“מעט מן האור דוחה הרבה מן החושך” A little bit of light pushes off a lot darkness.  (Ba’al Shem Tov)

This phrase is often connected to Hanukah.  We painted it on our chanukiot/menorahs this year.  But at Susan’s House this is phrase really hits home year-round.  We see time and again our teens walk having erected emotional brick walls built to protect themselves against future pain.  They are hard to connect with and are suspect of everyone around them.  It takes a lot of patience, love and care to try and break through to them.  For some the first crack in the armor comes earlier than others… but we know when we get through that first time, half our work is done.  When they start to let others in to their lives, they open up the possibility of trusting and connecting with others.  It can be compliments they receive from visitors on the products they’ve created, a one-on-one conversation with one of our staff members that went really well, an overnight Susan’s House trip, or just enjoying and relaxing during our daily “family style” meals; whatever helps to make that first small crack lets in the light for hope, trust and the belief that they can succeed.   After that we can start to work on their self-esteem, have discussions about directions and goals and talk about their futures.