Having a child is one of the most rewarding feelings one can experience and is also one of the highest responsibilities. Like the old saying goes, an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, a child is a reflection of his or her parents.
But what if a child doesn’t have parents? What if the parents didn’t want their child, or neglected, or even abused their child?
It is common to hear people say “I have been ripped off” when they get a bag of chips that is half full, the movie they see at the theaters is disappointing, or countless other meaningless examples. In life, truly being ripped off is a child who was born to parents suffering from a crippling addiction. Or a baby being born in to an abusive family where Child Protective Services is called.
Often times these children will grow up in a sanctuary with other children with similar histories, whether it be cruelty, abuse, or neglect. Even though these organizations do everything in their power to promote individual success and healthy relationships, it is encouraged by all members of their community to help foster the children in need.
Throughout history, children were not only raised by their parents but also their community. Relatives and even neighbors watched out for the child and took care of them. Troy W. Eckard, CEO of Eckard Enterprises, still believes this approach with children is needed by all members in his community.
For several decades, Troy Eckard has been working with children’s homes throughout Texas. One such organization located outside of San Antonio, Mr. Eckard holds dear to his heart. Roy Maas Youth Alternatives is a private nonprofit organization that Mr. Eckard has been affiliated with since 2000. He has been on their Board of Directors, a financial contributor and an active presence at the campus in Boerne, Texas – Meadowlands. He has committed his time and resources to this organization to help the children that have suffered at the hands of those who should have protected them.
The children at Roy Maas have been placed into this home for several reasons and have been ripped off from a “normal” family life. These children do not cry about being treated unfairly, being ripped off, or shorted on a normal childhood. They are resilient, cheerful, hopeful and seeking a new path that may allow them to find a bright future. These kids range in age from 5-18 and spend their time going to school, learning life lessons, playing sports and growing as a family with one another.
It is Mr. Eckard’s desire to be a part of their lives by either helping through financial means or through his time. Mr. Eckard and his family enjoy talking with the children to motivate their lives and to take their current circumstances and make something positive.
Roy Maas Youth Alternatives is just one place that helps and provides a place of safety for underaged adults and minor children. The next time we think about being ripped off about something trivial, it is more important we think of what that means to children in our society that have fallen through the cracks. It is our job as a community to protect these children and help them reach their full potential.