Thursday, May 26, 2011

No post today...

My iPod touch and phone were stolen from my purse during a craft group tonight. I know who did it - he isn't one of my regular kids - but there's nothing that can be done as no one actually saw him do it, according to the police. I won't be getting either of them back as he likely fenced it for drugs to one of the scumbags who hang around the park near the library. He's a kid whom I tried to help a few years ago, and I guess I didn't do much good given where he is in life right now.

It's not about the material items, although I really liked my iPod and had a lot of information on it. It's the betrayal. I spend a lot of time trying to make the library meeting room a safe place for everyone, and it turns out it wasn't a safe place for me. I don't want to turn our groups into a fortress, with everyone guarding their MP3 players and cell phones and purses and backpacks, but I don't want anyone else to feel this way.

I'm just so sad right now.

An update: It's 2:45 AM and I'm wide awake thinking about all the stuff I should have done and all the stuff I have to do tomorrow. I wish I could hold out hope that I will get my things back, but I won't. He's a known drug addict, and my items were probably sold for $10 by the time I realized they were gone.

Tomorrow should be fun as I get to spend the day trying to figure out what appointments I have for the next few weeks for clients whose phone numbers were stored on my phone, not in my head. Then I get to visit the mobile phone store and try to get a new one (and just about every conversation I have with Rogers mobile ends with me threatening to go to another company, so you know that will be fun). All of this through a haze of exhaustion that comes with getting - if I'm lucky - three hours' sleep.

I worked in the most poverty ridden areas of Vancouver as a welfare worker. I saw some horrible things as a child protection social worker. But it wasn't until I came to my nice little town and started teaching craft groups that people felt it was okay to steal from me. This is the second time this has happened - the first was money, now possessions. I've worked with people who have had nothing - I mean, living in a cardboard box, lining up at the soup kitchen, wearing rags on her feet nothing - and they didn't steal from me.

I'm still sad. Wow. I don't think thieves realize the impact of what they've done. It's not the items; it's the lack of trust, the idea that it's okay to go into my purse (or my car, in the past) and just take what they want, violating my sense of safety, of what's mine and what's yours and what we can share. I know this will have repercussions and I really don't want it to be that way. But I don't know how it can't. My heart is so broken right now.

Another update from Saturday: Just home from video game club - that was great fun! We've figured out a system...We have a corner where everyone can put their valuables and only the adults (and trusted teen leaders) are allowed to enter that corner. We've told the kids that they are not only allowed but encouraged to ask people about possibly suspicious behaviour to make sure it's a safe place for everyone.

I do think everything happens for a reason - I'm not sure what that might be right now, but I'm open to it. It did take a lot of my energy today to remind the kids that beating the thief up isn't the best use of our energies, and besides, it'll cause more problems than it's worth! We talked a lot about it today, and I am pleased that the idea of the room being a safe place hasn't been severely compromised, so that's positive.

And I bought myself an iPhone 4. It won't replace what was lost - the emotional bit - but I do feel better than I have something I can use as a phone and datebook for Monday morning.

Thanks for everyone who has shared their thoughts and sent me kind words!

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

So sorry this has happened to you it is a horrible feeling. (Michalene)

Jenny said...

I'm so sorry that someone would take advantage of your kindness in such a contemptible way. I was about to ask you about using 5% Tea Tree Oil in an acne medication for my pimply teenage son...but I think for now I'll just seethe on your behalf and be thankful that he isn't a thieving miscreant. Thank you for all that you do on this blog and especially in your youth groups.

Lise M Andersen said...

So disappointing when people show their worst side. I know exactly what you mean about feeling betrayed. It's such a let down. Let's hope this individual one day takes a step towards becoming a better person. Meantime, pride yourself on making an effort - that's more than most do.

tawnya said...

:(

EsseBee said...

Susan, I'm so sad for you. Hoping you'll feel better tomorrow, and MAYBE the thief will have a change of heart and feel guilty for what he's done to you. As you say, it's not the stolen objects that hurt, but the stolen trust.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear about this! How awful. :-(

France said...

