Caring Adults Can Transform The Lives of Youths By Building Relationships

CEDARS has been helping Jacob set goals and stay accountable at school and home. We enjoy having him around as he is always in a cheerful mood and helps his peers look on the bright side of things. 

Normally, we see Jacob after school. Our staff pick him up after last bell and we help him focus on getting his homework done as well as working toward his goal of getting an afterschool job. 

Recently, while school was out for winter break, Jacob was in our care all day. This was frustrating for Jacob as most of his friends were hanging out together and having fun while he felt “stuck” working on his goals. 

In a moment of anger, Jacob had a “meltdown.” He tipped over his chair and stormed away. 

Because of the relationship that our team had built with Jacob over many afternoons together, they knew he needed some time to cool down. Our staff team monitored Jacob to make sure he wasn’t a danger to himself or others, but gave him the space he needed. 

When he was ready, Jacob came back into the room and asked our staff, “Why didn’t you yell?”

One of our team members asked Jacob if he had wanted her to yell. Jacob admitted that he had only tipped his chair and stormed out because he wanted a reaction.

All teenagers can be moody and emotional at times, even those who are typically cheerful, like Jacob. But our staff know that when an incident occurs that breaks trust in a relationship, it’s important to restore that trust and mend that relationship. 

Our staff had a choice to be angry, to yell at Jacob, to accuse him and punish him. But our staff knew that for children and youth who have been through so much in their young lives, in many cases including abuse, neglect and homelessness, these choices don’t help the individual heal from the trauma they have experienced. 

Our staff asked Jacob to replace the chair and to apologize. 

When he did so, he asked, “Are you mad?”

Our staff shook her head. She let Jacob know that this didn’t change how she felt about him. In fact, she wanted to let Jacob know that he was important to CEDARS and that he had people that cared about him. 

Knowing that Jacob felt like he was missing out on fun activities with his friends over winter break, our staff turned to our caring community. Thanks to the generosity of individuals, families and businesses during our holiday gift drive, we were able to take Jacob and the other youth in our care on a field trip to a local indoor adventure park. The smiles were evidence enough that this was exactly what everyone needed. 

We are proud to tell you that Jacob has a job interview lined up at a local fast food restaurant. He is nervous and excited when he thinks about making one of his goals. 

This couldn’t have been possible without the support of our community. The boost in Jacob’s self-confidence and his positive attitude come from knowing that he feels cared for by our team and this community, and this has allowed him to focus on making progress. . 

To all of our supporters, thank you.