As Friend/mentor Sarah reflected recently in 2019, she spoke of how
incredible it has been to watch her girls make connections and develop
relationships with each other.
For example, Katie and Amber have become really close friends. It was
Amber’s birthday last weekend and, unfortunately, she did not have the
best day. When Sarah told Katie this, Katie immediately wanted to
celebrate Amber! They made her a card and got her a cupcake and were so
excited to celebrate with her.
Amber lit up when she saw the card, and Katie was so excited to be
able to help make Amber happy. It was a beautiful story of Belonging and
Positive Relationship Building (Core Assets) for Sarah, Amber and
HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, Amber!
Nelson: Advocating for Himself
Even though he loved his old school, Nelson changed to a new school
recently. It was for an exciting reason; however, he was reunited with
his mom and needed to move cities.
Nelson had been doing great at his former school, but because of some
past behavioral concerns, he had a “behavior chart” that followed him
from one school to the next. He found himself having to get adults to
sign off on his chart all day long. He was starting to feel really
anxious because he was constantly being monitored had to track down
teachers to ensure he got their stamp of approval.
Recently he told Friend/mentor Joe flat out, “I haven’t been getting
it signed.” As Joe asked him why, he was amazed by Nelson’s ability to
articulate what he was feeling. He told Joe he did not feel like he was
getting a lot out of it and did not think he needed to continue doing
Joe was struck by Nelson’s ability to advocate for himself–to speak
to what he needs, wants, and finds important in his own life.
Joe loved the maturity and growth Nelson showed that afternoon and
likened it to Self-Determination, one of our Core Assets. Nelson found
himself in a new, complicated situation and, through
self-determination, was able to take care of himself in a healthy way
without the need for a behavior chart. Way to go, Nelson!
That’s My Best Friend!
Gretchen can be shy around others sometimes. A few months ago, Friend/mentor Ashley wanted to take Gretchen on a group outing with
Stella. When Ashley and Stella arrived to pick up Gretchen, she was very
unsure–not wanting to get into the car or say hello to Stella.
Unfortunately, the group outing did not workout that afternoon, but
more recently, Ashley asked Gretchen if she wanted to go on an outing
with Stella. Gretchen’s face lit up as she said, “Oh, that’s my best
Ashley was struck by Gretchen’s excitement and sense of
Belonging–another Core Asset. She also cannot wait to have many more
group outings with Gretchen and Stella!
Behavior Issues, No More!
Andrew has had some behavioral issues in the past, and, because of
this, Friend/mentor Corey has only been able to have outings with Andrew
at his school. They have not been able to do any of the fun,
adventure-type things they used to enjoy together (their favorite was
Recently, Corey told Andrew that he was bummed they did not get to
have outings outside of school, telling him, “I really miss hanging out
with you!” Andrew felt the same way, so Corey went to work on a way to get their outings back. He and Nona, our Program Director, came up
with a plan: if Andrew could go ten days without any behavioral concerns,
he and Andrew could have their time outside of school back.
It was an ambitious plan, as previously, Andrew had not been able to
go more than two to three days without a behavior issue arising. That was four
months ago, and Andrew has not had one behavior issue since that day!
For one of their recent outings, Andrew and Corey went to find geodes
outside of Bend. While in search of these rocks, they found themselves
on a long hike together. They came to a cliff, and Andrew said, “This is
the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” Corey realized Andrew had
never been to the top of a mountain and knew this was a special moment.
Later, as Corey asked Andrew about what had changed with his
behavior, he answered, “You said I had to go ten days, so I just really
focused and didn’t get into trouble.”
We are so proud and excited for Andrew and Corey. Getting their
outings back has meant the world to them both, and Andrew’s Perseverance and Grit and Self-Determination (both Core Assets) have been
incredible to watch!