Lutheran Community Services Northwest
2018 Christmas Appeal
A warm, inviting smile can hide so much pain. Oliver’s smile is bright, full of hope and confidence. But, Oliver has been through a battle. One he is still fighting, and finally winning, with the help of Lutheran Community Services Northwest.
Oliver was born addicted to cocaine. At six weeks old, he was adopted by a strong and loving woman. But, the road ahead was anything but smooth. In Oliver’s early years, they lived in a small farming community in Washington State. When parents and grandparents needed help, they packed up and moved to a small town in Louisiana. That adventure didn’t go well, and Oliver was bullied every day for two years.
Diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome as a child, these experiences brought on depression and anxiety. Eventually they moved back to Washington -- yet another adjustment for a child who had already experienced significant upheaval. Oliver had difficulties focusing and managing his impulses. Things really began to unravel around age 17 or 18, when he started gambling and stealing.
At his lowest point, Oliver attempted suicide. During his recovery, a school counselor referred him to our 3 Rivers Wraparound with Intensive Services (WISe) program in the Tri-Cities.
“I’d never been a fan of counseling, as I don’t like sharing my feelings with strangers,” Oliver told us. “But, I was at rock bottom, and I knew something needed to change.” He needed help dealing with his feelings of anger, and frustration at not feeling accepted by others. His future looked bleak, with no prospects for a job or financial stability.
Coming to LCS was a turning point for Oliver. His wraparound team started by earning his trust. Then they set to work helping Oliver find his strengths, and set goals. He learned to tap into his faith, which gave his journey purpose and meaning. His therapist helped him work through his anger and stop gambling. A behavioral interventionist taught Oliver to manage and communicate his emotions in a healthy way. The more work he put in, the more his relationships improved. He began to feel in control of his life.
Eventually, Oliver was matched with a career counselor, who helped him apply for jobs and prepare for interviews. All his hard work paid off. Oliver recently landed a full-time job at an AutoZone Distribution Center.
“I feel more confident than ever that my life is headed in the right direction,” Oliver told us during a recent check-in. “Lutheran Community Services helped me find that confidence.”
Oliver is now 20, and his life looks and feels much different. His relationships with family and friends are strong, especially with his mother. He is active in his church and his community, once racking up 140 hours of community service in just a month. He bought a car, and is starting to think about college -- something that wasn’t even on his radar a year ago.
Oliver’s life is on track now, but there are so many kids in our community still fighting their own, similar battles. When you support Lutheran Community Services Northwest, you give kids like Oliver a chance to build a brighter future. A simple gift of $150 can help ten kids access therapy groups that will enhance their skills and move them toward success.
Your gift to Lutheran Community Services Northwest is powerful, and every dollar makes a difference. Will you consider sending a generous year-end gift today?
Thank you for making this season brighter for kids in crisis. I am so grateful for your partnership.
President & CEO