  During those 2-3 hour trips our staff have quality time with our young men….ONE CARING ADULT for 2-3 hours of uninterrupted time as they sit in the passenger seat make a huge difference in having our kids develop a NEW strategy of how to live by becoming better, not bitter!