Can you imagine?
Imagine being 22 years old and not having been to the dentist since you were 7.
Imagine that you were homeless as a teen and a high school drop out with absolutely no support.
Imagine someone helps you re-enroll in high school to finish your degree. You have an IEP. But then, your teacher, who’s also your case manager, has your file which documents sexual abuse as a child. She, your teacher, begins the grooming process for sexual abuse.
The abusive relationship is discovered and reported by another adult. No parent to protect you or advocate for you…those relationships have been abusive since you were born.
The school allows the teacher to resign. She isn’t fired or shamed. She’s just allowed to leave. No protection there, either, you notice.
No charges are filed since technically you are an adult. You were two consenting adults, the county attorney's office decides. Not a vulnerable adult and a person in a position of authority.
No counseling is offered. No need to do anything to help this student, the school decides. Just keep it quiet, get him his diploma, get him out.
And here you are…still homeless, only now another layer of shame to contend with. Another reason, you think, that suicide might be the best option.
And again, the teeth. The pain now so severe you can't sleep. Gums bleeding. Head throbbing.
Can you imagine?
I took him to our Project Legacy dentist. The ‘Good Samaritan' dentists pull the teeth....not repair them. That's too expensive, they say.
But he doesn’t want them pulled. He wants the repair, like anyone would. He needs a root canal, the gum disease needs to be addressed, his wisdom teeth need to be removed and he has eight extensive cavities.
Remove the teeth at 22 years old or repair them at our expense?
“Do the work,” I tell the dentist. “Fix his teeth. We’ll find the money.”
Time to start addressing and repairing the damage, step by step, whether the damage is found in teeth or trauma.
Will you join us to imagine a better future for our youth?