Our Stories

Richard

Richard's relationship with his children was potentially “high risk” for child abuse and/or neglect...

 

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Noah

Richard

Richard enrolled in our parenting program and his initial risk assessment

indicated that his relationship with his children was potentially “high risk”

for child abuse and/or neglect. Richard met periodically with his assigned

Case Manager to set goals and an action plan, and throughout the 16

weeks he worked on accomplishing each goal one step at a time. He

shared his top 2 priorities and asked for help. 

Richard dropped out of high school and never completed his GED and

he had no relationship with any of his 3 daughters. A month into the

program, he was on his way to enrolling into a GED course. After

attending a few weeks of the parenting class, he learned that his

inability or unwillingness to speak to his daughters were due to power

struggles he experienced every time they interacted. One of the

exercises he participated in involved learning the difference between

“you vs. I” statements. He was committed to enrolling in counseling to

explore what psychological and behavioral patterns were negatively

impacting his relationships.

He also opened up and participated in role play in class and practiced

the newly developed skills at home. To his surprise, he was able to

implement it after numerous tries. He shared that while it was tough

having to change his mindset, he stuck with it. The different approaches

to communicating and not focusing on power issues, helped him to see

how a simple change of words can change the reaction he would receive

from his daughters. Richard made time in his busy schedule to attend

every class because he knew the value of the knowledge he was gaining.

At the end of the 16 weeks, Richard was pleased to inform BAG that his

relationship with his daughters had never been better. This transformation

led him to reflect on his own relationship with his mother. Not only did he

learn to be a better father to his daughters, he also learned to be a better

son to his mother. He was very thankful for the experience and committed

to continuing his learning to set an example for his children.

“Noah” is a seven-year-old boy who was has displaying anger

outbursts characterized as yelling, screaming, and threatens

to damage property around him. Noah’s caregiver was his

grandmother because his parents were not around. 

 

The grandmother was stressed out and didn’t know how to address

Noah’s intense emotions. The counselor worked with Noah with

coping skills and modeled other more positive ways to express

himself other than through anger. At first, Noah was resistant, but

once the counselor established trust, Noah began to open up and

tried practicing the behaviors modeled. The Case Manager reached

out to the parents and the mom finally came in to talk to her. When

the mom observed how Noah’s behavior had changed, she opened

her arms and threw them around Noah. Even though Noah was 

uncomfortable, you could sense that he really needed and wanted

that hug. It was as if the years of mental and emotional scars lifted.

From that point, the mom attended counseling and our parenting

classes to work out her own emotional scars and learn how to bond

with Noah. 

 

Noah’s mom learned the emotional triggers when Noah would start

feeling a sense of discomfort before it would escalate to Noah

being angry by utilizing his “calming bottle” that Noah created

during a counseling session. The case manager also offered Noah’s

mother a behavior-tracking chart in order to utilize for rewards and

offer Noah small tangibles or feasible rewards in order to encourage positive behaviors. Noah’s mother stated the amount of anger

outbursts have minimized and behaviors have improved in class

as well. Noah is now establishing new friendships with other

students at school.

Finn

Danny

Danny is a Hispanic 1st grade student. Danny's mother explained

that she was having a difficult time getting her son to school

each morning.  In fact, he would get so upset that he would get

physically sick and start throwing up.  

 

Danny was enrolled in BOOST and counseling.  At the end of

his first session, as Danny and BAG staff were walking back to class,

he started crying and threw up. Danny's mother came to pick him up

and take him home.  At the end of the second session, when it was

time for Danny to return to class, he was getting very upset again

but our staff was able to calm him down while they waited for his

mom to pick him up.

While waiting for his mom to arrive, Danny shared that he didn't

want to come to school because a specific boy "says mean things to

him".  When Danny told his mom this before, the Mom said that  

she just figured it was an excuse for him to miss school. BAG staff 

worked with Danny's teacher to ensure that Danny was not being

bullied anymore. 

 

When Danny was picked up from class for his third session, he

told our staff, "You know, I think when you take me back to class,

I think I'll go and not cry." This was a turning point for Danny

once he felt the care and support of his mom, teacher, and

BAG staff. As for the other boy, the teacher also asked if we

could work with the him because, often times, if children are

bullying others, it is indicative of something that happening at

home. BAG staff reached out to the boy and his parents to provide

support as well.

 

Our staff continued to work with Danny for three months. Danny’s

attendance went from an average of being late 3 days a week

(60%) for the first month of BOOST, to attending school on time

every day (100%) by the second month and consistently achieved

100% attendance onto the third month of participating in BOOST.

Finn is an 8 year old Latino boy. He lives with his grandmother and

great grandparents. At the time he was working with staff at one of

our Family Resource Centers, his father was in jail, his mother was in

rehab and his oldest brother had just joined the Marines. Finn has

had a rough and lonely life.

Before enrolling in counseling, Finn would struggle with his anger.

Often he would shut down in class, throw papers all over the room

and scratch himself until he bled. His mood and temperament was

like a roller-coaster of highs and lows. He struggled to make friends

and keep the ones he did have. He was socially isolated. His teacher

at school was very patience and would do everything in his power

to get Finn through the day without any trouble but, he would often

have to send Finn home early due to his disruptive behaviors in class.

After getting a referral from Finn's teacher, our staff met with Finn’s Grandmother and provided counseling for Finn.  With counseling,

Finn learned the tools he needed to control his emotions and bad

episodes, by showing him that he can beat back negative with his

own thoughts. Now, Finn still had his bad days, but his behavior

stabilized more and he had someone to talk to. While it is an uphill

battle to break the cycle of poor mental health in his family. together

with his teachers and grandmother, the Family Resource Center

staff is giving Finn the footing and strategies to win his fight and

make gains both in the classroom and playground.

 

By providing a healthy circle of social support for Finn, he continues

to get the support he needs for personal, social, and academic

growth.  It has been a long road since starting with BAG. Finn used

to be sent home early multiple times a week and now just has rare

episodes where has been able to reflect and apologize when

confronted with his mistakes.  He is a happier kid now. It hasn't been

easy, but real progress never is.