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From my greatest supporter on earth to my guardian angel in heaven- I love you dad!

One of my favorite parts of this journey was fulfilling it in the presence of my dad, Richard Lawrence Harris Sr. My dad was braving a terminal illness and teaching me life lessons all along. I could share anything with my dad. I shared with him my hurts, pains, hopes, and dreams and he shared his unconditional love and the Word of God. It is because of my dad's love and influence that I feel so thoroughly equipped to not only handle the demands of this new adventure but also to make the difference in the lives of others that his love has made in me.  If ever there were a program that was prayed over and is this one. 

 Prophetic Words

Of all the places you've shown me so far, this is the one I want you to pursue. I like this house the best... Location is everything and the girls are going to be blessed in that house.

Richard L. Harris, my dad

Seeds were planted...

This breakfast was a surprise for me from a resident who told me before entering New Way, she never felt loved.  The napkin reads, "Because love is what I need to get use to." This child did not make it through our program.  In fact, she was removed by the police after a series of behaviors not necessary to repeat. 

The outcome was somewhat traumatic for us both; she ended up in a juvenile detention center.  Our program was thoroughly disrupted and I was wholly heartbroken. I'm transparent about this because I know that we did no harm- Her case workers, her adoptive family, and she herself knew that at New Way, we love but love takes time and for some- it takes getting use to.  

Unfortunately, we didn't get to nurture this child to wellness because she made the conscious decision that she couldn't, at least at that time,  believe she was worth the love and support she was receiving so she elected to destroy it. 

We rejoice however in the fact that a seed was planted.  As brief as it may have been, she received, felt, and believed she was loved. Our hope and faith trust that God, not New Way will nurture that seed He allowed us to deposit in her life and He will allow her to grow and bloom to His glory, in His timing.  At New Way, we can't claim to be the earth, the sunshine, the air, or the rain- we can't claim to be any part of the miracle that takes a seed and turns it into a fragrant flower but we can rejoice in the fact that we are happy laborers in God's garden. And for that, we thank Him. 

Our First Year in Service

Updates, news, and other stuff to share

My dad would often remind me that my time on this planet was limited, and that anything I did that did not glorify God was essentially a big waste of time. He told me that chasing after fame or fortune (I use to sing professionally) was like chasing the wind because what portion of my earthly celebrity would I be able to take with me when I'm gone? Real treasure, he would remind me, is not measured in dollars or cents- it's measured in love. He'd make it sound so simple- to love.  I can say in all honesty that the year that I lived without him was both the hardest and most beautiful time in my life. The former, was for obvious reasons-I'm a daddy's girl so our time together- the hugs, kisses, talks, and prayers I miss dearly. The beauty in his absence however is the manifestation of what he had been telling me while here all along. I'm so grateful that his passing proves to me that love truly endures forever.  Leave it to my dad to make me fall even deeper in love with scripture- John 3:16-17

I think my dad would be proud of the past year. I struggled to come to peace with it, but looking back and putting it into Godly perspective, I know he'd be proud because despite a year of inexplicable push back, extraordinary challenges and hardship- I had the rare and wonderful opportunity to love and nurture 6 youth in need and I truly believe that one seed planted with their stay at New Way, will in fact,  bloom and last forever. What I wanted to see was "success"- The same kind of success my father warned me about throughout my lifetime.  After being told by many Children and Youth agencies, "We'll wait and see how you do with other counties first."  I may have approached this first year as if I had something to prove.

I was expecting graduations, behavior modifications, reunifications with family and planning for those who were staying beyond 18- so for me to witness a child placed in a juvenile detention center, a child placed in a psychiatric hospital, and elopement after spending time in our program felt about as far away from the track record I was trying to create as I could possibly get. In short, I was seeing our past year only through my physical eyes. Through spiritual eyes, I could not have prayed for a more successful year.  Six children who under the correct circumstance would never have encountered my program were brought into our care and beyond them receiving a safe home, great school district, time in the community, access to faithful fellowship, consistent correction, meaningful counsel, and great food...they were exposed to the unconditional love of the Lord through me. In retrospect, we are off to an amazing start.


What's new?

-New Way Yout Services is in the process of transferring our license from a Residential Group Home to a Transitional Living Program.  Although both license are Pa. 3800, with the implementation of the Families First Prevention Services Act, many Children and Youth agencies are moving away from group homes and focusing more on preventative, in home services to prevent out-of-home placement and for children who cannot return home-transitional care. New Way has always been set up to provide a safe home, referral services, and a welcoming community to children in need. We were set-up as a long-term option for children who cannot return home, and we have always been focused on helping adolescents transition into adulthood by promoting mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. New Way Youth Services is excited to be included as a resource aimed at the prevention of youth homelessness. 

-CONGRATULATIONS to our graduates!!! We are proud of your awesome accomplishments and celebrate with you! May God's love and mercy travel with you as you embark on the next phase of your life's journey! 

