11 July, 2016
Annually, Ryther welcomes the summer with a Juneteenth celebration on the final day of school. An outdoor bar-b-que lunch, songs from the Total Experience Gospel Choir, along with games and activities speak to the possibilities of the summer that lies ahead. While most children welcome their summer vacation with happy hearts and anticipation, for many of the children in our Cottage Program at Ryther, summer can bring very different feelings and images. For them, unstructured and oftentimes unsupervised days at home bring an uneasy feeling and some sad memories. Their summer break meant more stress on their family, greater possibilities of missed meals when school breakfasts and lunches weren’t available, and more time at home where violence and addiction may have made each day unpredictable and frightening. The sunshine merely deepened the darkness of the strife they faced at home.
In the Cottage Program, staff work with each child to face those fears and memories and begin to heal. Using therapeutic interventions designed specifically for traumatized children in a warm, safe, and nurturing environment, they help each child begin to step away from the dread and hurt, and begin to find hope and develop small expectations that things can get better. One of the best things we witness at Ryther campus is a child in discovering the small joys that summer brings – blue skies, water play on hot days, picnic meals outside and time to be a child.
We could not help these children move away from their pain to find those simple joys without you. Your dedication and support allows us to provide the individualized and evidenced supported treatment that helps bring a sense of renewal, hope and positive expectation to the children at Ryther.
Thank you for bringing summer, and all the good that comes with it, to the children at Ryther.