Denise's Prayer from the National Day of Prayer
Hear our prayers this morning for all those who suffer the pain of poverty or homelessness. We pray especially for the children, the 225 children in our very own school district who live in cars or motel rooms, those crammed in small rooms because a room is all their family can afford to rent.
Hear our prayers for those who struggle with mental illness. Those whose battles rage endlessly in their minds and who find no relief…no calm… no quiet…ever.
Hear our prayers for the orphan and the 430,000 children living in foster care in America …who live with the daily reminders of being unwanted, of having no place to call home…having no parent to provide refuge, they live in the deepest loneliness
Hear our prayers for the immigrant and the refugee seeking safety and peace, those seeking employment and decent living conditions
And God, we pray for us too. We pray for the wisdom and the courage to remain awake and steadfast in the work that You call us to. We pray for the courage to speak out on behalf of those who have no voice…the courage to use our voices and our every vote for those in poverty. Give us the courage to battle greed in all its forms and to fight against the injustices that abound today. Give us the courage every day to live out loud and on purpose so that those who struggle will know that they really are Your very own.
Oh God, we continue to ask you to heal what is broken, redeem what has been lost, and to help us to Heal the World.
May is a very important month for the staff at Harbor House. May is both Foster Care Awareness Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. How real these issues are, daily in the work of Harbor House.
Today, there are more than 437,000 children in foster care in America. 55,000 of those are in California. An astounding 36% of California foster youth become homeless within 18 months of aging out and 46% do not graduate from high school. So many of the most tragic stories in our local community have come from children who aged out of foster care, straight into homelessness.
As many of you know, we have recently opened a home for transitional age foster youth, called “Pi House.” Because of the relationship between kids aging out of foster care into homelessness, Harbor House is working closely with a number of young people entering young adulthood without support. Many who do not qualify for Pi House are still very much in need. We believe that one of the best ways we can have an impact on homelessness is by helping to improve the success rate of these young people who are so much at risk, before they become homeless.
In honor of Foster Care Awareness Month, a few of our Pi House youth gave me some quotes about what our work has meant in their lives.
Juan says “Pi House has given me so much opportunity. I am grateful for
not being alone anymore, not feeling like a single fish in the ocean.” Juan already has a driver’s license and is getting ready to transfer to a four-year university. He also has two part time jobs.
James says “I am one of the boys at this beautiful home in Thousand Oaks. I would like to say that this house has helped me a lot. I came here from a tough situation, especially being homeless with so many hardships. Now I feel safe, and I am comfortable. This place is truly a blessing.” James has two jobs in local restaurants and is working on getting his driver’s license.
P.J. says “I am one of the boys living at Pi House and this house has given me an opportunity to work toward my goals of going to college. It has also given me the opportunity to get my driver’s permit and now I’m working on
getting my driver’s license. I have a steady fulltime job and a place to call home.” PJ is working hard and looking for a better paying full time job while practicing his driving skills.
Mental Health is the number one issue we face in working with those who are chronically homeless. Finding them housing is a daily struggle and, in most cases, there is nowhere to house them. There are no mental hospitals or family or friends to take in the vast majority of those we work with. These are fragile people who cannot fend for themselves, and they are living daily at the mercy of strangers.
We thank those who support us because this work is so important, and it would be impossible without you. We are so grateful that the unhoused, the foster youth, and the mentally ill in our community have strangers like you in their corner.
I pray that if you are not contributing to this work and those who are affected by it, you will consider making this a cause you support. And, as always,
we continue to ask God to heal what is broken, redeem what has been lost, and to help us to Heal the World.