I was blessed to be invited to a graduation Open House today. It was at a local social services agency, for foster kids who were graduating from high school. A bunch of happy, smiling faces for what should be a completely normal part of any American kid's life.
Except, of course, it is not. These are kids who have had to overcome huge obstacles: getting bounced around in foster care, drug and alcohol abuse (maybe theirs, maybe a parent's), having adults let them down (over and over again), the embarrassment of being a 'foster kid', and other horrors added to the horrors of getting through high school. Yet here were 10 kids that had overcome all that, getting a piece of cake and a piece of paper that basically said, "All right! You did it!'
There were a lot of people in that room that deserved a piece of cake and a piece of paper: foster parents, social workers, siblings (whether biological or foster), therapists, teachers and a host of other people who basically acted as cheerleaders for a bunch of kids who needed them. And so they cheered. And listened and yelled at and cajoled and worried. Whatever it took to get that kid in that room to that piece of cake.
Applause, applause: for all those kids and all the people that helped get them there. If you know of a kid that could use a piece of cake and some applause, give it to them. It is hard enough being 17 or 18; not having anyone there to witness and applaud the small victories along the way makes it unbearable.