Oh goodness Susan! I am so sorry this had to happen to you (or that things like this happen to anyone). Close your eyes and feel a big virtual hug. You certainly don't deserve this. Just a thought, have you called your phone? Or perhaps the phone company can trace the phone (or is that just on TV?). My thoughts are with you.

Will said...

Susan, I'm very sorry this happened to you.

The sense of violation caused by invasion on your personal privacy, not to mention the inconvenience, won't soon be forgotten, but don't let it change the person you are.

Good luck, and if you have any "wallet" details stored in your phone, you probably should advise those firms, perhaps any email contacts on your phone, too. Sadly, the possibility of attempted credit and identity theft should be considered.

With the greatest affection,
Will

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I tried calling my phone before I had it shut down, but there was no answer. If you can believe it, the boy and his female friend left their real names and phone numbers on the registration form for craft group, so I called her number and spoke to the woman who kindly took her in before the girl stole all the jewellery and left. I know the boy - he was staying with someone I know a few years ago and I tried to get him help at the time. He's in foster care, so I'll call his social worker in the morning, but nothing will come of it. Some excuses will be made for his behaviour - he's on drugs, we can't control him, what can you do?, and so on - and it'll be forgotten, like it was last time a young person stole from me. (This is the opportune time to get a kid help, to get them diverted into the mental health or substance abuse stream, but no one ever has the guts to actually do it!) I know where he works, so I might pay him a visit in the morning before I go get a new phone. (I won't get it back, but it'll feel good to look him in the eye and get this all out. I know he won't listen, but I really don't care how he feels right now. I'll care about that another day - today's it's about me!) I've already talked to the woman who took him in, but she can't get hold of him. Besides, the damage is done. Even if I got the iPod back now, it would feel really icky. (I've been creeping out all night about some strangers having my wedding pictures in their possession.) That's why I'm up at 5:11 AM. I couldn't sleep - I'm just so hurt right now.

I am very worried about my information is the iPod as I keep all my notes, thoughts, errands, and so on on it, as well as some e-mail messages. I usually sync it up with my computer when I get home from work, but I went from work to craft group so I didn't have time.

I've contacted almost everyone I know by e-mail tonight to let them know about it (and to find out their phone numbers and possible appointments we had together) and I don't leave things like credit card numbers or passwords lying around. By the time I got home, my husband had changed all my e-mail, Paypal, and App store passwords just to be on the safe side.

I had been planning to get an iPhone and my husband would have had my iPod 4. Now I have to get a new phone/iPod and buy him one as well. Nice expensive night.

I had been looking forward to tonight's craft group - sewing little pouches - but didn't get to enjoy much of it or see the final results. It's just been one hell of a night. I can't wait for this day to be over.

trini_reds_1978 said...

Hi Susan, I soooo sorry to hear this, but i am here to tell you to keep your head up.I cant begin to imagine how you are feeling right now but God bless you for what you are doing to help these ppl and dont give up, because there are many more who will benefit from your help.Remember as much as you would like to help everyone,there are some that would escape your grasp, but dont give up. Again God bless you and have a wonderful day and i hope you feel muh better :)

Tomara said...

I am so sorry for what has happened. I read your post and had tears in my eyes.

Leanne said...

Susan,

It is hard to remember, at times like this, that sometimes good does come out of these situations. I just want to encourage you not to give up on the young people you work with. As a teenager, my husband would have stolen from you, too. He was a drug addict and an alcoholic and wouldn't have thought twice about it.
The interest you show and the time you take with people does make a difference. Some people are pretty rocky ground and it takes a lot of plowing, weeding and watering so that something good will grow. God uses it all. We don't always get to enjoy the fruit.
Thankfully, some people took the time with my husband and he is clean, sober and getting proper mental health care. He just finished his bachelor's in Information Tech and is employeed. I know it doesn't always turn out that way. I'm enjoying the fruit of someone else's labor and I am thankful for it. Keep pressing on!

Mychelle said...

