“We have a lot of tables at the three different Teen Action and Support Center locations. Almost every room has a table- the ones in the kitchen are used for gathering to eat Doritos and drink Gatorade and Dr. Pepper! One table at the Poplar Street location is where teen moms gather and learn about managing their finances. There are tables for projects and sorting resources.
But there are two really important tables I want to tell you about.
One can be found in the counseling room at our location on Poplar St. This is a small square table that really only accommodates 3 people. I spend quite a bit of time at this table with teenagers in counseling sessions. We work on therapeutic art there. I have most of our clients do a specific project called the Bridge. I have them draw a picture of a bridge, with them on it, indicating what direction they are going. And of course they have to title their work. When they are done, we talk about where they have been, where they are going, and how they are going to get there!
Around this small table I hear stories of abuse, neglect, and alcohol and drug abuse. I hear about trying to escape bullying, gangs, abandonment, divorce, self-harm, suicidal thoughts and so much more. There are many tears around this table (sometimes mine). There is pain, resentment, anger, grief, confusion, hopelessness, and hurt shared around this table on Poplar Street. Did I mention there are a lot of tears? All of these are part of the journey of crossing the bridge and getting to the place of hope and healing our teens and families desire.
But there is another important table at TASC. It is the large table in the #TeenThink room at our New Hope Road location. Sometime ago I stopped by the office around 6:00pm to find 6 or 8 teens and a few of our adult mentors squished around the table. They were planning their next project- a supply drive to help provide for the homeless in our community. There was lots of laughter around this table. There was excitement around this table and lots of encouragement; “we can do this,” and “yes you can” from our amazing staff. Did I mention there was laughter around this table?
This is what we do at TASC. We come to the table with teenagers in our communities. For the teens who are struggling with hard life challenges and brokenness, we offer SUPPORT. For teens who are passionate and want to make a difference in the world, we offer opportunities to get into ACTION.
We opened the Teen Action and Support Center so that every teen who wants or needs a place at the table would be able to find a seat and work toward being who they are created to be. We are looking forward to using more tables and supporting more teens in the future and we are grateful for every person who helps us serve the amazing teenagers in NWA.”