I watched carefully as the youth worker made breakfast with the children who stay at Casa Tepeyac. The worker is dedicated to working with the kids who are learning social skills while they stay at the short-term residential home for a couple of weeks. What struck me was how the youth worker gave the one of the children responsibility as they made pancakes. First, she demonstrated the technique of turning a pancake, but then gave the spatula to the child and said, “Now you try it.” We both observed as the child took pride in learning – the breakfast, in its simplicity, was truly a community experience. Everyone in the home took some responsibility in creating a “family” breakfast.
The Casa Tepeyac home is a gift of care for our neighborhood children and families. During the past several months it has been pretty much at capacity as children learn social skills that sometimes are taken for granted. Greeting others, following instructions, resisting peer pressure, …are just a few of the many social skills the children practice and try to learn to help them make positive choices in life.
Moreover, the children that stay at the home are children who I believe have a great capacity for leadership in the future. While some do not have a lot of adult guidance in their lives, and even a few do not have the experience or joy of knowing their mother or father, most have caring parents interested in learning the skills necessary to assure their children of a successful future. The children have energy and interest in life.
With advent of the new year, Casa Tepeayc is now in the hands of new directors, SOS Children’s Village of Illinois. It is no longer affiliated with Boys Town. Our parish is now collaborating with SOS which will provide more local resources available to our families. In particular, SOS is working to build additional longer term residences nearby, which will include transition opportunities for youth as they graduate from High School. Most important, SOS will continue to work with the staff of Casa Tepeyac and continue to accompany a vision to engage our entire community in the care of children.
God bless SOS Children’s Village and our neighborhood for the care being given to children and youth.
Fr. Bruce Wellems, CMF