One day before Thanksgiving, a gentleman walked in the front doors of the Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County who could teach us all a few lessons about life. At first glance, one could tell this man had lead an interesting life and more likely than not, a difficult one. The man, in his early to mid-50s, walked with a limp, in obvious back pain, not clean shaven, and with a “biker” look. In his left hand were a series of well made, decorated nets held together with twine called Dream Catchers.
The man and I sat down and talked in the lobby for at least 20 minutes before he had to go to his next doctor’s appointment. He was not afraid to say the he had been in state prison 4 times, most on drug related offenses. His last sentence was supposed to be 25 years but he was paroled early. While in prison he almost died from a heart attack, and he mentioned a gunshot wound to his mouth that causes him pain. It was obvious that this man had been through a lot. He told me that I should stay out of trouble and what helped him turn his life around was when he started making Dream Catchers for the Children’s Advocacy Center.
The Dream Catchers he makes are used by our counselors to give to children who are scared and are having nightmares. Since the Children’s Advocacy Center serves children who have been severely abused and since most of the children have been sexually abused, their beds are sometimes a place where bad memories happen. The stories behind the Dream Catchers are that the weave catches the nightmares and the bad dreams so that they don’t bother the children anymore. The counselors at the Children’s Advocacy Center says that the Dream Catchers have been very popular with the children and parents, allowing kids to sleep better during a very difficult time in their lives.
The children will never get a chance to meet Bruce Waggoner because he volunteers from home and is behind the scenes. Because of his criminal background and because of our criminal background policies he will never be able to have interaction with the children he makes these Dream Catchers for.
Mr. Waggoner wants others to know that you don’t have to be rich in order to help others. There is always something you can do for someone. His friends once told him that people would always disregard him and that he shouldn’t even try to be a “do gooder.” Bruce disagreed with his friends and continues to make a big difference in the lives of children he will never meet. They will have Dream Catchers above their beds that capture the nightmares that often come from abuse.
Mr. Waggoner’s story teaches us that anyone can do something for these children, whether it is donating money, time or talent. To volunteer or to learn how you can help the Children’s Advocacy Center, visit http://www.cacdc.org/ or call (972) 317-2818.