At KidsPeace, our mission statement explains how our goal is to give Hope, Help and Healing to children, adults and those who love them. As an employee that works directly with the children in mainly crisis situations, I strive to be more creative and effective than the day before. Typically, at KidsPeace every day will be something new and stimulating, exciting and impactful, difficult but rewarding, especially, when given the opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life. It’s truly remarkable.
Before my time at KidsPeace, I always knew that working with children was my dream but it wasn’t until I started at the KidsPeace Berks Campus and began working with our children, that I instantly knew it was my passion! The people that work here are great and the culture at KidsPeace is family-oriented but the children have made the biggest impression on my career decision. The children are coming from broken homes, abusive relationships, depressing socioeconomic backgrounds and situations that are not meant for kids! Sadly, it is not their fault that they are in this position. It is our responsibility to provide a safe haven, a structured environment where they feel safe, and sometimes a friendly, compassionate hug while saying nothing more than “I am here for you, we will get through this together.”
Outside of KidsPeace, these children are given labels, not opportunities to be successful. They are told they are a waste of time, a waste of an education, or simply don’t deserve a chance. In reality, they are just misunderstood children, who should be given a fair and equal chance at life. Almost daily, these children will face some type of crisis situation which could be mentally, physically or emotionally challenging. Most of the children that we provide services for will face taxing obstacles from the minute they wake up to the moment they get to rest for the night. That is why the approach we take while caring for children with mental and behavior health challenges is so important. They need guidance, structure, accountability but they also need compassion, to know their voice is heard, a snack when they’re hungry and most importantly, they need to know and understand that we will not disappoint them or give up on them the way people in their past may have.
Overall, KidsPeace is like a garden bed and the children are all the different and unique flowers that blossom on their own time. Magic Johnson once said, “All kids need is a little help, a little hope and somebody who believes in them.” KidsPeace believes in them, and I do too.
Christian Burggraf is Head of Crisis Response at KidsPeace’s facility in Berks County, PA