conversations on the fringe

What We’re Watching

What We’re Watching is our new regular review of film and screen media. We hope to share potentially useful and powerful media to discuss with others in an attempt to gain an understanding of the world around us. Let us know if there are resources you’ve discovered that are worth sharing.

Girls Incarcerated: Young and Locked Up

Watch Trailer Here

At Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility in Indiana, teen girls struggle with conflict and heartbreak as they try to turn their lives around. … At Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility in Indiana, teenage girls struggle to overcome their troubled pasts and find hope for the future…


Girls Incarcerated has strong language, adult themes, and has an MA-17 rating from Netflix.


Advocates Say Teen Migrants Need Help, Not Detention Facilities

We must stop the criminalization of refugee teenagers. This is a challenging piece. Please take a moment to listen and then keep an eye out for a new Fringe series on immigration, coming this spring.

Listen Here

The Kids (The Voices Project ep. 9 pt. 2)

In the wake of any school shooting, you will always hear the debates of gun violence and the right to bear arms.  What we need to be discussing is that many of our kids are being asked to carry these incredible loads, and they carry it and carry it until they no longer can.  Mental illness in very young children are on the rise, and while mental illness does not, in anyway equate to violence, I think at times the frustration and futility so many kids feel does.  We need to be so very aware of our young people and how they are processing what is happening in their lives.

Every week we have a youth night, and our kids come no matter what.  For so many of them, I know it is simply the promise of the only hot meal they will get that day and an escape from whatever is happening in their homes.  They are not a smiling lot of golden-haired, blue-eyed, wide-smiled, poster children for Christian youth groups. They often come in bedraggled, discouraged, angry, defiant, or the hardest, despondent.  

Last week we were having our meal and the conversation around the table was a comparison of mental illness. This beautiful, strong, sixteen year old commented on her appointment with her counselor, and that they were going to increase her anxiety meds.  This prompted her fifteen-year-old friend to say, “yes they gave me more too, but the anxiety is still there, my mom wants us to all go to counseling, but really, what is going to change?” The nine-year-old across the table, who rarely says a word, spoke up and said in a shockingly adult voice: “My medicine for anxiety makes me sleepy.  But if I don’t take it then I can’t even go to my cousin’s birthday party because I just feel scared all of the time.” The sullen, pimply faced boy at the end of the table, lifted his head only long enough to raise his hand and mutter; “bi-polar” over here.” And then his head was back down on the table.

Finally, I had to ask the entire group of twelve kids- “does everyone here have anxiety or something else you are on medication for?”  They all shook their head yes and clamored to tell me their stories. Across the board, they had all been diagnosed with anxiety and…..

Anxiety and bi-polar

Anxiety and depression

Anxiety and ADHD

Even our little six year old of the group has a diagnosis.  

These children are products of what is happening around them.  I hear their stories and I can tell you that I would be on medication too.  They live with a revolving door of boyfriends, step-moms, parents with drug addictions, parents with too little education, parents who are struggling with their own mental health issues, alcoholics, and parents in prison. The list goes on and on.  They tell me about being bullied at school because they do not have the right clothes and the right shoes, or they were not able to take a shower because their water had been shut off. We have one boy who wears a hoodie with large pockets so he can stuff food in them to take home for later because there is never enough.  

These kids are raising their siblings, and their cousins and they do it with more grace and dignity then I would be able to muster in their circumstances. So I understand that they are riddled with anxiety and a veritable variety of mental illnesses. What I do not understand is why then, we as a society are shocked when they are pushed to the edge?

These twelve kids have a leg up because they have us. We become their family and their safe place to land. All twelve of these kids come to youth group every single week, and they come to church on Sunday with no parents in tow. There is no family gathering in a pew. These kids sit with each other or different members of our congregation. They show up for Sunday school, and every activity we offer them, because it is an out for them, and they feel safe and loved. But then we have to send them back. With a lot of grace and constant care, I hope that because our kids and others like them have places like us to come to, that they will somehow survive and rise. But for those that don’t?  Well, those are the ones that get lost. It seems like an impossible task to reach them all.

