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‘Simple adjustment’ to college life

April 15, 2010

Now a freshman at Mississippi State, Fred has made an amazing transformation in his life since beginning a relationship with Youth Villages at age 13.

Fred’s a people person.

As he makes his way like a local around the Mississippi State University campus, drivers honk their horns and wave, others say hello as they ride their bicycles by.

Some yell from across the way.

Fred yells back, calling to many by name. The valedictorian of his high school last year, Fred has had no trouble making the adjustment to college life.

“I love it here. I love college life,” he said. “It makes it difficult for me to go back home and visit.”

Almost every positive step of the way, Fred and Youth Villages have had a relationship.

He is one of nine children whose parents used drugs and would disappear, sometimes for days, leaving him to take care of his brothers and sisters.

He became physically aggressive.

At 13, Fred was placed in foster care. He was then sent to Youth Villages’ Dogwood Campus, a residential facility.

Following his stay at Dogwood, his aunt took him in, where he received in-home counseling through Youth Villages and graduated at the top of his class.

Now a freshman at State, Fred is in Youth Villages’ Transitional Living program. His counselor is Monica Chandler.

Fred, right, poses with his transitional living specialist, Monica Chandler.

“Fred is doing well,” she said. “Right now, our focus is on maintaining his situation and helping with things as they come up.” Transitional Living provides ongoing support for young people aging out of another program such as foster care.

From budgeting and maintaining a home to finding insurance and other needs, TL helps youth ages 17-22 get a good start on being a successful adult.

Fred’s always been independent.

But having that support network is providing him an opportunity to learn how to be an adult.

Among 15 hours of college coursework, Fred is also hunting for an apartment, pursuing internship opportunities and planning to be a counselor this summer at Camp Ozark, a Christian summer camp in Arkansas.

“In college, you study and learn things on your own,” Fred said. “In TL, I’m learning time management and following through with things. I get to take care of things on my own, but I’ve got that support when I need it.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Lisa Woodard permalink
    April 22, 2010 12:48 pm

    That is the most inspirational story I’ve ever heard. I’m so proud for you Fred! I hope the best for you and your future! Youth Villages is such a wonderful program.

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