Do you want to be right or do you want to help children?

July 15, 2011

By Angela Liddle

I’ve spent a lot of time this past week reading, hearing and thinking about Rebecca Jackson from York. Maybe you saw the media reports about her being charged with endangering the welfare of children and cruelty to animals as her home was quarantined and declared unfit for habitation. Media reports quoted neighbors, gave details about the inside of the home and several people followed the articles with judgment laced zingers directed at the mom and York County Children and Youth via online commentary. By the third article, there appeared to be a few people with compassion who posted comments offering concern for Rebecca and the children while they wished them well. I sighed, finally, there were people who acknowledged they may not have all the details and that most people in this world have dark times that can’t be easily explained away or rationalized.

Truth is there have been many people in York County showing Rebecca care and compassion without casting judgments or demanding she explain how her life spiraled so far out of control. Employees of West York Fire Department code enforcement division were professional and kind. Employees from York County Children and Youth have, and will continue, to offer her tools that will help her improve things for herself and her children. These professionals really do understand that the best way to help children is to help their mom and give her an opportunity to make positive change. Criticism does little. Education, resources and support goes a long way. Seems to me that the only people who really need to know the underlying reasons to the situation are Rebecca and those professionals who will help her pick herself up and make a different life for herself and her children.

One citizen in York County already knew that. She was a woman from a surrounding neighborhood who knocked on the door last weekend as Rebecca and several volunteers were cleaning. She handed Rebecca her name and phone number and offered to help her- no questions asked, no pious demeanor, just help. That woman went home, changed clothes and spent the rest of the afternoon helping. This “neighbor” was serious about helping children and she walked the walk. She also did something else that day- with each bag filled, and each bucket of water changed, she was cheering Rebecca as she takes steps toward a better future. Who knows how it will pan out, certainly not me, but at least there are people in York County giving the family a chance.

To learn what you can do to help children and families visit