I don’t know what the answer is to tragedies like school shootings. What I know is that mental illness in kids is a real and powerful force right now. It is a reaction to the situations they are living in. I know that right here and right now I can have some impact on these twelve, but always behind them, I know there are twelve more and twelve more. These are kids growing up with the names of pharmaceuticals on their lips and knowledge that the world is not a safe and friendly place. But they are growing up with a counterbalance, with a place to feel safe, at least for a time. Is it enough? I have no earthly idea. We can hope that when you affect change in one, it ripples out and out and out. I can’t fathom what goes into creating an atmosphere, in which a child seeks to harm other children, but I have seen the fringes of it on the faces of these kids, and my heart is sick that it does not surprise me. Their shoulders are too small and fragile to bear the weight of what the world has asked them to carry.

Karen Cassidy is a mother of three amazing adult children. She is a ministerial intern for the Salvation Army, and will (hopefully) be attending their Seminary in August.  She is currently living in Ishpeming, Mi.  She is passionate about people and believes every person has a story just waiting to be told. 

Coming Soon – The Fringe

What if there was a safe place for LGBTQIA+ teens in our community? What if there was a helpful place for families that are walking alongside their LGBTQIA+ children? What if there were support groups for LGBTQIA+ youths that are struggling?

Stay tuned for more details on an exciting new Fringe Initiative, launching in the spring of 2018.


Healing Through Relationships

Last week, my husband and I spent thirty hours in a three-day training about parenting children from hard places. The course was designed to equip us to train other parents who are doing the tough but important work of parenting children from hard places. The training was informative, difficult, and incredibly beneficial, and I can’t wait to pass on the information to other families in the foster care and adoption community.

More than that, however, I want to pass on this information to those who are interacting with children in all settings. Our schools, our churches, and our community organizations that serve children and teens would benefit greatly from understanding the effects of trauma on the developing brain. And while I could get into the science side of this, and I hope to in future posts, I want to start with the basics.

Relationships are at the heart of God’s design for humanity. Science points back to this truth in hundreds of ways. Our brain creates new connections when we have responsive, joyful interaction with our primary caregivers in those early weeks, months, and years.

But what happens when those early relationships that were designed to shape our brains and wire them for connection aren’t safe or dependable? What happens when those relationships are the source of stress or neglect or abuse? What happens when those earliest experiences aren’t safe at all?

Well, it changes things. It changes brain development. It changes behaviors. It changes the way they think, relates, and grows.

But there is hope. Research also says that our brains have the ability to continue to change and develop over time. And as the great Dr. Karyn Purvis often said,

“Our children were harmed in relationships, and they will come to experience healing in relationships.”

That is beautiful and hopeful and worth giving my life to.

As leaders, we have the great privilege and responsibility of reflecting back God’s heart to the children and teens that are part of our churches. Sometimes these teens come from homes that are full of wonderful, connected relationships. Their needs, both physical and emotional, have always been met, and their brains developed in-line with that loving, consistent care.

And then there are those children and teens whose relationships weren’t always stable or consistent, let alone safe and connected. In some cases, those relationships are still an active part of those children’s stories. There is turmoil at home that goes unseen by the outside world but is deeply felt by the 14-year old girl walking into youth group.

Her ability to trust and develop “felt safety” often hinges upon the environment that we create. This “felt safety” doesn’t just mean she knows the plan in case of a fire, or she sees the security team walking through the halls. This “felt safety” means that she actually feels safe when she is at church. Her brain can move from the fight, flight, or freeze mode that it may often stay in at home, and she can begin to utilize the logical part of the brain. This part of the brain enables her to make wise choices rather than just reacting. It enables her to absorb new information and participate in class rather than just making sure she’s not in danger. It helps her to settle in and let go a little bit. It is one of the many keys to her future development.

If the home is a place of chaos and “felt safety” seems to be fleeting, it is critical for our churches to create those safe spaces for our children and teens. This means our leaders must learn to look behind the behaviors of a teen who is seemingly defiant, disengaged, or distant. It means looking for opportunities to connect before we try correcting.

This flips the model of ministry so many of us were trained in. Rather than looking to shape behavior or beliefs first, this model asks our leaders to build connection first. Instead of starting with theological sub-points, it starts with the main header: God’s love is absolutely unconditional, and we get to be conduits of that love in the world.

For kids who’ve experienced abuse, neglect, or trauma of some sort, this may be the sole focus of our ministry. We may spend weeks, months, or even years demonstrating that we can be trusted, depended upon, and responsive to their needs. We model God’s love this way, and we reestablish, through relationship, those powerful healing principles.

