“Can I have some help?” It was an ice-cold day in mid-November and 30 youth and staff were at a ropes course hosted by the Boy Scouts of America. Although the ziplining provided many of the day’s thrills, it was the team building exercises that really had an impact on us. A favorite activity was the maze. The goal was for the youth to find their way through to the end of the maze, blindfolded, and without speaking except to ask, “Have I completed the maze” and “Can I have some help”. After a few minutes the majority of the group asked for help, but to no surprise, three of our strongest personalities, all 16-year old boys, continued for over 20 minutes, stubborn and not wanting to ask for help in a maze that, unbeknown to them, never had an end. As time expired, they were taken out of the maze and their blindfolds removed. To their surprise the entire group was standing off to the side, smiling, having watched the whole thing. The instructor explained, “Sometimes, no matter what you do, there will be problems that can’t be solved without help. Always try on your own first but then don’t be afraid to ask for help and accept it graciously.”
Like the boys in the maze, we try our best to accomplish all we can, but inevitably realize that we too must ask for help at times. This past year we have asked for the help of many, and because we have asked, we have received in so many incredible ways. The youth center now has a new kitchen, carpeting, and furniture. We have the wreath store in Haddonfield for a second holiday season as well. The youth have gained invaluable customer service skills, a great work ethic, and a pride in who they are, where they’re from, and what LUCY means to them. All of this was made possible due to the generosity of donors and volunteers like you. The staff and youth were even flown to Cincinnati for a 4-day leadership training to learn ways to make LUCY the best it can be. We are so appreciative and blessed by all of these opportunities, but it’s undeniable that our needs continue to grow and change.
With two full-time staff, LUCY has been able to:
- Serve 350 youth, ages 12-19, annually
- Offer daily programming
- Weekdays: afterschool tutoring, college prep and assistance, and evening workshops, speakers, and programs plus much more!
- Weekends: Trips to colleges, arts venues, ropes courses, forums, leadership trainings, retreats, overnights, ski mountains, rallies, community service, and more!
- Help 100% of the youth graduate from high school and 97% go onto college
- Begin programs focused on specific needs/interests: girls’ group, engineering club, youth leadership board, LGBT group, and a mentor program for LUCY graduates
Imagine what we could do with even more support and resources!
How can you help? Through your generosity during last year’s appeal, our therapeutic services have expanded: we’ve developed focused small group programs, and have been able to serve and refer all youth in crisis. Our growth, however, is limited due to the size of our staff. Though we have wonderful volunteers, they don’t always have the training or time needed to adequately address a myriad of problems that at-risk teens face each day. We can address these by building part-time support and increasing staff development and training. Will you help us?
We hope that you will consider giving today.
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!
Kristin Prinn, MSW, LCSW