I'm so sorry Susan. My home was broken into last year. They stole everything that was important to me (including my engagement ring which I left at home to keep safe), vandalized my home, and beat up my old dog. It was devastating. I know how violating it feels to be stolen from, especially when it's someone you tried to help. Know that a lot of strangers really care about you. We love you and support you, and are inspired by the good work you do.

Born Beautiful Bath and Body said...

Susan, you will get back everything that you lost and then some. New appointments, new thoughts, and from reading the comments, posted before me, it seems like you have so many people that appreciate you and all of your kindness. I thank you for the wealth of information that you give so freely.

The thieves WILL get what is coming to them!

Cheer up! Please. :-)

Tara said...

How terrible! I am related to person just like the kid you described. Unfortunately he is only now starting to get better as he is nearing 40. I totally know the feeling you have, when you know exactly who the person is who committed the crime (and against people who are trying to help!), and "nothing" can be done.

I guess you can be glad it was only objects that were harmed and not your poor old dog, like Mychelle described happened to her. What is wrong with people!!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Good will come out of this situation and I won't be giving up on the kids any time soon! They're mine, dammit, and we've all worked too hard to create these amazing programs to let one person take it all away! This boy was a newcomer to the group and we were prepared to welcome him in and make him one of ours, but I guess he didn't want that right now.

We do have one girl who is a crystal meth addict. She comes, she gets pizza and a drink and some veggies, and she sits and talks to us. I have never felt unsafe with her, and she's always welcome. Everyone is welcome at our groups and always will be!

I've been working in this community for a long time. Kids for whom I was the guardian while they were in foster care have introduced me to their own children, and I know it can take time for those seeds to grow. I will happily give you $10, buy you a meal, drive you somewhere, and give you the coat off my back. You don't have to steal from me to get your needs met.

What's got me so upset is that things will have to change in our groups - things will have to be locked up, tied down, monitored, and we'll have to be on guard. I'm so worried about video game club tomorrow. Do I have to walk around and count all the games before people get to leave? I can't live like that!

Mychelle - I can't imagine how that feels, and I'm sorry you had to go through all of that. Thank you for sharing and for your kind words.

Anonymous said...

Susan, my heart goes out to you. I live in Costa Rica and we have a lot of problems with theft perpetrated by people on crack. It is heart breaking to look at them, you wish to help them through education, social involvements, etc... but very few actually get out of it. Crack is very addictive and many would even sell their mothers for it. It takes a lot of love and patience.

Anonymous said...

Susan, my heart goes out to you. I live in Costa Rica and we have a lot of problems with theft perpetrated by people on crack. It is heart breaking to look at them, you wish to help them through education, social involvements, etc... but very few actually get out of it. Crack is very addictive and many would even sell their mothers for it. It takes a lot of love and patience.

sfs said...

I am so sorry. The betrayal is excruciating, isn't it?

PolishPackrat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Issa said...

I'm so sorry! :( It's terrible that someone betrayed your trust and the trust of your kids by taking advantage of one of your sessions to steal.

I'm sure you hate having to tell the kids that they can't just assume their things are safe during craft group, and it probably makes the betrayal that much worse, since it's going to change things for them, too. Just tell them the truth, and they'll understand. Let them know that you trust them and you wish that this hadn't happened and that things didn't have to change, but that someone stole some things out of your purse during one of your craft groups and you don't want the same thing to happen to any of them, or for them to have to feel they have to keep their stuff constantly on them during craft group to keep it safe, so you're having to make some changes. They might even be able to come up with some ideas for ways to keep things safe or keep track of stuff like the games. They'll probably be mad or upset that someone you were so kind to would steal from you (I am!) and they'll do their best to help make sure that this doesn't happen again, whether it's by locking up their bags or helping put away games and make sure they're all there after game meetings. You're going to be taking precautions to make things safer, and make sure your kids' belongings aren't at risk, and I'm sure that they'll be able to appreciate that you don't want any of them to feel the way you're feeling right now.