So maybe our role is to show up, listen, believe the best, see beyond the behavior and look for the unmet need in that beautiful person who was created in God’s image. Maybe our role is to speak the deep, often unseen truth, in the face of adverse circumstances – that our children are precious and loved – not just by us, but by their Creator.

Christina Hite ( is the Community Outreach Director and Interim Executive Pastor at Imago Dei Church in Peoria, Illinois. She and her husband, Dustin, recently completed the adopting their two precious foster daughters. Christina is passionate about foster care and those on the margins of society, aiming to show hospitality to all and creating a home and life that reflect those values. You can connect with Christina on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM or follow her BLOG.

Frank (The Voices Project ep. 8)

Frank came in to see me today. I am not sure I will ever forget my meeting with him. In one of my first grad school classes in social work, Professor Davis asked us to think about our own limitations, she told us that everyone has a group of people that they just can’t work with; and for me instantly I knew it was pedophiles. I just did not think I could work with anyone who hurt children in that way. I had seen the wreckage of those actions too many times. I believe in second chances, but in the most honest corners of my mind, I found the thought of working with them reprehensible. Our professor explained that it was normal to have these feelings, but to try to work with these clients would be a disservice to them and a disservice to social work, so we had to learn to pass them along to someone else.

And then in walks Frank. Frank explained to me immediately that he needed help with housing. He was in a motel, but he could only afford one more night. So, I began the standard line of intake. Are you working?

“No mam,” he replied honestly, “I was just released from prison last week, I was in prison for 37 years, and I have no one left out here. It is not going to be easy for me to find work, I have some particular obstacles.”  And then the story came, as it always does. I was not prepared, and I believe that was the best way for it to happen. He was sentenced to 40 years for three counts of sexual assault and they were all three minor children. My stomach immediately churned. Instead of going any further I knew I needed to find a way to humanize Frank.  I asked about the scarf he was wearing, it was truly a work of art.

“I made this” he explained. “In prison the hours are long, and so I taught myself how to do this, and I also learned beadwork, let me show you. He pulled out the most beautiful fabric pieces with intricate beaded patterns. How could someone who caused so much pain to innocent children, create something so beautiful?

He just kept telling me his story; I could tell he was nervous. Prison for 37 years, and all his family dead, the prison gave him a small amount of money for about a week of a motel. He knew it was going to be an uphill climb; no one wants a sex offender in their shelters. Up until last week he had never held a cell phone or typed on a computer. He had no idea what an automated phone system was. He said he can’t navigate all this technology. He spent hours yesterday looking for a payphone. He is scared to sleep at night. It is too quiet in the motel. He does not know how to function without the guards being around and the schedule of the prison. He knows he is institutionalized. He said he spent the night last night throwing up out of fear. He said it feels like he is falling.

His honesty stunned me. I felt powerless in my job as I so often do. And again I felt compelled to be equally as honest. “There is no shelter that will take a registered sex offender around here. It will be extremely hard for you to find an employer to take you. The best I can do is to make some phone calls with you.” And so we spent an hour on the phone.  We called every agency we could imagine. Not one had any options for a newly released sex offender. We found a small glimmer of hope for him two cities over, and the best I could do was to give him a gas card so his friend could drive him there. I asked to see the beadwork again, and I offered to buy it from him. He was overwhelmed with gratitude.

I wanted to tell him that I was not doing it for him.  That I needed to own it and to look at it and to search my heart and my conscience; that I needed to try to understand how a human being can be capable of inflicting so much pain and suffering and also create something so delicate and intricate and beautiful. I needed to think about the pain that created that side of him that is a monster in my eyes, and I also needed to think about the God that made even him in His own image and likeness. I needed to find a place in my heart to love even him and to believe that he deserved to rebuild his life when I am certain his victims still carry his wounds with him. But instead, I let him think I was doing it for him. And maybe I was. I am still not sure. I told him I would pray for him, and I know that I will, but I also will pray for his victims whom I know were notified of his release.

My job is to help whosoever comes through our doors, and Frank is whosoever. If I believe that every single person is worthy of redemption and a second chance, can I really believe that there are any exceptions to that? Can I love the person who Frank was created to be, and the person that he became? Can I pray for him to have safety and a productive life? Can I one day look at the beautiful art he created and hope Frank is somewhere happy and well?  I pray I will. I pray that my heart will be broken again and allow room for even Frank. I can honestly say I did all I could for Frank, and that he had no idea the war that was raging inside of me.

