For so many of our teen clients either in our residential services program or community based programs the problem is not that of “violent offender” but rather the issue of “addiction”.
Oftentimes, we the adults in the community fail to see that behavioral issues might be a sign of not a “bad kid” but instead a “kid in a bad situation”.
In commemoration of both #RecoveryMonth and #RedRibbonWeek we thought we share a real candid snapshot of a young man who recently received services and support from Crittenton’s Wraparound Family Services Program.
The journey for a drug-free existence is never easy for youth that unfortunately use drugs to escape the harsh realities of their childhood. On behalf of Crittenton Services we thank our young client for sharing his struggles, his hopes, and his dreams with our audience. His recovery journey will not be an easy one, but we are proud of his desires to want to get help and most importantly his acceptance of help when offered.
It can be difficult to convince anyone that perhaps there might be a healthier way of doing things….but, when you approach someone without judgement and with compassion it can lead to a “breakthrough” or “clarity” moment.
Thanks to the Crittenton staff for always planting those seeds of resilience, and a special thanks to our clients (current and former) who were willing to give us a chance in order to make a difference.
And now….a few thoughts from a client…
How I came to the VIDA Program
At court the judge asked me a lot of questions and decided that it would be a good learning experience to go to a program like a boot camp. It was my social worker who suggested that I would be a good candidate for the VIDA Program. Two of my [Crittenton] wraparound team members, Christine [Crittenton therapist] and Lorena [Crittenton Parent Partner] heard about VIDA and thought I could benefit from the program.
I am not proud to be writing that I’ve been to court more than once in my life. The last time I went to court was in October . The reasons for going were for different charges like marijuana use, curfew, truancy and also family problems with my mom and sister. I live at home with my mom and sister and we are always having arguments. Because I often come home when it is way past my curfew. A lot of the time my mom can tell that I have been smoking weed and we fight about that too. I have been caught smoking marijuana before and after school more than one time.
“Smoking weed is the big reason that I’m having a hard time going to school on time and doing well in school. I get easily distracted where my attention moves to something else and before I know it I get to school really late, or I end up deciding not to go to school that day. Because of all my absences, I now have low grades in my classes.”
This happens to be one of the hardest times in my life. I manage to keep getting into trouble. A lot of the time I do know why I get into trouble but there are sometimes I really don’t understand why things go the way they do. When it comes to doing something like schoolwork or chores, I get frustrated. I get anxious. When that happens I find me getting out of control. When I am out of control, I get in trouble. I know I make things harder on myself. I know I need a little help to point me in the right direction.
My Dreams and Goals
Right after high school I am not exactly sure what I want to do. I might try to go to a good college for two or three years to see if there is anything that might lead me to an interesting career. I might look into joining the US Marines or the US Air Force because I have a dream of wearing a uniform and serving the country. I know that whatever I decide to do I know I want to help my mom for everything she has done to raise me. I have a dream of buying a house where my mom and I could live. I respect my mom and want to make her proud of her son. I owe my life to my mom.
I know there are steps I must take in order to reach my goals and dreams. I need to turn my life around. I need to get back to going to class every day. I need to do better in classes and get better grades that will allow me to graduate and go to college. Once I hit college I know that I will have to work harder than I did in high school, especially since I might want to sign up to work in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department either as a officer or a community worker.
“I know that in order to see my dreams come true that I need to turn things around. I know that I am smart but I get frustrated a lot and that messes me up in life. But I know that I can do anything if I set my mind on something and focus and stick with it. I know that I can finish high school. I know that I can go to college. I know that I will get a good job where I will be able to buy a nice house for my mom and I to live in.”
The big thing that holds me from making my dreams come true is weed. I know I need to stop smoking but I have a hard time learning to quit on my own. I know that I need help with this. I need to get my life together. I need to grow up. I want to become a good man and a good son. I want to take care of my family because my mom is all I have right now.
I have a dream where I see myself older. I am wearing a uniform. My mom and I are living in a house in the City of Los Angeles. My mom is smiling at me because she is proud to see me in my uniform as I go off to work. I am older and wiser and I am working in my community. I am telling some kids that I was once like them and I had it rough but I worked at it. It wasn’t easy but I am here to tell these kids that your dreams can come true.
Crittenton Services for Children and Families of Southern California (CSCF) is a non-profit social services agency whose mission is to heal the wounds of abuse and neglect; strengthen families; and help troubled adolescents reach their full potential. Established and incorporated in 1966 Crittenton has a highly trained workforce operating 24 hours a day / 7 days a week providing comprehensive counseling, medical, and other support services to the clients in our care. We provide a full array of residential, in-home, community based, wraparound, mental health, foster care, and transitional age youth services with a service planning area throughout Southern California that covers Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego Counties.