- This story originally appeared in the May 2023 issue of COMO Magazine
If it hasn’t already been abundantly clear in previous letters, my favorite job is being a mom. I have been blessed with the three most incredible kids. All three are incredible, but also so very uniquely different. I have one child who will not settle for anything less than perfect, one that lives by the “Cs get degrees” motto, and another that falls somewhere in between. I am very at peace with all three paths. I know that they will all reach exactly where they are meant to be, in the way they are supposed to get there.
I am confident in where all three of them came from and the opportunities and support systems that have been instilled in them, all right here in good ol’ Columbia, MO. They have had some of the most inspiring CPS teachers and mentors over the years. Two of them have already moved on to higher education, with the baby of the group following soon.
What I have really taken an interest and concern in over this past year is the mental health of our kiddos. We all have gone through life struggles. We have all had our moments growing up that weren’t easy. But we have never faced being a kid and being completely isolated for moooooonths. Away from our peers, away from society, our outlets, away from life as we know it. We are continuing to see the fallout and the huge impact COVID had mentally on our youth. I have personally witnessed this within my own relationships and have heard stories far and wide.
I am reassured to know that we have programs and organizations here locally that are taking great strides to support this global issue. You will read about Compass Health in this issue, and we have covered our good friends at Burrell Behavioral Health multiple times. I know there are a lot of other resources out there as well. It is important to remember that you/we are not in this alone. If you or your kids are struggling, reach out to these places. Reach out to us. We will help you make the connections. It has to be okay to talk about. It has to be acceptable to admit that you are not okay and need help.
I will drop another shameless plug here for Young Life Columbia. This organization hands down has been one of the most life-changing, safe spaces for all three of my kids. The leaders of this group deserve more credit than I could ever give them. This program is for our high schoolers — they have weekly and monthly get-togethers, summer camps, and leaders who will meet your kids right where they are and truly invest in their lives. I have had the fortune of being involved with this program for years and would love to share more with anyone interested.
My email is always open. For story ideas, for help making connections, and for learning more about other organizations out there that fall into these categories. The kids are literally our future — let’s work together to create the best community we can for them!