They ran away from home. The Virginia State Police reports that 74 juveniles were arrested within the city of Charlottesville during 2015 for running away from home.
The word “home” connotes feelings of nurturance and safety, but that’s not true for everyone. Can you imagine feeling like there was no other way to solve your problems than to leave home?
The teen years are difficult. This is even truer if there are disruptions in the family such as divorce or remarriage, substance use or abuse. Every day, ReadyKids’ two teen counselors - Dee Keller and Jordan Leahy – are in the community meeting with teens and families to help keep teens safe and off the streets.
A Q & A with Ready Kids Teen Counselors
Q: What does the Teen Counseling Program at ReadyKids do?
Dee: The Teen Counseling Program helps local teens and their families find stability. We are a short-term counseling program – on average about 3 months – that support teens who are facing a wide range of challenges and are vulnerable to running away or being kicked out of their homes.
Q: What does a crisis situation look like for a teen?
Dee: This could look like teens or families experiencing feelings of being overwhelmed and at a loss of what to do next; there may be high tension or conflict at home or even teens that are looking for a space to process all the stressors of their lives.
Jordan: For teens, a crisis is a pretty inclusive term. It could mean everything from feeling overwhelmed by a disagreement with a friend, to witnessing or experiencing domestic violence or abuse in the home.
Q: What does the Teen Counseling Program provide for teens and their families?
Dee: We provide access to counseling by being flexible in meeting teens at school, in-home, our office or the community. We not only provide individual or family counseling, but also a 24/7 hotline to teens, families or professionals looking for support, guidance or connections to other community supports.
Q: How does the work of the Teen Counseling Program contribute to the future of Charlottesville?
Dee: We hope that the work of TCP impacts Charlottesville by creating more connections and promoting safer environments for our teens and families. We hope that teens feel they are not alone in the challenging moments and that they feel more stable and ready to take the next steps in their journeys.
Jordan: The city's youth are the city's future. TCP supports them by helping them build resilience in times of struggle, so that they can do the same in their relationships and communities in the future.