In the last 6 months or so, people of Kelso and Longview and throughout Cowlitz County have had a field day with Love Overwhelming. Love Overwhelming has been functioning out of local churches for the last 5 years, serving homeless people, building relationships and working to house people who are ready to make the change from the street to a home. In the early part of 2015 Love Overwhelming finally moved into a permanent space; after years of searching for a suitable place where they would be able to serve the community and with the help of grants from Cowlitz County. Neighbors claim many things about Love Overwhelming and have used social media and local press to rally anyone that would speak against Love Overwhelming.
This week a little girl stepped on a broken syringe while her family was at the Catlin Rotary Water Park. The child has been treated at the local hospital and will have to undergo blood work and possible treatment if she presents with any illness from this accident.
I ask Lord, please bless this child and give her peace and strength. Please bless her family and speak to their hearts. In Your Name, Amen.
That said, the fact that syringes were found at Catlin Rotary Spray Park is terrible; but I am so sick of hearing angry people blame everything they can on Love Overwhelming.
People in our community have spent hours and days arguing and rallying people to spread hate and semi-truths, as well as straight-up lies. After reading several comments yesterday, I had some questions.
Why has no one held the Kelso Parks responsible for not cleaning up the park?
After a little research I learned that Kelso Parks has one person to maintain all the parks in Kelso, WA. The parks are only maintained on weekdays. There is no one to clean them on the weekends. Funding is limited, as well. Kelso Parks Director, Randy Johnson, has said that Kelso Parks has had to spend thousands of dollars to make repairs after repeat vandalism. (Which may have done by bored people or anyone that doesn’t respect people’s property)
Kelso City Councilman Rick Roberson is very passionate about finding ways to make the parks in Kelso more safe and he will be addressing possible ideas for change at next Tuesday’s Kelso City Counsel Meeting. He knows that needles are found all over our community, not just in this park.
During conversations on Facebook there were some ideas to make Catlin Rotary Water Park more safe:
- Fully fence the Catlin Rotary Water Park
- Set hours that the park is open
- Use volunteers to maintain the park
- Aquire metal detectors to help find dangerous items (volunteers could do this)
- Install safe needle receptacles for dirty needles
Why aren’t parents taking responsibility for the safety of their children?
Until there is a better way to deal with the people who are doing foolish things, we need to be teaching our children how to be safe. Parents need to teach children how to deal with situations where they may be in danger. Parents need to check out the park to make sure danger is not readily available.
When at the park, parents and guardians should stay off their phones or keep calls short and follow children around and talk with them. They should warn children of dangerous items, sharp corners, dog poop and people who may have ill intentions. Guardians should help them when they are stuck or hurt and build relationship with them and help them make good decisions. If guardians are outnumbered, they should consider making a play date with another parent or guardian that can help keep the children safe and promote healthy behaviors and social cues. Guardians can also make friends with other parents and take turns monitoring children so they can help each other have time to relax and enjoy the park.
I am sure that the family of this child was doing the best they could. I believe I have spoken with this mother and I am sure she wants the best for her child. I am sorry if anyone may feel that I have implied that she wasn’t taking care of her child; This is one sad situation.
If you take a first aid class you are going to confronted with the knowledge that everyone should have a basic first aid kit with them that includes rubber gloves to protect themselves. You can choose to be angry that you have to do this, or you can take responsibility for your safety and the safety of your family and your community.
For parents that don’t want their children to learn how to find a grown up when they find a dangerous item, like a syringe—which could have been from an irresponsible diabetic, just as well as drug addict, I think they are being ridiculous. There are some things that we can’t change and even though it is sad that people make decisions that can hurt others, we must teach our children how to protect themselves. I am not saying that the parent, in this situation, feels they shouldn’t have to burden their children with this knowledge, but some parents do believe this way. Wake up people, if we don’t teach our children, they are more likely to have dangerous situations that they don’t know how to deal with and that is much scarier than asking the doctor to explain what to do with a syringe, if they should find one, while they are at a regular well-baby check up.
