Teen & Young Adult Literature & Fiction
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The Orphan's Journey
Orphanage. The idea of this very word may give one the feeling of an almost dilapidated, musty building, crammed with a battalion of noisy, dirty, ill-behaved, ill-mannered, ill-treated, and underfed children, at the mercy of nonchalant and disenchanted or warden-like guardians, as they wait to be adopted into loving families. This orphanage that you have begun to read about is not at all like that! In fact, it was no ordinary orphanage at all.
Here, newborn babies shared a nursery, while toddlers from the ages of one to four years old were kept in other quarters. Each nursery was equipped with its’ own caregiver and a volunteer assistant. Children from the ages of five to seven years old were kept in groups of five per bedroom, also with their own caregivers – one to each bedroom. Children from ages eight to twelve years old were kept in groups of three per bedroom, again, with a caregiver and volunteer assistant assigned to each bedroom.
Teenagers from the age of thirteen to eighteen however, were arranged for differently as their social, psychological, and physical development required a different approach. Every adolescent at the age of thirteen was given their own room, which remained theirs until they reached the age of eighteen. They were required to submit to weekly check-ins by the Dean of the orphanage, and daily check-ins by a specifically assigned caregiver.
This system promoted the development of individuality and responsibility, as well as trust between all parties involved. Privacy and accountability were both given at the same time. Each child was given a sense of responsibility as they were charged with the jobs of keeping their quarters neat and clean at all times, assisting each other with tasks, and keeping their grades at a certain level. There was undoubtedly enough space, accommodation, and loving, professionally qualified caregivers for all the children present at the orphanage which at the time, amounted to one hundred and seventy children in total…