Reflections from Jim
Jim Kelly – Executive Director and Founder of Covenant House New Orleans
During the Covid19 Crisis, Jim Kelly has been writing “Reflections from Jim”. Below is an excerpt from one of his writings. You can see more of his reflections here:
Many of us were blessed to grow up in loving families. Perfect, of course not. No family is. But the good far, far outweighed any negatives.
Sadly, that is not the world that our Covenant House youth have known. Instead, too many have repeatedly been told they are worthless—that they will never amount to anything.
Sheri, a former resident who now leads our human trafficking team, experienced years of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic and street violence:
“As a child, I never felt worthy of anything. I hid from my father—and the constant beatings. At school, I worried that people would find out what was happening to me at home, and I’d get in trouble. Then I ended up in the child welfare system… bouncing from one group home to another, from one facility to another. On the first Saturday of each month, we would gather in the cafeteria for potential foster care parents to ‘interview’ us… ask us questions… look us up and down. One or two kids would be chosen. For the rest of us? Rejection. Was I not smart enough? Was I not pretty enough? What was wrong with me? I had plenty of self-doubt—and absolutely no self-worth. Eventually, I ended up at Covenant House. Miss Archie, Miss Melba and Mr. Steve helped me to heal. They helped launch me on a new path.
It was the first time in my life I was truly proud of myself.
No matter how much counseling you receive; the scars are permanent.
I came back to work at Covenant House, believing I could reach these young women. I could truly relate to all they had been through. I am very proud at how successful I have been—and how successful our team has been.”
Despite her many accomplishments in fighting human trafficking, Sheri still has those days when she fills up with self-doubt—not believing in her own goodness and beauty.
Not believing in her worth.
The COVID-19 pandemic can be triggering for many of us: bringing up traumatic memories of child abuse, bullying, domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse, mental illness, and, of course, Katrina.
Yesterday’s Washington Post reported on a new mental health study. Louisiana ranked only behind Mississippi in our rate of clinical anxiety and depression in the midst of the Coronavirus.
What better time for each of us to reach out to our parents, our siblings, our children, our close friends and tell them how much we love them—and how proud we are of them.
“You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…” Isaiah 43:4
Every day, or almost every day, I tell Sheri that I love her and that I am proud of her.