The following poem was written from conversations with children and families of Appalachian Ministries and personal insights gained through working in this ministry. Every phrase has a story. 

Give to me a rhinestone comb and I will place it in my hair and add a touch of elegance to my world.
Take my picture and I will see that I am beautiful.
Teach me to read and I will read a book to my son.
Take time to talk With me instead of To me so you will know who I am.
Answer my questions about God and Heaven and it's ok to say you don't know.
Teach me to pray.
Give me something to believe in, a destination, and a map to get there then walk with me some of my journey.
Paint my room blue and put a comforter on my bed and I will invite friends over and no longer be ashamed.
Give me clean water for my clothes because pond water turns my socks brown and the kids laugh at me.
Let me play ball with you even if I'm "no good" because I want to play ball more than anything.
Buy garbage bags and fluffy towels and dishes for me so my home can be more like yours.
Teach me to appreciate the heritage which is mine and the location in which I live so I may be proud of who I am.
Be a teacher to me and I will get my GED and put the certificate in a frame in my trailer because I am proud of ME.
Buy makeup for me in the right colors so I won't have orange skin and bright blue eyeshadow.
Know that I will be sorry for the mistakes I will make but I have to learn and grow to become the person we want me to be.
Look at ME instead of my home or my clothes or my relatives.
Show me the lights of a city, the beauty of the country, a college campus and a working man so I will know the power of choices.
Let me come into your home, your life, your family as a friend--not a project.
Take me to a restaurant and let me order for myself and pay my own bill, even if it's with money you have given me.
Let me know the rules and the consequences and never punish me today for actions that were ok yesterday.

When I do good or I look pretty or say something funny please notice me so I won't need to act silly or cause disruptions to draw attention to myself.
Understand that I may not be smart and I may stink of soured shoes and dirty clothes but I have a soul and the soul that I possess is more important and more eternal than your designer labels, your stained glass windows or your record attendance.
Reach out to me and in fulfilling my needs I will fulfill yours.
Love me forever. Be my friend. 
----Lisa Lacy-Helterbrand