Advocacy and the Gospel

By Catherine Finch

“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” – Proverbs 31:8-9 (ESV)

Amy is a caseworker for Boys Ranch Town, Edmond. She lives on the campus with her husband and their one-year-old daughter. She has been in this role since 2018 and is currently the caseworker for 16 boys.

When asked to summarize her job, Amy responded, “Each day is different. I am in charge of taking the calls of families looking for placement for their children. I listen to what they’re expecting or needing from us, and then I let them know what we offer. I also interview boys once they have been accepted. We interview the boys to determine what cottage will be best for them – if they like sports or band or Ag, we try to pair them with a cottage where there are other boys they can connect with.”

Amy continued, “We also do the enrollment process for school and communicate with their parents about the boys’ progress and coordinate visitation. But ultimately, a caseworker is someone who advocates for the boys. We listen to them and hear what they want. We want them to know their opinion matters. We collaborate with houseparents to set goals and make sure we have the boys on a track that’s best for them.”

“I remember my first day on the job,” Amy said. “The other caseworker walked into my office with a stack of files and said, ‘These are your boys. Love them. Protect them. Advocate for them. And don’t be afraid of what’s in the files. It’ll all be okay.’”

“As I read through the files, I was burdened by what I saw,” Amy continued. “So many of the boys here have been through so much. And they still deal with a lot, family dynamics, trauma, instability. It can be overwhelming.”

Amy with a couple of boys at Boys Ranch Town

She has learned how to connect with the boys and let them be in control of what they share. Amy said she relies on a lot of prayer to help guide her interactions with the boys. She tries to make sure the boys feel comfortable with her and trust her. She knows the boys are paying attention to how she reacts to situations and how she handles her emotions. “Each morning, I remind myself that God is in control of each conversation I have with these young men and each situation I am faced with,” said Amy.

Amy said her job is really challenging, but also very rewarding. “It can be hard to not feel overwhelmed or burdened by the hardships these boys have been through,” she said. “I have to be mindful of how my heart and mind are doing under the weight of the job and make sure I am keeping a healthy balance of work and home life. Because I live on campus, it can be hard to find that separation. But I have found setting boundaries and investing in hobbies or interests I enjoy helps me have a healthy balance.”

“I am reminded daily that my role is not just a job. I am dealing with people’s lives,” said Amy. “So, while I am advocating for these boys and seeking the best for them, I am sharing the Gospel with them. If they are willing to accept the Gospel, then their lives can truly change.”

“The boys I work with are not objects. They are not just pieces of paper I shred once they leave,” continued Amy. “They are people with beating hearts who need the love of Jesus. And I am so grateful I get to work for a Christian organization that allows me to share the Gospel with them.”

Read more about Boys Ranch Town.