Midland Texas - High Sky IMidland Texas - Brian Schroeder with My Community Federal Credit Union rebounds the ball during a basketball game against some of the children at the High Sky Children's Ranch. Cindeka Nealy/Reporter-Telegram

 High Sky Children’s Ranch emergency shelter is a safe house for children who were removed from their homes by Child Protective Services.  This Christmas, volunteers from the community are treating the kids with a weeks worth of games and nurture from those who want to lend a hand.  “You think about these kids not being with their parents and families on Christmas,” said Diane Luna, a volunteer with the credit union.  “We just wanted to bring a little joy to them.” 

Assistant shelter director, Geoffrey Stratton said that the need for a stable environment to send children who were removed from their homes by Child Protective Services was greater than they anticipated.  The shelter now cares for children between 39-90 days, even though with that time allowance some end up staying longer instead of the original day or two while more permanent placement was found.  “In 30 to 90 days you can really see a lot of progress,” Stratton said.  “A lot of times they have anger and  trust issues or just have trouble expressing their needs.”

Some of the children are from families where drug abuse was an issue, others may have parents who are incarcerated and other children have suffered from some type of abuse or neglect.  Just more than 50% of children who stay in the shelter are reunited with a relative or with their parents after they complete steps necessitated by the state to regain custody.  Other children may be placed in foster homes.

The organization is caring for a total of 37 children this week, 20 of whom live in a shelter designated for those younger than 6 years old. 

A volunteer with My Community Federal Credit Union, Michelle Davis said the company works to do outreach through the year and employees decided to spend time at High Sky, knowing the holidays can be a “tough time” for children living in the shelters.

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Kaydee Snider with My Community Federal Credit Union paints the face of one of the children Tuesday at High Sky Children's Ranch. Cindeka Nealy/Reporter-Telegram

They try to make Christmas a celebration for the children just like it would be if they where in a more typical situation Frances Orosco, an employee at the shelter says.  Santa will stop by on Saturday and several groups, like the credit union, have come out to provide the kids with special treats.

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