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  • Writer's pictureFather Lance W. Harlow

The Hard Pavement

"Cet enfant ne se sentait jamais si bien que dans la rue. Le pavé lui était moins dur que le coeur de sa mère."

In case your French is a bit rusty, this quotation is from Victor Hugo's novel, Les Misérables. It refers to the 11-year old Gavroche who lives on the streets of Paris because his home-life is wretched. His parents have no interest in or love for him. My translation reads: "This child never felt so good as when he was on the street. The pavement was softer than his own mother's heart."

This is a sad image of how life can be in some families. Parents with no apparent love for their children for a variety of reasons and children who cannot bear the absence of that love and go in search of it elsewhere. This phrase from the novel has haunted me for days. It reminds me of the homeless youth and adults with whom I have worked over the years. Their search for love in all the wrong places is always rooted back to their childhood.

Taking care of children with broken hearts is difficult work. Taking care of foster children, homeless youth, or adopted children requires a lot of love from those to whom they have been entrusted. That is the mission of the St. Nicholas Project to collaborate with the Kurn Hattin Homes for Children who have performed that mission for over 127 years. Kurn Hattin opened thirty years after Les Misérables was first published in Europe. But whether it's 19th Century Paris or 21st Century Vermont, the stories of Hugo and your own personal observations of families in trouble, continue to strike us at the most compassionate core of our soul.

The donors to The St. Nicholas Project are helping boys and girls like Gavroche. The need for adults whose hearts are moved by love never ends. That's why your donation to the Kurn Hattin Homes is a work of love. Not just philanthropy. It is the concrete expression of a donor whose heart is moved by love to say: "Let me help ease your burden."

Please make a donation today to the children's home by clicking on the Donate icon above for the boys and girls like Gavroche--and perhaps for your neighbors down the street. Merci beaucoup!

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