On February 28, 2014, Karyn Mitchel, CPR’s Program Director, came into my office holding out her cell phone so that I could hear the voice coming from the phone’s speaker. As she moved the phone closer to me, she silently mouthed, “It’s a parent.”
As I shifted my attention to the phone, I sensed the speaker’s hesitation and then I heard a few words, all jumbled together. She said something about her son’s grades dropping, something about a knife, and something about suicide. My heart sank. All I could think is that we weren’t the best resource for her to call. We couldn’t help with something like this. She needed crisis intervention counseling or 911.
I could tell she was crying. As I struggled to find the words to tell her to call an emergency line, I heard her say, “Your program was responsible for…” Oh no, I thought, my mind racing. What had happened? Scenarios and questions of all kinds flashed through my head, all at once. How could we have possibly caused this tragedy? What were we going to do??
At this point, I was completely at a loss for words—which was probably a good thing. She continued through tears, “Thank you. If it had not been for your program, we may not have found out.” It turned out that this mother’s son had been sexually abused by someone that he knew. Someone that the family had trusted. Because of Creating Positive Relationships, this young man ended up seeking help. This extremely loving and caring parent was devastated. But, she still wanted to thank us for helping her son.
We occasionally refer to Creating Positive Relationships as the ‘other’ life saving CPR. We know that we change lives as evidenced by hundreds of In Their Own Words. We see the positive impact CPR is having nearly every day. But some days, like the day of the phone call, we learn that the impact we are having is even more significant than we expect. We are thankful that, as difficult as life sometimes is, CPR does make an important difference in the lives of young people and their families.