Beautiful transformations can happen...with love, patience and time

It took a minute to get this smile but it was worth the effort and a far cry from the first attempts at a photo...

In the beginning, a picture was out of the question...

but soon New Way would be synonymous with a place to embrace family and to welcome supportive services...

As a place to welcome old friends....

(Having a best friend in another township shouldn't mean being should mean "I can"t wait until we can hang out together at my new home!" )

And a place to make new friends.

(Going to see a football game at Pocono Mountain East H.S with a new neighbor and friend from the school bus...)

Going to another football game...the playoffs with housemates...Gooooo East!

This smile speaks a thousand words and all of they say "I'm so grateful"

This is the first piece of artwork that our Duckie created at New Way...I titled it Home...

We could decorate and provide comfort but only our residents can make it home...

Whether she was using that positive energy to get others motivated for church...

volunteering to model for a housemates cosmetology exam...

celebrating her choice to get baptized with family and friends...

or tapping in to her inner Charlie Angel...

everyday spent with this resident was an absolute joy!

* Started a new school and excelling in all classes

* Active in school choir/chorus

* Accepted in to 4 colleges already including ESU!

YOU GO GIRL!!!!!!!

If you can't see the family resemblance you can most certainly feel it! She calls me Mama Nick...I call her my Duckie!

We love our residents IN DI VID U AL ITY! Every personality and point of view reveals a hidden gift and's to hoping she discovers all her wonders. 

A beautiful red velvet birthday cake with whipped cream cheese frosting and chocolate shavings...who said birthday cakes only come in pink?

It took two separate trips but we found the barber who got it right! Thanks Chop Shop Kutz at Stroud Mall for doing a great job and offering to always hook our residents up with awesome cuts!

Some time in the Community...

Pocono Community Church has been a huge support to our program and have embraced the girls with love, patience and kindness. Going to Sunday service and attending Youth fellowship have become program staples...

Everyone loves pancakes! The girls enjoyed the Kiwanis Clubs 52nd annual all you can eat pancake breakfast! Tickets were gifted to from my son Tyrik Frederick. 

Eating can be competitive! I tapped out by my girls can EAT! 

The girls attended the Fall Harvest Festival complete with kettle corn, candy bags, and hot cider. Would you believe the girls wanted cold coffees from Dunkin over hot cider on a crisp fall day?! 

The festival also had rides and a petting zoo for the girls to enjoy. Witnessing the girls "play" and integrate into community was priceless. 

The community often host events intended for healing- this event sponsored by Rep Maureen Madden was called Celebrate Recovery and offered the perfect opportunity for a resident to learn she is not alone in her struggle with addiction induced abandonment. Many survivors of drug and alcohol addiction shared their testimonies and proved that our circumstances do not have to burden us...they can EMPOWER us. 

A speaker at Celebrate Recovery shares her triumph. 

This event featured T-Shirt painting, free gifts, a pig roast, coffee/tea and snacks, and even a butterfly release. You don't have to discuss why someone is a better candidate during elections when a track record for community service speaks for itself. 

East Stroudsburg University also hosted a film documentary titled Anonymous People dedicated to the millions of anonymous people living in long-term recovery. I thought it was important to go with our residents and view this film which was a good idea. 

The healing power in FUR

One of our residents was a genuine farm girl and taught me so much about the healing power of animals. From that point on, I made it a goal to incorporate animals into as much of our therapy time and community outings as possible. . 

(Petting zoo at the fall festival at PCC)

We spent time at AWSOM Animal Shelter and learned about volunteer opportunities for New Way youth residents. I was thankful to discover Awsom's willingness to teach the girls how to care for animals and transfer that kindness to others. 

Visits with our furry friends also included weekly visits to the pet shop where pups up for sale and/or adoption were given lots of hugs and kisses from our residents. 

Fun in the absence of sun!

Who said chores can't be fun? These two decided not to let the snow stop a nap...Silly

Notice the very detailed family of snowmen...I think I'm the one on the end.

The girls didn't have all the fun- we had to shovel too!

Festival fun-

A residents fun with a furry friend

Take a look at some more of our time together...

Watch as we continue to grow...

Our Humble Beginning...

This house has been a vision long before it started to come in to fruition. I sat at many desks whether serving as a school teacher, Child Protective Specialist or Mental Health ACM desiring to create better systems of human service for youths. I was encouraged to dream, to hold bold and bodacious audacities of hope and was told instead of complaining about what wasn't there, to create it. I went back before going forward; almost twenty years after earning my Bachelor's of Social Science from Hofstra University, I went back to school. I graduated from Seminary and continued to work but all the while planning to make a significant difference. New Way Youth Services is here today because, "with God, all things are possible"

and it is with a grateful heart and humility that I share with you our humble journey...

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