Ground Zero is blessed to work with many incredible volunteers who are passionate about helping teenagers navigate their formative years. One volunteer couple, Rick and Bobbie, have been serving at Ground Zero for a couple years. Rick is former military and drives a school bus and Bobbie is a nurse. Rick and Bobbie were empty nesters with three grown adult children.
That all changed this year when they welcomed three siblings into their home. Rick first connected with these kids on the school bus and later again with the oldest sibling, Da'maiyah, at Ground Zero. Earlier this year, the siblings had been separated after an intervention from social services and were placed in different foster homes. After discussion with Da'maiyah, and learning more about the situation, Rick and Bobbie stepped in and opened their home so all three siblings could be together. Rick and Bobbie have been caregivers for several months and it’s been a wonderful experience for them.
We recently visited with Rick to hear more about how things have been going and what ultimately gave he and Bobbie the desire to open their home?
Rick said, “Bobbie and I have been volunteering with the teens at Ground Zero and we really enjoy it. We love what Ground Zero offers. It’s a place for teens to go, feel safe, and build relationships with caring adults and other peers. They don’t preach at the teens. They share the love of Christ and give them opportunities to know Him more. Many of the teens we interact with at Ground Zero come from rough home lives. They have a lot of trust issues, which I personally understand. Things weren’t easy for me as a teenager. I was in a lot of trouble and running around a lot in the streets. God used the military to help me get my act together and life on track. God has been good to our family. When Bobbie and I heard about Da'maiyah's situation and how upset she was that her siblings had been separated, we decided to do whatever we could to help bring these kids back together. Thankfully, social services allowed us to become their temporary caregivers. For a few months we had all three kids, but currently we only have Da'maiyah. Social services granted permission for all three kids to go back home with mom, but Da’miaya said she wanted to stay with us.”
We asked Rick how things were going with Da'maiyah and what he and Bobbie hoped for her future as she is now in her senior year of high school? “Things have been going very well. We had an awesome summer! We took Da'maiyah to see our children and grandchildren who are spread out across the country serving in the military. We visited Ohio, Hawaii, and Washington State. It was an incredible experience for Da'maiyah and she fit right in with all of our family. Da'maiyah has been caring for her little brother and sister for many years. Now that everyone is safe and things have become more stable, it’s time for her to be a teenager. Bobbie and I want her to enjoy what’s left of her teenage years. We’ve noticed she laughs a lot more and seems more relaxed and calmer. Her teachers at school have noticed big changes in her attitude and overall wellbeing. Since living with us, she has been attending youth group, continuing activities and student leadership at Ground Zero, and attending church with us. We see her growing in her faith journey. She’s a bright girl with a bright future ahead of her. Our biggest hope for her future is that she can become independent and not reliant on the system. We are teaching her how to manage her finances and providing her opportunities to explore future goals. We’ve been discussing college, but also discussing the military. She’s met with recruiters and seems very interested in a military career. No matter what direction she takes, Bobbie and I are here for her. She has a great ability to influence others and is growing as a student leader. We thank God for connecting our paths and look forward to seeing how He continues to lead all three children according to His purposes.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” - Jeremiah 29:11