Karen Cassidy is a mother of three amazing adult children. She is a ministerial intern for the Salvation Army, and will (hopefully) be attending their Seminary in August.  She is currently living in Ishpeming, Mi.  She is passionate about people and believes every person has a story just waiting to be told. 

Apothic Space: Encouraging Fully Inclusive Environments

There is a sense of power in individuality and identity, a power which leads to control, dependency, and objectification of people as subjects. Social status, categorizing groups of people, and individuation all contribute to the subjugation of people. Power and control become the implicit nature of identification and is realized in the subjectification of codified lifestyles defining those who are “in” and those who are “out”.

Tribal identification, the “in” group, provides a sense of belonging and control in aesthetically pleasing communities. These communal categories further protect members from violations to the codes that threaten the tribal law of truth. Members are a simulacrum of the tribe.

Ask someone the question “Who are you?” and almost immediately the conversation turns to gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or some other segregating category. The innate need for a sense of belonging forces identification with one or more groups or tribes.

Appropriate appearance maintains status in the tribe, and controlling powers limit disruptions to the status quo. Violations of the tribal ethos act as an affront on the security of the tribe and are promptly challenged.

Unnatural barriers discriminate against those who are other, differentiating conflicting tribal characteristics. Majority rule becomes the prejudiced reality.

The majority holds power and controls the environment. The marginalized are forced into compliance or rejected. There are those in the majority tribes who want to include outsiders, who extend a message of openness. Others extend vailed microaggressions designed to correct behavior or target a characteristic.

Inclusivity is not a characteristic of a tribe. Inclusivity is the intentional invitation to the marginalized, not to become but to belong. Inclusivity is the normalization of coexistence. The marginalized do not have to change to be included. The including tribe transforms in the diversification of expanding influence.

Take, for example, the conservative Christian proposition to people who are LGBTQ+ to abandon their lifestyle for a more suitable lifestyle. The obvious dilemma is who defines the suitable lifestyle, the inviter or invitee?

There are those in the Christian community who are adamantly opposed to the behaviors exclusive to LGBTQ+ people, and believe the two tribes are incompatible. There are those in the LGBTQ+ community who also believe the two tribes are incompatible. However, there are those of us in the middle who want to be transformed by expanding our influence to experience the beauty of our diversity.

Here are three things you can do or encourage to create fully inclusive environments.

Respect the perspectives of others

Nobody perceives the world the same way you do. Your experiences, emotions, and mental models contribute to unique perceptions of reality. Professor of psychology at Princeton University, Philip Johnson-Laird, identifies mental models as the complex interrelated connections of knowledge and other causal attributes that shape our perceptions of reality. The way you understand the world around you is not the same way someone else understands the world. Invite others to share their perspectives without judgment. When you are able to respect and understand the perspectives of others you position yourself to understand your own biases more fully. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself. What is it that I don’t yet understand? What is the emotional truth this person is experiencing? What is this person’s objective reality?

Engage in open and supportive dialogue

Communication is the process of coming to a shared understanding through a common experience. Open and supportive dialogue is not about arguing over who is right and who is wrong. Open and supportive dialogue is about engaging someone else to come to a new understanding. You may want to ask yourself, am I listening to what this person is trying to tell me, or am I listening to my voice of judgment? Your voice of judgment is your internal broadcasting system, your mental model, that limits your perspective out of fear. You might ask yourself, what stubbornness or judgment am I holding on to? Once you identify the message your voice of judgment is conveying, you can eliminate judgment and listen intently to what someone else is trying to tell you. Active listening is the most important facet of communication. For more on listening refer to Listening 101 (hyperlink to Another important facet of communication is language. The language you use will contribute to or hinder the dialogue process. You might want to reflect on how the other person might receive the words you are using.

Intentionally create an atmosphere of inclusion

Inclusivity is an intentional decision to adjust your current reality and engage a new reality. The first step to intentionally create an atmosphere of inclusion is to understand what is really going on. Respecting the perspective of others and open dialogue begin by removing yourself from the center of your universe. It’s not about you! In fact, as long as you make it about you there is no chance of including others. Ask yourself, at this moment, what is my aim? What’s really going on? If your answers to these questions reveal an agenda or motivation to address something in the other person you are making yourself the center of your universe. Be self-reflective. Self-awareness means you understand your feelings, your perspectives, and your orientation to the present moment. You begin to realize you are not the center of the universe. You open yourself to greater possibilities of inclusion because you aren’t afraid of what may are may not happen. You can create an atmosphere in which other people can contribute. Intentionally remove yourself from the center, and learn from the marginalized.

