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New Years, 2012. Already?
A friend and I were talking a few days ago about getting older, and how time seems to accelerate with age. He told me that his elderly dad had recently remarked, “This has been the quickest life.” I am finding that to be more and more true myself.
Fortunately, throughout our lives we have chances to press the reset button, and the beginning of a new year is a natural time to do that. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions per se, but I do find myself deciding that some part of my life—usually related to self-discipline—will be different in the coming year. I have the tools to make it happen if only I will.
For the orphan, the abused and exploited child, the street kid, change is not just a matter of a decision and the self-discipline to follow through; it is about context. They are trapped in environments that do not give them the option of living life differently. What astounds those of us who work closely with these children is how very quickly they embrace new beginnings.
When children arrive for the first time at Hope’s City of Youth, it is usually in the back of a squad car. They have been taken off the streets or rescued from abusive homes or exploitative environments by the police. Given the history of the relationship between law enforcement and residents of the slums in Brazil, it is no surprise that the children come to us absolutely terrified. More often than not, we find them near hysteria, not knowing why they have been taken from their homes or their places of familiarity, and dumped in this new place.
But in a matter of days, we see a remarkable change, a new beginning for a lost child. Where there had been fear, we see confidence. Where there was pain, we see healing. Where there was fear, we see hope. It is almost impossible to describe the breadth and the depth of the transformation that takes place in these children.
What they need is a chance.
So this year, I will make a resolution: In 2012, I will change the context for a child. I will provide the tools, the environment, the help necessary to make at least one life different from what it is now.
Will you join me?

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