OFY Cares Blog

I have been involved in the care of dependent, neglected and abused children by placing them in foster families (temporary places) and adoptive families (permanent places) for over 28 years now. I don’t often know how things turn out after the children leave our program.

 

Every once in a while I run across a foster or adoptive parent who is no longer with the agency. They are a little older…a little grayer…a bit more ‘careworn.’ It’s hard work being a parent, whether you are loving on and raising abused/neglected children or even your own children. Life these days seems more stressful than ever. I think about this often; daily as a matter of fact.

 

Francis J. Matese, Ph.D. will be resigning from his position as the Clinical Director of Options for Families and Youth after almost 18 years. Dr. Matese began working at OFY in 1996 when the agency had only two part-time therapists. Since then, the Behavioral Health program has flourished under his leadership and guidance. Dr. Matese established OFY’s Medicaid contract in order to bill for our Behavioral Health services. He also was the driving force behind OFY’s certification by ODMHAS and the agency receiving CARF accreditation.

Back in June, 2014 one of OFY’s adoptive parents from a few years back contacted me and said that our agency was selected by her church to be the recipient of their ‘Loose Bills’ program for the month of July, 2014. I was invited to speak at their Saturday evening and Sunday morning services and describe what we are doing at OFY. I particularly emphasized our current efforts in Uganda.

What happens is that the church leaders gather the loose bills given by the congregation in the weekly collection plate/basket for the month and then turn that sum of money over to the designated organization. I recently received the contribution from the congregation of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and was overwhelmed by their generosity!

So there I was sitting in the guesthouse room having just bid goodbye to my two traveling companions…my ‘security blanket’ as they left for Jinja. I was remaining for an extra day by myself for an appointment I had set up with an attorney. I was trying to decide whether or not to return to the orphanage at the bottom of the hill to volunteer again. I was a bit hesitant because I had dealt with 30 three-and-four year olds the previous day helping them eat dinner, shower, go to the bathroom, put on their pajamas and get them into bed. It was absolute chaos, and to be honest with you, I wasn’t looking forward to doing it again. You can imagine with that many children, someone is always unhappy or crying.

I have told the following story verbally to many people who talk to me about my experiences in Uganda. I thought it was about time that I put it in writing. My only concern it that it will be too long. I have to break it up into two parts. So, here’s Part I.

My two friends and I arrived in Kampala on a Saturday afternoon in February, 2013. It was my first trip and we were staying at a ‘guesthouse’ at the top of a steep hill. At the base of that hill was a ‘babies home,’ an orphanage, caring for about 50 children ranging in age from newborn to 5 years old. We went down in the late afternoon/early evening to volunteer watching the children and assist the paid staff with some of their duties.

Pages

Contact Us

For more information about Options for Families and Youth fill out our Contact Us form.

Contact

Resource Center