Our Success Stories Keep Us Going!
Jazyman, age 8, entered the Youth Connections Jumpstart program due to behavior issues and the inability to control not only her words but also her tone of voice.
Jazyman was constantly blurting things out without thinking about what she was saying or if she was hurting other classmate’s feelings. She acted out both impulsively and inappropriately. Jazyman struggled to fit in at home and at school. Frequently sent home because of her poor behavior, she was an unhappy child, student, and daughter.
Once Jazyman joined Youth Connections Jumpstart program she has shown a great improvement within the classroom and with her classmates. Now, thanks to a JumpStart program about bullying the incidences of Jazyman’s poor behavior have decreased. Both teachers and her parents have said the program had a huge impact on her attitude both at home and at school
JumpStart…one of six programs provided by Youth Connections in Morgan County.
Elliott– A 10 year old boy was recommended for Youth Connections Jumpstart in October of last year. Sadly, he was not allowed to attend our Jumpstart sessions unless he could complete his homework prior to attending the Jumpstart program. When he finally got to attend the program his first session was one where we were making circuit bugs. He said he had so much fun that he was going to get his homework done all the time so he could come to Jumpstart every week. From that first day until the end of the school year he completed his homework in a timely manner and made it every session and the counselor said that his enthusiasm for school had improved!
Some success stories don’t always have a truly happy ending. Our recent Safe Place/Host Home youth is representative of this situation. Billy (named changed for confidentiality purposes) was placed in one of our Host Homes after a call from the local middle school counselor to our Safe Place Helpline. The counselor was concerned about this youth because he was having issues at home. When we assessed the situation, we realized the youth needed to be involved with DCS. We worked very hard to get a case started with DCS over the next several weeks.
Billy was living with his adoptive father and biological sister. Billy’s mother had died several years before from cancer. Billy also recently lost his maternal grandmother from cancer. Billy was dealing with the grief of losing the only adult women in his life. Billy’s adoptive father worked second shift, which in turn left both Billy and his 15-yr. old sister alone at night. Recently, Having the sister’s boyfriend living in the home proved to be an added stressor for Billy. Billy was being disciplined by an 18-yr. old youth instead of his father. There was constant fighting and Billy received several bruises and cuts. Billy reported the being strangled by the boyfriend because Billy had eaten too much for dinner.
Billy was reported by his adoptive father to be violent and uncooperative, he was also being bullied at school and acting out. After the call to Youth Connections Safe Place Program, we immediately placed him in a host home family. We referred Billy’s family to Adult and Child’s Wraparound program to establish a case manager that would help Billy, his sister and his adoptive father. Unfortunately, his father did not want to participate and blamed Billy for the problems. Billy’s father stated many times that he did not want Billy and Billy needed another place to stay.
We continued to advocate for Billy to be placed in the custody of DCS. Billy did not want to return home and his adoptive father did not want him either. After several conferences with DCS, we were successful in having DCS take custody of Billy. He was not placed back in the home. Billy was very lucky to stay with the Host Home family as they were also licensed as a foster home.
Billy’s father is NOT a part of his life. He does have contact with his sister but this causes some issues and Billy continues to work through these issues with counseling. Billy now is living with a maternal aunt and her family. He is continuing to improve at school and has not had any violent episodes at their home. Billy is happy where he is.
Sarah- An eleven-year-old girl who participated in our Jumpstart group mentoring lunch groups has selective mutism. She would not talk to her peers, teachers or other adults; she would simply retreat into her own world. Throughout the year she participated more and more in our group sessions. The girls in her group were very supportive of her and tried to draw her out.
By the end of the year she was openly talking and making friends, as well as singing in the hallways and answering questions in class. The counselor told Youth Connections program coordinator that she was impressed with the impact that we had on the student and that there had been huge change in the young girl during the school year.