It's not often that we hear from someone who has left our care.

 

It's even more unusual when the person calling is now 78 and spent four years at KidsPeace (then Wiley House) as a child.

 

But that's exactly what happened recently. Richard VanStrander, who now lives in Tennessee, called simply to say thank you for the care he received after he and his brother were pulled off the streets of Allentown when he was only 8 years old. VanStrander's father had died of Parkinson's disease, and his mother broke her hip and was unable to care for him.

 

He said he was not appropriately grateful at the time; he described himself as a child angry at the world. But years later, he's able to look back at his life and acknowledge that it could have had a very different outcome if not for the kindness and care he received during those four years.

 

"They took good care of me there,” he said. “Most of the time, except for the belligerence of my own self, it was a good place to be.”

 

Read more of VanStrander's story in the next edition of KidsPeace's email newsletter, "For the Kids," which will be distributed later this summer. Not yet a subscriber? Sign up now for our mailing list.

 

Do you have your own KidsPeace-related story to share? Post a comment or email kpinfo@kidspeace.org.