How do you encourage change?

Working with at-risk and homeless youth can sometimes be very discouraging.  You watch youth go through cycle after cycle of dysfunction and lack. We watch them struggle with mental health issues, addictions issues, interpersonal relationships, housing issues, and financial struggles.  We know that we can’t change anything for them. We can be there to support them and be a shoulder and an ear but not much more. We can serve them a hot meal. We can be a healthy role model. We can encourage them to keep going. But after a time, discouragement kicks in when the crises don’t change. Because that’s what they are: crises. Of course it becomes discouraging to keep feeding them a meal, and putting bandages on their gaping wounds while watching them self-destruct. Maybe a bandage just isn’t what’s needed anymore? Change is what’s needed! But how do you encourage change? ...real change? Well, if it was you, I would tell you the truth; the truth that the