What Does a Miracle Look Like?

I was in a meeting this week where I was asked how we measure success at the PARC. I listed the indicators that we use; get a job, get a place to live, go to rehab, enroll in school or reconcile with their family. These are measurable and provide numbers for the statistics that are so often needed in this line of work, but we believe that the true success we see at the PARC can't be measured.

Kyle has been coming to the PARC for several weeks. He is 18 and has been on a 'rocky road' to say the least. As we have gotten to know him a little bit we have learned that he has been kicked out of his High School, Boys Ranch and has been trespassed from the Resource Center. Kyle has an anger issue. We have tried to meet him where he is while still requiring him to meet the expectations we have here at the PARC. Let's just say we have had many "converstions" with Kyle.

Last week it was time for class and it became the usual struggle. When I approached him to tell him he needed to go to class he stood up and gathered his things. "Kyle" I said, "You can't come back today if you don't go to class." He became sullen and angry and told me that going to class should be a choice. I reminded him that coming to the PARC was his choice, but when he is here he needed to adhere to our expectations. He left, but was so angry that when he got outside he threw his crutches in to the middle of the street. As Terry recovered his crutches I told Kyle to take a day off and think about whether he wanted to come to the PARC or not.

A couple of days later Kyle walked in the door. When it was time for class he got up and went. THAT was a huge step. Yesterday the class was an art class called 'Painting with Scissors." As Kyle worked on his project he began to get positive feedback on his work. His face began to brighten and he started having conversation. We watched his countenance change. Later in the day he brought the painting over to us and showed us what he had done. He smiled as he shared with us what it symbolized.  One side was completely black and the other had a cross on it. "It's the fight between good and evil", he said.  Kyle had changed. He was proud of what he had accomplished. When he walked away I looked at our staff and I said, "THAT was a miracle. We just watched him change right before our eyes."

It may seem small, but we believe that change happens from the inside out. At the PARC we believe that relationship and productivity change those who are homeless and hopeless. It sounds too simplistic, but we see it's power every day. You never run out of chances. You can always come back when you are ready. We don't know what Kyle's 'next' will be or if he will be one of our "measures of success," but we do know that yesterday Kyle found value and believed in himself. It's a start. The journey continues. I am so glad that you share this journey with us.