You’re given a plot of land and have the financial resources to do what you please. What’s the plan?
If I had been given a plot of earth and the financial resources to develop it, I would construct new children’s shelters on it. In our city, we have two main children’s shelters, both of which are rather old and run down and over-crowded. There is a need for other, newer children’s shelters–actually two–one for younger children and one for teens on a campus that is spacious and welcoming to the children who must call the shelters home for a period of time.
Children who are removed from the homes suddenly are often first placed in shelters because there is not time to find a foster home placement right away for them so they must spend some time in a children’s shelter. I would like my children’s shelters to have bright, airy bedrooms for the children with two children to a room and space for a desk for each child and a closet for each child, as well as a chest of drawers for each child. They need space to call their own. In each shelter, the common areas–the television room, the recreational room, the refractory, the shower rooms, the bathrooms–should also be bright and well-lit. The common areas should be restful as well, places that the children will want to go to relax. There should be a quiet room where children can go to read, with soft lighting and quiet music, so they don’t have to compete with the television. The refractory should serve tasty but nutritional meals and snacks to the children. The treatment rooms where the psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers meet with the children should also be open and airy and bright and pleasant.
Outside, there should be swings and slides for the younger children to play on and there should be plenty of walking trails and flowers and trees for the older children to walk through and sit under. The entire campus should be welcoming to the children and make them feel safe and cared for and loved. They are going through a very traumatic period in their young lives and they need now more than ever to feel calmness and tranquility. I would hope that my children’s shelters would help them to feel safe.
I can think of no better use for a plot of land than to build a temporary home for abused and neglected children who are in need of emergency housing in the face of being suddenly removed from the homes. We must make their new home as pleasant for them as possible. That’s the least we can do for them. How we treat our children reflects on our society, especially how we treat the injured children in our society. Let’s treat them well.