Weekly News – Mother Knows Best?

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Parenting has never been easy, but there is no doubt that in recent years, the job has become a whole lot more challenging.

That was a reality that Malky* found out a few weeks ago, when her 14 year old son *Alex approached her hesitantly one night while she was cleaning up the kitchen and doing her best to get to sleep at a semi-reasonable hour. It was clear from look on Alex’s face that something was very, very wrong with her oldest, leaving Malky with the task of figuring out what the problem was and what to do about it. If you have ever dealt with a teenager, let alone a teenage son, you know how hard that job can be.

Figuring that a face to face conversation would be that much more difficult, Malky asked Alex if he wanted to go out for Slurpees. Driving to their local 7-11, Malky asked Alex what was on his mind, and eventually it all came out. He had seen something on the internet that was very much not rated PG and was having trouble coming to terms with the encounter. It was an awkward conversation for both mother and son but Malky dealt with the incident the best way she knew how and driving home with their Slurpees, Alex seemed more at ease than he had been just half an hour earlier.

While Alex went off to bed with a lighter heart, Malky’s head was reeling, stunned by what had happened and wondering if she had handled things appropriately. Instead of second guessing herself, Malky reached out to Amudim the next day, telling one of our case workers the entire story and wanting to know if she had said and done the right things. The case manager was able to empathize with Malky, praising her for having given her son the responsible answers and also providing much needed support and guidelines about internet safety to avoid future problems.

Sometimes callers have questions that, thankfully, aren’t about life and death situations. Sometimes people just need to hear that reassuring voice encouraging them, educating them, and patiently helping navigate the often murky waters of parenting in 2019.  Give us a call anytime – we are always here.

*Some details changed to protect client confidentiality

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And here is an actual breakdown of new cases we opened this past week:

51 Total New Cases Opened This Week

  • 5 At Risk Matters
  • 2 Child Abuse
  • 13 Drug and Alcohol Addiction
  • 1 Gambling Addiction
  • 1 Legal Matters
  • 11 Mental Health
  • 16 Sexual Abuse
  • 1 Elder Abuse
  • 1 Domestic Violence

Gavz Boyz Adventure Week 3

And so week three begins.

How is it possible that we are already more than halfway through our journey together? To be honest, I don’t really know, but what I can tell you is that our boyz have already made monumental leaps. Growing more confident in their own abilities and taking the time to learn who they really are, they have risen to the challenge again and again and we have no doubt that our road trip is just the beginning of the journey for this amazing group of young men.

We capped off week two with a beautiful Shabbos at the former workshop and home of American sculptor John Henry in Chattanooga, about as far down south as you can go in Tennessee before you hit Georgia.  After a blissful Shabbos overlooking Chattanooga’s famed Sculpture Park, we had a Motzei Shabbos melavah malka, ending the night with a heartwarming kumzitz.

We headed back into Georgia on Sunday, venturing underground at Pettyjohn’s Cave on Pigeon Mountain.  It was a physically demanding day as we crawled and inched our way through this subterranean wonderland, with everyone helping each other out as we overcame obstacles together.  We sat underground talking, singing and being mikadesh the makom, Gavz Boyz-style, and as we finally emerged back into the sunlight, dirty, muddy and exhilarated, there was no doubt in any of our minds that we had all grown from the experience.

After spending Sunday below the surface, we took Monday and Tuesday in a totally different direction at Georgia’s Lookout Mountain, soaring into the crystal blue skies.  Splitting our crew into two groups, everyone had a chance to spend one day learning how to go solo hang gliding and a second day doing tandem flights 2000 feet above the ground.  Seeing the Tennessee Valley from the air was like nothing you can ever imagine and as we spent Monday night at the clubhouse, eating, chilling and getting some much needed rest, the conversations flowed freely, reaching new and productive heights, further cementing the many valuable lessons that are part of the Gavz Boyz program.

By Wednesday it was time to get our feet back on the ground, quite literally. We hiked the Smoky Mountains National Park, making our way up the relatively short but seriously steep half mile trail to Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in Tennessee where we were able to marvel at the spectacular views of nearly 100 miles all around from the observation tower. We spent a fun evening strolling through the exciting tourist towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge and by Thursday we were ready for some more high adventure.  We enjoyed some seriously crazy ATVing on Bluff Mountain, exploring the some pretty rugged terrain in the foothills of Eastern Tennessee.  The spectacular scenery, seemingly endless tree topped mountains and magnificent skies had a unique way of putting life in perspective and we said goodbye to the Smokies all feeling more in touch with reality.

By Friday we were threading our way back up north and into West Virginia where we got ready to spend Shabbos Chazon at a farm at the mouth of Indian River that was very fittingly named Almost Heaven.  It’s hard to believe that we are already heading back towards home but we know that in the days ahead everything that we have worked so hard to build is going to solidify, giving us all the solid foundation that will carry us through the challenges ahead.

Up, down and everywhere in between,

The Gavz Boyz

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