Lauren's Story...

I graduated from Texas A&M University-College Station in December of 2014. All throughout college, I knew I wanted to work with kids in the mental health world to some extent. I never doubted it, never changed my major. I knew that’s what I felt God had called me to do. Everyone told me I wouldn’t be able to find a job without a master’s degree, that my degree was pointless if I didn’t continue my education. At the time, I wasn’t ready to go that route, so I moved back home to Atlanta and started the job hunt.

I applied everywhere that remotely related to the direction I wanted my life to go. I had a few interviews here and there, but nothing would come of it. A few months down the road, my dad insisted I apply for jobs outside of my field, or jobs within my field that would set me up on a path to make more money. Neither of those things felt right. I knew what I wanted to do. I wasn’t going into it for the money. But I couldn’t argue the fact that I needed a job.

After months of searching and dead ends, and maybe me being a little bit stubborn about finding a job I actually wanted, I finally got a job at a mental health center here in Texarkana. I started working in the Wraparound Program, which was a program designed to assist families with children in the mental health system who are struggling. This was the start of what opened my eyes to how broken this world really is.

I would go into the homes of families who were barely keeping it together with their kids’ behaviors, money being tight, and just trying to make ends meet. We were able to focus on the kids and seek out resources to help the families get back on their feet. The desire within me to want to help people only grew as I continued to work with these families. I worked in the Wraparound Program for 2 years before transitioning to work in the Therapeutic Foster Care Program in October of 2017. This is where I really found my passion, my love (and sometimes dislike) for foster care.

Therapeutic Foster Care is designed for foster care kids who have significant emotional and behavioral needs due to the trauma they experienced. The homes are specifically trained to be able to properly handle these bigger behaviors, in hopes of stopping the cycle of the kids being moved from home to home so often. I learned so much about trauma and the effects it has on the body. I learned how the foster care system worked. I got so frustrated that there wasn’t more out there to prevent kids from going into care, and that there weren’t enough resources offered to help biological parents getting their kids back or to keep their kids from entering the system yet again. I saw the great things about foster care and the great need for it, but I also saw the need for so much more to help aid all the brokenness within it.

In October of 2019, I made the choice to step down from my job to take care of my mom, who at the time only needed assistance recovering from her broken hip. However, what was meant to be a few months long hiatus from working ended up turning into taking on full time caretaker duties for my mom for the next year. This is a time in my life I’ll always look back on and be proud that I did it, and be certain that it was all the right timing for what was to come.

In December 2020, I took a half-step back into the working world after Jennifer graciously offered me a position at Randy Sams. I’m grateful for that stepping stone, as it allowed space for me to be ready to enter back into the workforce full time.

In February 2021, in the middle of the snowstorm, my friend, Maya, sent me a job posting from For the Sake of One for their new Building Healthy Families Program they were launching. My first thoughts? “I’m not qualified for that. I haven’t had a real job in over a year, they won’t want to hire me. They’ll find someone better than me.” Because of these lies I allowed myself to believe, I put off doing the application at first. Alas, Maya wouldn’t let me get away with that, so I submitted the application, not expecting much to come of it. A few days later, Angela emailed me to come in for an interview. The lies flooded my head again, but I showed up anyway.

I remember the warm welcoming from Angela and Alyssa. The mom that ended up being my very first client here in the Building Healthy Families program was shopping in the boutique the day of my interview! Naturally, my interview started about 10 minutes late due to this mom hanging around to talk. (A true quality of this client we have grown to love and laugh about.) I remember noticing that Angela and Alyssa didn’t rush her out for the sake of staying on schedule. They continued to listen and help her get the clothes she needed. This showed me how much they truly care about the people and community they serve. The conversation in the interview flowed well, and I remember leaving with the best feeling, a peace that felt like this was where I was supposed to be. In my second “interview” for the job, they took me out to lunch. I’ll never forget Angela blurting out, “So we really like you!” Of course my response was, “I really like y’all too!” The next day, I officially became the third staff member at For the Sake of One!

All of the things that led me to where I am today were so divinely planned and interwoven in a way only He could do. Working at For the Sake of One has been such a blessing to me in so many ways. My cup is filled emotionally, mentally, and spiritually at the office so that I can in turn pour into my clients the same way. I get to fight and advocate for families to stay together and strengthen them to help get them to a place where they can thrive. I often find myself asking how in the world this job is real. I’ve been so overwhelmed in the best way. God is so good and so faithful to bring you exactly where you are supposed to be.

by Lauren Crow

Building Healthy Families Program Director

Lauren works with biological families who are struggling and supports them each week.