With open arms and open hearts, ACH welcomes youth in need

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“I thought my life was over at 17 and they showed me how it had just begun and to fight for a better life for myself and others.”

The Morris program at the ACH Wedgwood Residential Campus provides 24-hour care for youth ages 14-17 who are difficult to place in a permanent family setting. These children have been traumatized to the extent that it is difficult for them to express their emotions appropriately, leading to behaviors like aggression, running away, emotional outbursts, drug experimentation and early pregnancy.

When we received this message, we immediately shared it with our Morris team. She is, after all, “going after the dream they instilled in me.”

Dear ACH,

I am eternally grateful to the Morris home and the ACH programs—they have helped so much in my adult life. In the Morris home, I was taught how to budget and to cook, not to mention the value of friendship and kindness.

I know that these things might sound funny, but before I came to Morris, I was 17 and numb. I was unimpressed with the world and anything to do with other people. I knew nothing of how to take care of myself and was homeless as a child more than once. I felt that because I had no biological family to rely on, I didn’t need anyone nor did I want anyone to “mess with me.” I had addiction problems and countless behavioral problems that I didn’t see as an issue. I was always running away and every time I was up to no good. I was self-harming and saw no point to life.

When I got to Morris, the staff welcomed me with open arms and open hearts and shared their priceless wisdom of life with me. I learned how to care for others and for myself. I learned to be kind and to make friends, which I had plenty of that year in school! They taught me to be passionate about things. I threw myself into softball and music and art. They taught me how valuable life can be and that you just have to push through the hard parts.

“I use the skills they taught me today as an adult and I have so much more to learn, but they absolutely jump-started my life.”

I can’t even begin to explain how grateful I am to the staff for the days I would sit in my room with one of them and cry and they would just sit and listen. So many of the staff at Morris home have been through the same types of situations as the kids that are currently there or were there in the past and they taught us how to persevere and thrive.

I am now 20 years old and going after the dream they instilled in me. I’m going to be in social work and hopefully get my recreational therapy degree so I can help kids that are in situations like I was. I thought my life was over at 17 and they showed me how it had just begun and to fight for a better life for myself and others. I use the skills they taught me today as an adult and I have so much more to learn, but they absolutely jump-started my life.

Thank you 100 times over, ACH.

                                             Jasmine

This Morris transitional living program focuses on factors that have been proven to help youth be successful post-foster care. We aid in their academic achievement, vocational planning and by assisting them in finding gainful employment or volunteer experience. We also help these youth to attain a valid ID or driver’s license, to improve their ability to manage their own behavior, to cope with stress, and to gain insight into their interests and strengths.

To learn more, visit achservices.org/programs/morris.

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