Lessons from Living in Community


Cookson Hills was my home for almost 4 years. I still remember that first day I arrived. I had just turned 13 and I was a handful. I was constantly disrespectful to authority figures, including my housedad, and I thought I could just make it on my own. I didn’t really want anyone else in my life.

Now looking back over the past 4 years, I have learned so much about doing life with people.  My houseparents have showed me over and over they want a relationship with me and I never have to deal with stuff alone. My housedad has influenced me to be a better person, I can truly see that he cares about me and my future.

I’ve also seen the value of relationships on the basketball court. When it’s nearing the end of the fourth quarter and we are down, there is no way that one person can bring a team back by himself. The team has to have faith, come together, and help each other in any way possible. You can’t be selfish when you are trying to work together; otherwise you will most likely fail.  

The lesson came in a very practical way at the end of my freshman year when I found out that my dad died. Of course this was very difficult news to receive, but I immediately realized how many people around me truly cared about me. I learned that just because I don’t have a dad anymore, that doesn’t mean I have to be completely on my own. I found an adult mentor who really helped me get through things. He is one of the major father figures in my life and always will be.

I am not alone.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Ray, (Class of 2018), is from Wichita, Kansas and enjoys playing football, basketball, and guitar.