I'm so glad for the kids in the groups that they have you. You've shown them how much of a difference a kind act can make by the difference you've made in their lives and telling them about all the readers who have donated to your groups and who want to help people they don't even know. As awful as it is that someone betrayed your kindness and took advantage of it to steal from you, you're showing them by your example that even when you reach out to someone and get hurt as a result, it doesn't mean you give up or stop giving people chances. You're teaching them that even though there's always that risk that the person you're trying to help will try to take advantage of you, that it doesn't ever mean that you stop caring or stop trying.

melian1 said...

I'm so sorry. i don't have any words. big, huge hug

Anonymous said...

Susan,

You have such a good heart, I hate that this happened to you.

As a school teacher in a low-income (maybe the lowest income) area in Chicago, I have experienced similar situations. I know it is small comfort now, but I'm certain you have made a big difference in many other people's lives.

I høpe things improve for you quickly....and I thank you for the generous help you have provided me through your blog.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry this happened. Hugz

Julia said...

It is so sad...
I am so sorry...
Julia

Beruda said...

Sorry this has happened to you, you feel so violated.

Aesthete said...

This always seems to happen to the people that care the most. I feel really bad for you Susan. I've had a few similar experiences and nothing anyone says or does changes how angry, disgusted, and disappointed you must feel. It tarnishes the view of the basic good morals and values you think people live by. It may be a long time before you get over it, but try not to let it change you. You're a good person, they are the ones that need to change.

TheSoapGallery said...

Susan, you are a very generous woman and this was a rotten thing to happen to you, made even worse with the use of the items taken :/

I hope you come out of this knowing that you touch many people in real life and here online. We all care about you. Please let us know if we can help in any way.

Ellbie said...

How sad, my heart goes out to you. I had something that had huge sentimental value (and monetary value) stolen by someone I knew and there was nothing the police could do.
I hope you are feeling better soon.

Katie said...

What a terrible ordeal, Susan! Aesthete says, "it always seems to happen to those who care the most". This really resonates with me. I am a firm believer that once we get settled in our lives, the universe has a way of throwing us a curve ball. It's a challenge that we can either take or leave, and there is no right or wrong, it's just a choice. The simplest example of this is when we decide to go on a diet, or just clean up our eating habits a bit: it never fails that as soon as we've made up our mind in this direction, someone comes along and hands you a plate heaped with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies!
I don't mean to disparage your ordeal in any way, but I get the feeling this is your challenge. The universe wants to know right now: is she going to take it or is she going to quit? I'm pretty sure you are going to accept the challenge and keep going, doing all the things you do to help people, with just a little added wisdom from now on. But I'm also pretty sure that a majority of people would choose this time as a quitting moment!
All those other kids have learned something from this, especially from your response to the situation.
The awful feeling of violation will eventually pass, and a lot of those kids will grow up fine. And then you'll get hit with another curve ball! The more of these we field, the stronger we get and the more significant our contributions to society become.

Cori said...

I'm sorry that has happened :o( You do such great work, and its sad that people take advantage of that. I really enjoy reading your blog, and am sending positive thoughts your way!!

Madeaj said...

Susan, I admire your resolve. It is hard when a few people make it hard for others. I remember one year, a few PARENTS helping with the Toys for Tots program stole some of the toys. smh. What message is that sending.

Keep up the good work, I know there are a lot of people who appreciate it. And maybe the person who did this will regret their mistake.

BrittaandGeorge said...

Susan, Sorry to hear this story. It seems you handled it well, and left the others in the group with an action rather than hopelessness. Unfortunetly those who need our help the most are often the hardest to help. Don't give up.

p said...

I just read this, and I have to echo everyone else and say that you are an amazing, generous woman, and the work you do touches so many people. So sad to hear of your ordeal. Hugs. :)

Yolanda said...

Sorry Susan,

Take comfort that you make a positive difference in so many kids' lives. I think your idea is a good one-putting items in a secure location that only certain individuals will have access to. Also, you can ask the local cops for safety tips. It's something that is common in my town. Ask what can be done to be safe inside and outside the building?

What preventive actions should individuals take and look out for at the building? The information will help everyone to practice safety measures there and just in their daily lives. Once again, I'm sorry to hear that this has happened to you.

All my best