So, I know this girl. She is twelve years old. She lives in a loving home. She made friends with neighborhood kids. Kids who had lived through much turbulence and instability on their road to adolescence. One day, this girl decided not to go to school and instead spent her day at the mall without the intent of returning home that night. When three in the afternoon rolls around, this girl is not home. Her mom starts wondering where she is. Mom calls the girl’s phone- no answer. She called the bus barn to see if her child was on the bus, but the driver had left for the day. So, mom waits. After a short period, mom starts calling around friends’ houses. No one had seen or heard from the girl.
By 6 p.m., mom calls the police to share her daughter is missing. She also goes to the girl’s friend’s house and asks her to get it out on snap and tiktok that the girls need to contact home. Despite challenges of her own to face, this friend says, “I will,” and offers a hug. Mom made a few more calls to grandparents raising their grandchildren. Still no word. Three more friends, all with challenges of their own, call this distraught mom to say they’re looking. Finally, mom calls a youth with struggles and says, please help me find her. And, you know what? That circle of friends, the unusual suspects, got ahold of the young girl and convinced her to call home and GO HOME! And, she did.
In my eyes, there are two morals to this story. One, know your child’s friends, where they live, and how to contact them. Second, our communities don’t have “bad kids”; we have good, compassionate kids with the weight of the world on their shoulders. When they are shown respect and compassion, you build relationships and trust…and you never know when these young people may have your back- or the answers for that matter. And, for that, the mom is forever grateful!
About the Coconino Coalition for Children & Youth —
- Our Mission: Igniting collective action to cultivate, honor & empower resilient, thriving communities.
- Our Vision: We envision a holistic community where all children of Coconino County are increasingly free from trauma experience and all have equitable opportunities that build resiliency.