Father Lance W. Harlow
You Have to be Ready to Run
I didn't know why the little boy always carried his backpack with him. It was stuffed to the hilt. And, so, one day I asked him if he got tired of lugging it around. He said that when he and his family were homeless and sleeping on sidewalks they had to be ready to run in a moment's notice if other homeless people were trying to steal their stuff or if the police had to move them.
I was shocked that this little boy, no more than 2nd or 3rd Grade, had more street smarts than I did. You grow up quickly when you and your family have to live by your wits, cunning and survival instincts.
Fortunately, I had met this boy while he was living at the Kurn Hattin Homes for Children. There, he no longer had to worry about sleeping on sidewalks, begging for food, stealing and not having access to bathrooms. He no longer had to worry about his parents and siblings being safe or dealing with that constant anxiety that comes from not knowing how to get out of a crisis.
There are countless other families whose lives have been saved by the Kurn Hattin Homes for Children and their dedicated staff who for more than 127 years have opened their doors to families in crisis, performing a vital, charitable service that few other organizations in Vermont do. It is for the accomplishment of this mission, that The St Nicholas Project and its donors remain committed to spreading the good news of the children's home and their work.
I often think about that little boy who, by now, is at least 28 years old. I wonder what he looks like, what he does for work, if he has a family and if he has a stable home of his own. I wonder if he admits to being homeless as a child and how the Kurn Hattin Homes changed his life. I also wonder if he still carries a backpack.
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