Want to know more about Tracy Schindler's Dream?
You need to begin with Tracy Schindler's story! I was 14… I had Attention Deficit Disorder and a dysfunctional family that didn't have resources to figure out how to get along… lots of yelling/verbal abuse…some physical abuse. I rebelled and then ran away as I knew I should be treated better. Therapists later told me that I rebelled because if positive attention isn’t paid by parents, children will move on to negative attention as a substitute. Who knew?!
I couch surfed for 18 months while working at Pizza Hut in Quail Valley (my main source of food). I attended Dulles High School and Commissioner James Patterson was my principal at the time. I missed a lot of school due to working at Pizza Hut until 2am, not to mention the lack of a stable place to shower, change, sleep, etc… I finally went into Principal Patterson's office and told him I’d lost track of my missed classes. He called my parents to come and get me. They replied, "We don't know what to do with her! We can't make her follow the rules so she can’t come home!" Patterson was left with the very hard decision of needing to call Fort Bend County Juvenile Probation as there was no other choice for homeless youth then, even for non-offenders like me! Luckily, my grandmother showed up on my parents' doorstep…she had been looking for me for over a year! I was extremely lucky to able to move to South Carolina to live with her and finish high school, then on to college, and the rest of my life! During my time as a homeless teenager… I estimate I had no place to sleep at least two nights a week! When I was lucky, it was a friend’s house or car! I estimate there were NO days when I had three meals… and a third of the days, I had no food at all! I weighed 91 pounds when I moved to my grandmother's home! This story still makes me cry even now at the age of 48! I love my parents … my parents did the best they could with what they knew at the time. "Tough Love" was the "in thing" to do in the 80’s! I’ve raised my own three boys with our own family problems! Yet by the grace of God, I knew to seek help and was lucky enough to have the means (money and resources) and the support from friends and family to navigate the VERY difficult road of my family's mental health and wellbeing. It’s a wonder any family survives with the complex mental health issues, societal pressures and the crazy pace of today! When I think of what type of place needed to be in existence for kids like me…Parks Youth Ranch is it!!! I would have loved this place as a teenager! I love it now as an adult! It is such a blessing to watch the residents…these brave young souls… come rest and replenish here while the rest of the world gets its act together!