In working with victims of commercial sexual exploitation, the only thing I have found to be predictable is that it will always be unpredictable. This may hold true for working with any population that involves people. I love and hate that we have free choice. Our decisions don’t just affect us, but others. I have found the only way to not get overwhelmed is to be flexible and try to find the humor in most situations. After all, just one laugh can stimulate your organs, relieve pain and improve not just your mood, but also your immune system!
At Awaken, every women and girl that we work with has the option to choose to have a mentor or not. We help to pair the two together based on personalities and interests. Sometimes these relationships take off and really flourish and other times, they can be slow and a little trying. I can think back to last summer when I was pairing up a new girl with her mentor. We were meeting at a restaurant up at Lake Tahoe and it was going to be a great day! That is until the girls showed up almost an hour late with a guy for their first date! I am not sure why she thought it wasn’t going to be awkward, and looking back, I’m still not sure she thinks it’s bizarre now! But one thing is for sure, you have to be flexible! And learn to expect the unexpected.
We also get donations once a week from Bed, Bath and Beyond and a few other stores. The women and girls love to come by our center, check out the new items we received and take what they need for their apartments and houses. We are very generous with the women and girls and they know that. One week in particular, one of the girls shows up with a tall man. I should state that our office is in a questionable part of town and sometimes we get people visiting who could potentially be dangerous. I asked around and found out that he is safe and was just providing transportation for the girl. I settled back down at my desk and a few minutes later, I look over and he is walking out carrying our piano! He nicely put it back as soon as I told him it wasn’t up for grabs! I laughed and reminded myself that the only thing predictable, was that each day is going to be unpredictable.
These are two of the many situations that used to make me frustrated and uneasy, but I’ve come to learn that it is just a normal part of working with people! Comment below and tell me one of your stories when things didn’t go as you planned! Looking back, are you now able to laugh and see the humor in it?