Tony Clyde is a veteran leader with over 20 years of experience working with children, adolescents, and adults in non-profit and corporate sectors. Tony is an expert at helping people recognize and remove the personal barriers holding them back. Through mentoring, training, and coaching Tony helps people and organizations achieve their true potential.

Tony is an entrepreneur, launching several new programs, and consulted with churches and other organizations on starting new programs, using technology, teaching effectively, and leadership. Tony is launching a new project called the Throwing Stones Project. The Trowing Stones Project partners with organizational leaders to facilitate environments of full inclusion for people who are LGBTQ+. Tony is a graduate of Northwest Missouri State University with a Master’s in Education and is in progress on a doctorate in organizational leadership. Tony’s specialty is in authentic leadership, personal coaching, and creativity.


Take Care Of Yourself

I am one of the healthiest people I know! It’s not because I live a healthy lifestyle, per say… but I was just blessed with an amazing immune system. I can’t remember ever having the flu… and even when I come down with a cold, I may be out of commission for 24 hours, and I’m done.

However, in 2010, I became a complete mess physically. Canker sores and cold sores decided to take turns making an appearance for 4 months straight. My left eye would twitch for hours at least once a week. I developed gallstones which resulted in the removal of my gallbladder. I had insomnia for 3 months: I would survive on 2-3 hours of sleep a night, and then I would crash for 12 hours on my days off. It’s obvious that this is sure sign of unhealthy life, most likely related to stress. However, I couldn’t see how bad of shape I was in. I kept thinking it’ll just get better. It took some serious intervention from my friends to realize how horrible I had looked and felt.

I rarely look or feel stressed… but when I’m not doing well, it usually manifests itself in physical illness. As a workaholic (I actually enjoy work most of the time), I failed to see how burnt out I was. In addition, my soul was hurting and tired, but I failed to see how much I needed rest and care because I was too busy caring for others in ministry. I was also in a very toxic work environment, but I refused to see how much it was affecting me… because I kept telling myself to suck it up and plow through. Things had to get worse before I was able to see that I needed to make some serious changes in my life.

After suffering from an ongoing physical ailment, I had two friends that intervened and spoke truth into my life. They told me that I needed to resign from my position at my church before it literally kills me. They called, emailed, and texted me every few days to make sure I was okay and to keep me accountable. They kept telling me that the relationships and the love I have for the kids and families in my ministry would continue beyond my position in the church… and they kept telling me that I wasn’t going to be effective in my ministry if I continue down this road. It took me several months to actually hear them. Things did get worse, and I finally turned in my resignation after a whole year of suffering through my ailments.

So what have I learned? I am not invincible! I can’t save everything and everyone. I need to know my limitations. I need to ask for help. And I need to be willing to leave toxic environment for my own health. As someone in ministry, it’s easy to become a martyr… but when I look back, I don’t know that my presence was effective because I was in such a bad shape. I learned that it’s not my ministry, my people… but God’s ministry and God’s people. He takes care of His people, and it’s not up to me to make sure they’re well at the expense of my own health. I still keep in touch with families from that ministry, and we can all agree that I stayed in that ministry a year too long.

It literally took 12 months for me to rest, renew, and restore both physically and mentally. Emotionally, I’m still working on forgiving few individuals… and I’ve asked for forgiveness from few as well. Today, I make sure I take “Gloria Days” at least twice a month. “Gloria Days” are when I unplug, go to the beach and enjoy God’s beauty, or spend time with life-giving friends and family. I pay close attention to my body. I am also learning to be more vulnerable and to ask for help when I’m overwhelmed or tired. At the risk of sounding Oprah-ish, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be as effective in your ministry (or relationship) to others in your life.

Take Care of Yourself!

