I have been working at Hill Country Youth Ranch full-time (More than 3 years)
The children. The children are amazing. They can act/react in fear sometimes because of where they've been, but the moments of vulnerability and tenderness are worth everything else. I've felt more love from them than maybe any other group of people I've been around. To have the chance to love these kids through their formative years, when others didn't want to or didn't know how, trumps a lot of the challenges that are faced here. All of these staff love these children so much, and will fight for them, and sacrifice so much. It's an honor to be a part of them. And when it gets down to it, they will always help each other when asked. We share a common experience here and you'll find many other people here who "know what it's like" and can help comfort and restore on those difficult days. As far as childcare goes, this place is unique. Many state workers and CASA workers have noted the same. There is a loving, family atmosphere here that is irreplaceable. Any family has all kinds of unique individuals, but when you recognize the value of diversity, it's a beautiful thing.
It is easy to feel alone and isolated. There are a lot of things to keep you busy, whether you're on house parent staff or otherwise. Employees must remind themselves to keep interests outside of work, and make an effort to reach out to other staff, and stay physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy. As with any place, it really is what you make it. As you are working with abused children, there can be a lot of negativity to feed. Or, you can feed the incredible amount of positive that's blooming all the time.
Advice to Management
These guys step in and do things beyond the call of duty all the time. They support the staff and work overtime, and much of that can go unnoticed.
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