At CCFI we see every day that families are not recession proof. The weak economy is affecting children just as much as their parents. Lacey, a 9-year-old girl with bright, green eyes and dark brown hair, wakes up every morning, gets ready for school and helps her younger siblings get dressed.
Since the economic crisis, Lacey has had to take care of her family. Her mother has been too overwhelmed to get out of bed since she lost her job. Lacey’s mother is depressed and Lacey’s father is in jail. She must push her fears aside for now and hold her family together.
When she is at home, Lacey does not live the life a 9-year-old. She must ride her bike to buy groceries, clean the house and watch all the younger children. Lacey’s family depends on her, but Lacey needs someone too. She needs someone who will let her be a child, who will help her feel safe and protected. At the Neighborhood Centers Program, Lacey and her siblings can be kids with kid worries.
When she comes to play at Neighborhood Centers, Lacey forgets all the burdens of being a child in an adult role. When she walks in, a smile hits her face and her big, green eyes light up. The worries of the day leave her shoulders as Lacey starts to play a game of Twister. Here, Lacey feels safe and playful, even if it’s just for a few hours a week.
At the end of the night Lacey counts her siblings, zips their jackets, and grabs their hands so she can walk them home. She must slip back into being an adult. Someday when she recalls happy childhood memories, they will be of her two times a week at the Neighborhood Centers.