A week ago I heard that the Rogers County Youth Services emergency shelter may close. My heart immediately sank. As I fought back tears, I asked why? The reply was "money". Well, lack of, that is. Let me give you a bit of background...
I came to know RCYS about 5 years ago when I was manning a booth at our local fair. New Life Baptist Church had a booth and we gave out drinks, Bibles, a handshake, prayer, or whatever we could do. A young man walked up and I struck up a conversation. As we talked, I found out that he was a resident of a local youth shelter. He said that he was concerned about where he would go if he were to die, and I had the awesome privilege of leading him to the Lord. I asked if he would like me to visit, and that was the beginning of my work with the shelter. I asked to be able to come up weekly, and was welcomed. I met so many kids that really needed a helping hand, and needed a touch from the Lord. I have prayed with countless kids up there, and had the honor of delivering groceries, supplies, and even a freezer that was donated by a person in our church! It is such a delight to see the look in these kids' eyes when they get Christmas gifts from perfect strangers! Michelle and I even took a young man in for Christmas a few years ago that had no family to spend it with. Much to his delight, he even had presents under the tree Christmas morning! I could write all night about the stories of kids that have been residents at the shelter but I need to tell you how we can stop this tragedy from happening.
You see, the recession that we have been in the past few years has taken its toll on state funding. RCYS is one of the last few shelters left in this part of the state and they are in imminent danger of closing down permanently. Most others haven't survived the budget cuts. Well, my friends, I say that the buck stops here! What if all the shelters were to close? Where would the kids go then? To the streets to do whatever they can to get by. Some examples would be selling dope, prostitution, and human trafficking. They would go down paths that would lead to sure failure and utter destruction. Are we going to stand by and let this happen? I say NO!! We cannot. I know that there are many people that have money that they can donate to the cause. All donations are tax-deductible. I gave a donation yesterday. Will you consider giving to this very worthy cause??
We will be hosting a fundraiser on Saturday, Dec. 18th in Claremore. I will update with a location & time as I finalize plans. Come on out and support RCYS!!
I believe in RCYS. I believe in youth, they are tomorrow's city leaders, police chiefs, firemen, senators, mayors, business leaders, farmers, shelter workers, and even future Presidents. I believe in their future, will you?