When John came to us, he was 14 years old and hadn’t been in a classroom for years. In fact, we searched and never found middle school records for him. Testing revealed he was working barely above an elementary grade level.
John was angry and discouraged when we met, and we understood. He was living unparented in a house without regular meals or clothes for school. He’d lost his mom when he was 4 and his father, remarried, was in and out of his life, serving time in prison or traveling to construction jobs.
We knew John needed a lot of help academically – but before that could happen, he needed to know somebody believed in him. That’s where Ms. Mary begins her work. She’s the full-time teacher in his group home, and she understands how kids like John are resigned to failure, afraid to try. “We all told him you can do this,” Mary says. “You can do this. Every day we said, we are going to make sure that you have food to eat, you have clothes to wear, you have a shower, you are going to school – and you are going to do what you need to do.”
Mary started by giving John work she knew he could handle. “When he realized he could do it, he got that success experience. He lost a little bit of his fear. Then he tried something else and moved up, building on that success and starting to believe in himself.”
John is in high school now, with plans to go to culinary school – and we are delighted to see him working toward a dream. It’s because of you that children like John are able to learn, love, and discover their God-given talents. Your compassion, prayer, and gifts give them hope.