Monday, August 11, 2008


Well, it's official.  I don't know why I have been hesitant to write about it but... I got a job. Maybe I was hesitant because I didn't really want to get a job. But now that I have one, I am really loving it. I am working at Excelsior Youth Center. Here's a blurb from the web page to give you an idea of what it is:

“They arrive with little more than a history and an attitude. Many have endured more pain in their short lives than adults do in a lifetime. We change that. We offer a home where girls can be truly safe, where structure means security, and where discipline results in development. We transform young lives, directing and guiding them from a past of tragedy to a future full of possibility and, ultimately, triumph.Excelsior Youth Center is a residential treatment program created in 1973, serving girls ages 11-18 with emotional and behavior difficulties. We are committed to the treatment and education of young females to enhance their successful reintegration into their families and their communities.”

Excelsior is a residential treatment center for girls, only 1.2 miles from my house, that is serving around 180 girls, and I am a direct care counselor. Which basically means I am the cottage mom while on duty. I live with them and do everything a mom would do for them while on duty. I am working 3 nights a week (3pm - 12am) in the Phoenix cottage. The cottage I am working in is the "transitional" cottage. Meaning these girls are preparing to go out on their own. So we are teaching life and living skills. There are 18 girls in our cottage (although two of them recently went "awol", so our census is now at 16, hopefully that will be changing)!

A majority of our girls are orphans, who have been lost in the system, acted out, and instead of being put in prison were put here, as a last resort. Some are developmentally delayed, some are wresting with mental illness, and most are a combination of the before mentioned. 

Yesterday at church Pastor JR talked about righteous anger, anger over injustice. What pricks your heart? For him it's abortion, and the "women's right to a voice" and how that makes him so angry, he finds himself screaming at the television, "What about the unborn child's voice?" For me it's orphan care. My heart aches for children with no moms and dads. For children with no one to tie their shoes, or tuck them in at night. And I know that we as a Purvis Tribe are called to change that for a few orphans in the world, and that's why we will pursue adoption several times in the future and will forever be involved in orphan care around the globe. But working here has let me see another side to the same problem. When I think about orphan care I think of a little girl wandering the streets of Africa, begging for food, sleeping on cardboard boxes at night And if she's lucky, getting placed in an orphanage. Growing up a friend to many, but to a family of none, a daughter to no one. Now I have another perspective to add to my picture. I also see the 19 year old girl, technically a woman. Still wandering, lost, no one told her she's worth any thing, so she has settled for nothing. She dabbles in crime, prostitution, drugs, and gangs. It's the same girl but her innocence is now lost, replaced by hatred and anger towards the world that abused her. It's the same cause, the focus is just on a different point in time. So I am passionate about my new job.  I am getting to focus my passion, just on a different point in time than I thought I would be right now. 

I am frustrated that we are not at the point in our lives in which we are pursuing adoption. But I think God has satiated my passion by laying this job in my lap. Thank you Lord for answering my prayers in a way I never wanted. I can't wait to learn everything you have for me from these girls. I know that this is a step toward fulfilling the destiny that you have for me as a woman and mother to children and orphans all over the globe, including in my own backyard. 


  1. i have a few friends that worked at excelsior in the past and i worked with them in some cases when I worked for the dept of juvenile justice. It's a hard job. Make sure you have your boundaries and that you still take time to rejuvinate and I'm sure you'll do great! congrats!!!!!

  2. I am proud of you for taking on such a job. You will leave a tremendous impact on the lives of the young women there...more then you'll ever know. -Renae

  3. Hello
    I just wanted to stop by and tell you I enjoy reading your blog. I am adopted and have three other adopted brothers and sisters and find such encouragement knowing you a adoptive parent who obviously loves your children . I am the Director of Public Relations for a non-profit organization called World Orphans. We build family style church based orphan homes all over the world and our mission is simple E3 to reach each church…each child…each community. I would love for you to take a look at our website and let me know if you have any questions. ( I hope you will have a glorious blessed day!

    Jenna M. Howard
    -Director of Public Relations