Gloria S. Lee – Graduate of UC Berkeley and Talbot School of Theology, Gloria has been in vocational ministry to children, students, and families for over 20 years. She loves equipping leaders and parents to help kids love and follow Jesus. She is a contributor to Children’s Ministry Magazine, International Sports Ministry curriculum, blogs, and few ministry books out there. Gloria loves anything Wonder Woman, the beach, trying out new restaurants, coffee, traveling, and just chilling at home with a good book or a show on Netflix. She’s currently on staff at Menlo Church in Northern California.

you can also connect with Gloria via: TWITTER BLOG FACEBOOK LINKEDIN

Ricky (The Voices Project ep. 7)

A Pittsburgh Steelers cap, a Steelers sweatshirt, even a Steelers coat.  I knew I had to give him a hard time.

“Did you not get the memo? We are in green and gold country?” I joked.

“Well you know I have to represent.”  He jokes back.

“Please tell me,” I shot back “That you have better taste in baseball teams.”
And so our conversation began.

He was one of the most honest and forthcoming people I had come across.

He had just moved here a month ago from Mississippi with his (much younger) wife and four children in tow. They came on the promise of a job, but when he arrived that job was no longer available. They had used all their money to get here. They could not go back, there were no jobs in Mississippi. I asked where they had been staying, and he looked me square in the eye.  “Four kids, in our car mam. I have nothing left to feed them. The gas is completely gone.  We can’t stay dry. I am a man who can’t provide for his family.” He was beaten.

We talked about what he was doing for a job search. We joked a little more about sports.  He made fun of me for Chicago’s football team. Finally, he said, “We just need some time to get dry and get some sleep.”

I was able to put him up in a motel room, but only for four days. That was our limit, and we were just about out of the ability to do even that.  Usually, these rooms are set aside for emergencies that are temporary in nature. These rooms are not to ever be used as a band-aid for a problem that has no solution. It sounds harsh, but it is the reality of the limits of the system.But I knew I had to give him this time to get warm and get some sleep so he would at least have a fighting chance. He was so thankful for this reprieve. I told him to make an appointment in the meantime with the job search agency and then to come back and check in with me.

Yesterday he came back in.  He had his pastor with him. He told me he wore his Steelers cap just for me. His sense of humor was still intact.  

We went down to the office.  

“How was the motel?” I asked

“It was so great. So great to have a bed. So great to be dry. So great to have some running water. The owner was a very nice man, very professional. I wanted you to know that we kept the room very clean. But now we are back on the streets. I don’t know what to do. I am going to the job place today. I don’t know what to tell the kids.”  

I decided right then, that I needed to keep it real with this man. He had been so honest and so earnest, and I  knew he could handle the reality of his situation.

“I am sorry Ricky, but we just have nothing else right now. I have gotten you on the waiting list for the only family shelter. And that is a waiting game.It is a transient population, and someone can move today or move in a week. We just don’t know. The resources in this town are just so limited for shelter. If you were in a bigger city, your family would have more of a chance at a shelter. I get what I am telling you. I get it does not sound full of hope. But I believe in a God of hope, and we are just going to ask Him to show up and show off for your family. You do all you can do, I will do all I can do and we will trust God to do the rest.

I have had nothing, Ricky. I know how that feels. But I also know that the God we serve is bigger than of this.  So trust him, and if you can continue to trust me.” I stopped.

“This woman believes in you” his pastor boomed.

“I do. But more than that I believe that God can.” I replied.

We came up with a loose plan of seeking shelters in Rockford, the closest “big city”.  He was going to go to the job center and see if there were any possibilities at all.

I felt as though I had given him nothing at all.

As he was leaving, he stopped and looked at me.“Other than having horrible taste in any major league teams, you are a good woman. You were straight with me. You didn’t judge me.  And you treated me with dignity. Living in a car, you have no dignity left. But you made me feel like I do. Thank you.”

After he left my heart was so heavy of all the things I could not do. Such a basic need to shelter and feed your family. To know that your kids are sleeping soundly, and peacefully without a care in their minds. I could not even offer him a safe place to land.

What I could do for him is to not just see his current situation, but the man that he was before it all fell apart. The man he was created to be; a human, worthy of all the dignity we can offer.  It is not a big thing, but to him, it was the thing. In him, I was reminded that we are all so “fearfully and wonderfully made” and all so inherently in need of someone recognizing the dignity in us. And we need this dignity right where we are, in whatever place we find ourselves. His situation seems hopeless, but he is not without hope. 

Karen Cassidy is a mother of three amazing adult children. She is a ministerial intern for the Salvation Army, and will (hopefully) be attending their Seminary in August.  She is currently living in Ishpeming, Mi.  She is passionate about people and believes every person has a story just waiting to be told. 

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