Newl Dotson, MA
When children first come to Harvest they are often in this category. They have a poor work ethic with no motivation for self-improvement. Anything that takes a little effort is often met with hesitation and resistance. Upon admission, residents are usually at least two grades behind in school—sometimes more. Parents have failed to provide educational guidance and assistance. Doing homework and studying for tests is a foreign concept. The idea of getting a job and working for what you need and want is also a strange idea to most of our kids. They have either been “spoiled rotten” with everything handed to them; or they have grown up in families that live off of the welfare system. When we tell the kids that they will earn an allowance for a job well done, or they must get a job when they become teenagers we hear, “Are you kidding?” or “This is stupid.”
Teaching our children a positive work ethic is one of our main goals. We want them to know that hard work pays off. When our children are struggling, we work diligently with the schools to help them catch up and excel. We have a daily communication tool with our children’s teachers, and every afternoon time is spent in homework and study. Last summer a 13-year old boy, we will call Brad, came to live at Harvest. He missed over 40 days of school last year and was failing three classes. This caused him to fail the 7th grade for the year. Living at Harvest, with houseparents who love him and invest time in his success, Brad attended school every day and made the A/B Honor Roll this year. This is a story that repeated itself with many of our residents this year. As a result, they were rewarded with $25 for their achievement.
Younger residents have household responsibilities. They clean their rooms, wash dishes, clean bathrooms and other things around the house. When they do a good job, they are rewarded with an allowance that they can spend however they choose. Older teens participate in Independent Living Skills training. We want them to know what it is like to work and earn a living for themselves. We teach them how to apply and interview for jobs and help them locate employment in our community. Some will work on lawn crews, in grocery stores, or fast food restaurants. The goal is to teach them that the Lord expects us to work and earn a living for our families. When payday comes they put at least half of their earnings in a savings account at a local bank—which accumulates for the purchase of a car or other major things they may need.
We are proud of the accomplishments of all of our children this year in school, and those who are working hard this summer to make a contribution to society. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if every parent taught their children “that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands” (I Thessalonians 5:5)? If you or a family you know has children or teens who are struggling with academic or behavior issues, please call me. Harvest does make a difference and we may take children from any state! We are here to serve you and children in need.