Friday, May 10, 2013

On Being the Cool Girl

Ok. You can quit laughing now. 
I know what you are thinking. "You aren't cool, Whitney!"

Well, on Tuesday I was. 

For those of you who may not know, I work at a residential treatment facility for girls. I could go on and on about this job but I won't. I'll just fill you in on the basics:

1. I used to work with the 11 to 13 year olds. For like a year and a half. They loved me and I loved them.

2. I switched positions at work because I was tired of my schedule. {5:30am M-F? No thanks!}

3. Now I work with the older girls, 14-19 year olds. I'm scared of them, and they don't know me. They also aren't as lovey and cuddly as the 11 to 13 year olds, but that's neither here nor there.

So, now you are all caught up on my work life.

A very important part of my job is to be authoritative. I have to confront the girls when they are trying to lie about stealing someone's makeup, talking about their time in jail, or doing something more awkward like smearing poop on the bathroom stalls. Yep, you read that right. No, it doesn't happen often.
As you can imagine, trying to be authoritative with teenaged juvenile delinquents is quite tricky. Most of the time they just look at you like you are crazy, make fun of your Texan accent,  and continue doing what they were doing.  Tuesday I was telling my group of 20 girls to be quiet while in line for their medications and to my surprise one of the girls said, "Whitney! Will you sit with us at breakfast?"

Say what?

They like me!?
I figured I would sit down at one of their tables and they would just roll their eyes and look at their friends and laugh like, "great, now we can't talk about how we are going to run away after breakfast."
But I got this instead: 

And you know what? It warmed my heart. They wanted me to sit with them so they could talk to me and get to know me and tell me about their lives and ask about mine. Sometimes that doesn't come so easily in this type of setting. By the time breakfast was over I had my whole table singing We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together quite loudly. Actually, another staff member asked us to quieten down. Oops.
I left work that day feeling accepted and like I could maybe actually make a difference in these girls' lives as well. I sure do miss my younger kids and literally want to scoop them up in the biggest hug when I see them, but these older girls might be ok too!


  1. Awww, it feels good to be accepted sometimes :)

  2. Aww that is so sweet! That sounds like a really tough job and I'm sure having them like you makes it just a little bit easier!

  3. What a great story! That age group is so hard for me to connect with. I always feel like I won't be cool enough. Today, some of the girls told me they like my shoes. Looks like I'm a cool girl, too :)

  4. I think I'm going to have to watch Mean Girls this weekend.

  5. That's awesome! You're going to be able to touch so many hearts.... And I'm probably going to watch mean girls this weekend, too. lol

  6. That's so awesome that you made such a breakthrough with your girls!!! I have a sister who has been in facilities like the one you work at and I wish she had had someone like you there to encourage her! :-)

  7. That's so cool that you had a breakthrough day at work with the teens group. I personally could not handle it. Kids that age scare me...especially ones that have problems probably even more. This is a sign that you are very good at what you do. BTW-5:30am sounds awesome to me. I bet you got off soooo early.

  8. I think that's the best. When you don't think you have the kind of impact. Awesome and kudos to you for having such a demanding and sometimes rough job like that. It is very rewarding though. My brother used to work at a facility like that. He became a quick mentor for a lot of boys that just needed guidance. Thanks for sharing, loved this post!

  9. Absolutely loved this! What an awesome thing you get to be apart of. And even though you didn't know it, those girls have been (and continue) to look up to you and admire the example that you're setting for them. It's nice to be reaffirmed for what you're doing. I live on that stuff. haha I get hit, scratched, and kicked all day some days, but then at the end of the day they give me a big hug and ask me to come back tomorrow. It's those little moments that remind us that we're doing something right and it's worth it! Thanks for sharing, loved it, especially since I completely understand.

  10. I love this. This is sort of like everyone-wants-a-puppy-but-older-doggies-need-love-to. I am ALL about the older doggies. If you see what I'm saying...

  11. How sweet! I'm glad you're the cool girl!

  12. awesome that you feel more accepted by them. hopefully you can help them out - that sort of work must be super tough!

  13. this post made me smile. i LOVE that you were singing taylor swift tunes together (and the mean girl snipets - too funny)! there's no doubt that those girls look up to you and think you're awesome - they should, because you ARE!! :)
    i hope that they continue to surprise you in wonderful ways! your job is so rewarding. you're truly making a difference, whitney!!
    have a wonderful weekend!

  14. This really made me happy! I think at the heart of everything, we all just want to be liked...even the girls you're helping. I admire you!

  15. This is an awesome story Whitney. Thanks for sharing!

  16. How fun! I can only imagine how rewarding that can be. I teach kids that have special needs, and every now and then one will hug me for no reason at all. Those kinds of hugs are the best.

  17. I love, love this post!

    I'm so glad that they have accepted you and that you're completely making a difference in their lives.

    Posts like these warm my heart!