I can remember people in Longview/Kelso complaining about the drug problem since I learned about drugs in school…that was about 30 years ago. Love Overwhelming is only 5 years old. Love Overwhelming is not responsible for the drug problem. I believe they are trying to help the problem. I understand that people are frustrated with real issues in their backyard, but those issues were here long before LO. The staff at LO have a hard job, that can be mentally and physically challenging. People who feel that their questions are met by an uncaring person, have not thought about the fact that it isn’t the staff’s job to placate the community, it is their job to love the community and work with emergency response agencies to serve our community. It is only harder to do that when LO staff and volunteers are accused and found guilty all the time, even before the questions are asked.
We must stop blaming Love Overwhelming for a situation they can’t stop; If you want to see change you could become a volunteer, make donations or pray for them.
Most of the people served at Love Overwhelming are Cowlitz County residents. The argument that Love Overwhelming attracts the people they serve from other places is just not true.
8.11.15 – Press Release
Love Overwhelming is saddened by the news that a child was stuck with a needle at the Catlin spray park. It is unfortunate that some people who are experiencing active addiction disregard the safety of others, and that is not okay.
Cowlitz County has had an issue with community needle disposal long before Love Overwhelming was in existence. The fact that certain people are using this family’s misfortune to try and enhance their political agenda against Love Overwhelming is sad, unethical, and out of line.
Love Overwhelming stands in solidarity with the Moore family. We are committed to working with community members, emergency response systems, health and human services, Kelso’s needle exchange program, and other treatment and service providers to address this public health issue.
– Love Overwhelming
People have a right to their feelings. They should feel them. They should also let go of them as soon as possible, instead of harboring feelings of hatred and accusation. I am not saying that I don’t understand the feelings of anger a parent would have when their child has an accident, such as stepping on a syringe in a park, created for children. What I believe is that we must deal with our feelings and forgive, deal with the issues we can impact and then educate ourselves and our children.
People in general revel in strife…why do you think the media reports news the way they do? They are making money off our attraction to train wrecks. The golden rule is taught universally…not just in the bible. How are we loving people as ourselves or treating others as we would like to be treated, if we are verbally abusing them and refusing to forgive them?
Alcoholics are people. Drug addicts are people. Sex addicts are people. The staff at Love Overwhelming are people. If you are reading this you are probably a person. Would you like people to find your shortcoming and accuse, judge and find you guilty and scream and yell for your neighbor to help them make a bigger noise?
Addiction makes people do things that are unwise. Some addictions cause people to do things that hurt other people. Our only way to make a difference in our community is to educate ourselves, create action plans for real situations and hope for the best. Forgiveness, preparation and wisdom are our tools to get through this life.
If you are a Christian, you are not promised an easy life, you are promised a blessed life. That blessing is salvation and a personal relationship with God that can intimately lead you through the trials; but you are still forced to learn how to live in the spirit, while being on this earth, with all that concept implies.
I have issues with food, sometimes I lie, sometimes I don’t love my neighbor. My sin is no different than someone that causes danger to others, in the eyes of God. This doesn’t change the fact that some hangups hurt people: substance addiction, sex addiction, et al.
It is a waste of time to be angry at people. It doesn’t make your life better. Free yourself from all this anger and forgive so that you will be healthier. Let’s stop making ourselves and our community sick because we are so angry all the time. Own your issues. You are the only person you can change.
I am praying for you.
My name is Summer (Executive Director for Living Ministries). That is how you can call me. I hope that I am a blessing to you. I am not perfect. I will fall again. But I am forgiven.
Do you know Jesus? Do want the Holy Spirit to fill you and give you understanding and salvation? Ask Him. Want someone to pray with you? Contact me.
If you would like to know Jesus as your friend, but want to make this amazing commitment by yourself please pray something like this:
Thank you Jesus that You are the Son of God, the God that created heaven and earth. Thank you Jesus that You came to earth in the form of a man so that You would be able to empathize with my humanity. Thank You that You did this in order to fulfill the promises You made at the foundation of the world.
I realize that I am a sinner and do things that hurt myself and keep myself away from you. Thank You that You died for my sins so that You could defeat death and bring me into Your life. Please forgive me.
I ask You to be Lord of my life. I ask you to heal my hurts and show me what my new life, empowered by You looks like. Thank You for Your mercy.
The Lord is with you always.