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March 31, 2020

Stories with Friends: Part 16

Returning to Positive Relationships

Recently John returned to our program after six months away. Friend/mentor Corey was excited to talk about his resilience transitioning back into the clubhouse after an absence.

Corey spoke about how John participated in a Nerf battle in the park with Joe and some of his youth. Corey loved watching a friendship spark between John, Jacob and Jules. John and Jacob even played together recently in their neighborhood.

Building positive relationships is a key part of our program, and it is even more important after a long absence, such as the one John experienced. We are so glad to have John back and be able to watch him grow and develop relationships with other youth.

Resiliency During Transition

Amber has been going through a lot of transition recently–two new cities and three new schools in the past six months. All of this movement has been difficult for her and has lead to a low attendance rate at school.

Recently while on an outing, Friend/mentor Sarah asked Amber whether she was excited about summer. Amber responded, “No, school won’t be happening.” Sarah suggested they set a goal for her new school. Amber quickly responded, “Well, I really want to have good attendance.”

She and Sarah decided to set a goal starting with perfect attendance for March. With only three weeks of school (due to Spring Break), they felt like March was a great month to start improving her attendance.

Sarah described feeling deeply proud of Amber and her resilience during a complicated time and are both excited to work toward their goal together (and decided to go to the arcade to celebrate!). Our whole team is proud of the Perseverance and Grit (a Core Asset) she is showing by working hard to be in school every day!

Creating Comic Book Characters

Joe has been struggling to get Jacob to eat a healthy diet. On their recent outing, Joe was ready to have to compromise with Jacob about what he ate. He had experienced meals with Jacob before and was sure it would not be an easy conversation.

Instead, Jacob was excited to order what he wanted from the breakfast menu. They brought in paper to draw and ended up eating and drawing for an entire hour! They used three whole legal pad pages and created their own superhero comic book. They drew costumes, created powers and even developed a family tree. During their next outing, they plan on developing an entire story around their character.

Joe had a blast watching Jacob use his creative side and find his spark (a Core Asset), especially since Jacob had struggled in the past to communicate his ideas and express his creativity.

A few days later, Jacob waved at Friend/mentor Corey when he saw him at school and ran over to tell him about his comic book. Jacob rarely reaches out to others like this, and it put a huge smile on Corey’s face to see Jacob's excitement!

I Like School Now

Lincoln is still pretty new to Friends–Central Oregon. He and Andrew met just a few months ago. Lincoln has struggled to listen to authority figures and was generally reserved and closed off. Because of some behavioral issues in school, he has only been allowed to go to school for half days–for possibly up to six months.

Andrew mentioned that Lincoln had been highly motivated by their outings–telling Andrew he wants to pause time on their car rides home, so they have more time together. Andrew saw this as an opportunity to help Lincoln improve his behavior and increase his time at school.

In just three weeks of half-days and time spent with Andrew, Lincoln is listening to his teachers more and has increased his time at school. Recently he told Andrew, “I really like school now.”

As Andrew recounted Lincoln's changing behavior, he mentioned seeing him laugh and giggle recently for the first time ever. A moment Andrew saw as an important milestone in their relationship and in Lincoln’s growth.

It is difficult to pinpoint just one Core-Asset that has been a part of Lincoln’s recent change in behavior. It seems he has grown in so many ways. We are so proud of you, Lincoln. Keep working hard!