SELF ESTEEM SAMPLER
By Kay Walburger
Future Loving Relationships Depend on
Healing Children’s Wounded Hearts
Bill Hart founded Hart Community Homes, Inc. for abused and abandoned boys, ages 12-17, in March 1996.
By listening to his own heart Bill knew that abused and abandoned children have “wounded hearts” and that in their young lives the primary relationship with nurturing parents had failed. He also knew that children who have no reliable parent or caretaker have rage that they may not even know how to express seething inside them. Bill says, “The sad reality is that most of these children have been in the “system” since early childhood. Without the availability of residential group homes, these youngsters would most likely end up in the juvenile justice system, eventually resulting in lives of home-lessness, crime, drugs/alcohol, and prostitution.”
The mission of Hart Community Homes, Inc. is to provide a loving home for abused and abandoned children, giving them a safe, nurturing haven where education and healing is essential. Each child is guided, within a positive support system, to become a responsible, self-reliant adult with fundamental skills for a productive future.
Cari Hart, one of Bill’s daughters, joined the staff after graduating from college majoring in education. “It is so rewarding doing this work, especially when the boys return and say how important it was to be given the good start they received at Hart Homes.”
Talking to Cari, it was obvious that she has her heart and soul in this mission. “The first thing we do is talk to each boy to find out what his goals and desires for his own life may be. We then begin to prepare him for the success he hopes for, as soon as possible.
“Often we have to teach them the most basic things about feeding themselves three times a day or about personal hygiene. Some need to work on their social skills and if they are lucky enough, they are placed in a good foster home. Some children are so far behind in their schoolwork that we have to bring in tutors and bring them up to grade level. Some boys are eager to go to public school and play sports or participate in other school programs; other boys need more time to adjust in social settings.
“I personally believe that the unconditional love they receive from all 15 people who work with them here is the best part of their recovery,” reports Cari. “Everyone who is part of our program is completely invested in each boy’s personal successful living skills. We have an art therapist who helps them discover and explore their hidden rage and express it in a safe way that brings insight into the root of their pain and appropriate ways to release it. Every step of the way we guide them to be independent and as self reliant as possible. “They are responsible to make their beds, clean their rooms and do their own laundry. One night a week they learn to cook and prepare meals with the cooking staff. One day these daily living skills will be invaluable to their quality of life.
“We prepare them for Jr. Colleges and help them obtain scholarships and grants. Others may learn a trade like auto mechanics, etc. at ROP. It is vital they know that they can eventually take care of themselves and it’s a joy to see their self-esteem grow with each new accomplishment. Because we involve the boy in the process of their own program, they are more naturally excited about their own successes. This gives them a feeling of uniqueness that may have been stripped away while in the “system”.
“Besides the basics, we try to offer them enrichment programs, such as music, art, and sports. These are expensive programs and we are grateful to groups and individuals who believe such programs are vital to a well-rounded human being’s development and contribute time, money, and equipment/materials. We also encourage their spiritual growth by attending local churches of their choice.
“Most of all, as their wounded hearts heal, we hope their future relationships will be based on their new skills. This is their best chance for healthy and loving relationships with a family of their own. We want them to be good parents and break the family cycles of abuse and abandonment forever!” Perhaps the best skill we teach them is how to find and ask for help if something happens later. It is so important that they know life is full of challenges and they can get help when it may be needed. They never need to feel hopeless again!”
Bill Hart hopes that the community in general and individuals specifically will choose to come forward and join his vision of creating a supportive and protective community for all our children. His dream is to expand his homes to help more children and young adults as they re-enter the real world. Someday he wants to provide homes that will help families reunite after going through recovery programs. He wants families, parents and children, to come back together and heal the destructive dysfunctional cycles, which if not stopped, continue generation to generation to generation!!!!
Diana Shields, an Orange County Event Planner, is planning some unique special events and programs of general interest to the public and will donate the net proceeds to Hart Community Homes, Inc. She chose HCH because of their outstanding work and their credibility in the O.C. area with a proven track record.
Diana loves to sponsor life-enriching programs, events and expos and is even now contacting outstanding speakers, facilitators, and entertainers to fill a calendar for this next year. Her intention is to provide monthly events full of enlightening and fun experiences for the public’s enjoyment. It pleases her all the more to think that while she is doing the work she loves, she will be able to contribute money to help young children.
Like Diana, many people want to reach out and create change. The problem is most people are so busy with their own jobs and family commitments that they don’t know where to begin. Knowing that, Diana will be a catalyst to help other busy people find ways to assist, while personally and professionally enriching their own quality of life mentally and emotionally.
For information about Hart Community Homes, Inc., a calendar of upcoming events, or to volunteer or make a contribution, call Diana Shields (949) 856-2037.
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