“I Can’t Make Y’all Leave Me”

Posted on by Gracehaven

By Carrie Rapp
Gracehaven Community Case Manager

When I first met “Vanessa,” she was the kind of girl who is the hardest for me to meet with. She was suspicious and mean. It’s a stretch to even say we “met” together for the first four months. I would drive two hours to see her only to have her refuse to see me, or agree to only a few minutes of time together. She was in detention, and she was very comfortable telling me how she felt. 

“I don't want to see you anymore,” she said, eyeing me up and down.

“Really?” I asked, “How come?”

“I don't like it when you come and see me.”

Our conversation progressed for a few minutes until we landed on a compromise - I would keep coming to see her for another month, she would agree to spend a full hour with me, and then she can decide at the end of the month if she still wanted to meet. In that month I brought cards, journals, games, almost anything I could think of. It took about three more weeks, but eventually Vanessa began to warm up a bit. It took about three more months before she opened up about her experiences. Then she had the opportunity to come live in the Gracehaven residential home. Now, Vanessa and I meet every week. We laugh together and talk openly about her thoughts and feelings. She wants to talk with me when she is upset, and lets me into her deepest and scariest pain. She even asked me about spiritual matters, and decided to begin a relationship with Christ.

One day, in her matter-of-fact way, she said to me, “Carrie, I have a secret skill.” I asked her what it was, and she said, “I can make anyone go away. I can be mean and ungrateful, and I can make anyone quit working with me." Then she continued, “But not you! I can't make you leave me! And it's not just you - all the Gracehaven staff.” She went on to list staff by name - a few RAs here, the Director there – “There's something different about y'all! I can't make y'all leave me."

Girls like Vanessa are all over the city -- and all over the state -- desperately in need of someone that they “can't get rid of.” We are proud to make these kids our Gracehaven family, and Gracehaven family is forever.

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