GLASGOW — “Hard to Place,” a film made in Glasgow that is based on a true story about two children in the local community who escaped abuse and neglect, premiered Friday at the Plaza Theatre.
The film served as a call to action with the hope of helping youth who may be in a similar situation.
Mica Pence, family court judge for Barren and Metcalfe counties, spoke to the audience who turned out for the premiere. She explained there are lots of ways community members can help youth. One way to help is by becoming a foster parent.
“That is a great way to help. Whether that child is in your home for one week, one month or one year, you have the opportunity to teach them, to guide them, to be a mentor and to show them love,” she said. “Even if that child is not in your home forever maybe they are just there for a little while you have the opportunity to change their lives.”
Another way to help is to become a court-appointed special advocate or CASA volunteer.
“That means you just advocate for a child in court. You stand up for what they want and what is best for them. Often times we stretch ourselves at work way too thin, so having a CASA volunteer is that constant in a child's life when a social worker might change, judge might change or a foster family might change. Being a CASA volunteer is a great way to help,” she said.
Pence also suggested becoming a mentor at the Boys and Girls Club of Glasgow-Barren County.
“You can help by reaching out to youth that you see need help,” Pence said. “You can help by supporting a social worker. I have a lot of social workers in and out of my court every day and so many of them are here tonight.”
She asked them to stand up and be recognized.
Pence also talked about the Bridge Kentucky organization, which is just getting started in Barren County, as a way of helping youth.
“The purpose of that organization is for us to intercept those kids first, before they have to be removed from their homes. Put the services in place for the whole family. Most kids just want to be home with mom and dad, but sometimes mom and dad need help whether that is help because they can't make their finances work right, or because they just can't get to work, because they can't get that car fixed and maintain transportation. We are intervening first to get them the help that they need, so if you would like to help become a member of Bridge,” she said.
Pence encouraged the audience to think about what is the best way they can help and make a change in the community.
“Just in Barren and Metcalfe counties I have over 100 kids in foster care right now,” she said. “Think about that. Over 100 kids right now in foster care in your community, so think about how you might help.”
Pence also shared with the audience that all the ways community members can help will be posted at https://www.facebook.com/Hard-To-Place-Glasgow-and-Barren-County-103751054345349/.
Haylee Dubert, a Glasgow High School junior and a junior staff member for the Boys and Girls Club of Glasgow-Barren County, also spoke prior to the showing of the film.
Dubert shared her “hard to place” story.
“My story starts out with 14 different foster homes in 13 years,” she said. “I know, that's a lot. It's crazy.”
During that time, she got in trouble for fighting and was kicked out of school.
“I'm not like that anymore, obviously, as you can see, because I am talking to you today,” she said. “I just want to help you guys understand that all of us foster kids, we can change. We can be given a second chance and that if you just put your heart into the foster care program and you open up your heart to someone in need you can change somebody's life forever.”
At age 13, Dubert was adopted by Patricia Dubert in Glasgow.
“She's given me the most amazing home. She introduced me to the Boys and Girls Club, which has presented me with so many different opportunities there, giving me the confidence I didn't have when I first came. You wouldn't know it now (and) wouldn't be able to tell it now, but I didn't talk to anybody when I first came here,” she said.
Dubert had no self confidence, but said being involved with the Boys and Girls Club has helped her obtain it.
“I thank God for giving me these amazing people. Without my foster mom, now my adopted mom, I wouldn't have gone to the boys and girls club. Without the boys and girls club, I wouldn't be here talking to you,” she said.
Dubert sang “Lean on Me” following the showing of the film.
In the audience was Kentucky's First Lady Glenna Bevin, who has four adopted children, as well as five biological children.
“I think Glasgow is a very unique community. What they are doing here is they are wrapping around our most vulnerable in ways that only you can dream. I think this movie is going to catch everybody's attention and I hope it will encourage them, if they can't foster or adopt, if they could just wrap themselves around other families who are because they need support. That's what I'm hoping for,” she said.
Bevin has an organization called the First Lady's Leadership Council, and said Dubert is “one of my kids.” Because Dubert is involved with FLLC, Bevin had heard her sing in the past and said she is amazing.
“She is really good and she is such a precious little girl, too,” Bevin said.
Also in the audience was Kimberly May of Glasgow, who was invited by the Boys and Girls Club. May said she thought the movie was both amazing and captivating.
May is a foster parent and said the movie gave her a whole different view of foster care.
“You don't really want to think about that side of it,” she said. “It made me realize just the reality of what some of the things these kids have been through.”
Melissa Saltsman of Glasgow attended the premiere and said she came to show her support.
“I work for Goodwill, so several of us from our work came. We like to support the boys and girls club. We believe in what they do,” she said.
While the movie didn't spur Saltsman to consider becoming a foster parent immediately, she said it is something she might consider in the future.
“I think that's a great thing. It takes special people to be able to do something like that,” she said.