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Youth Villages helps family torn by hurricane

June 6, 2010

Rachel is learning a new way.

The 13-year-old was physically and verbally aggressive, missed school and was abusing substances. There needed to be a change, her mother said. And Rachel wanted to change.

Like thousands of families left in a state of upheaval and searching for stability after Hurricane Katrina, this family, too, needed to find a place of support and security. Rachel’s mother, Eileen, sought a nice home and a community for support. Rachel needed stability and guidelines to address poor performance at school in addition to her behavioral issues.

Youth Villages’ in-home counselors first worked to establish boundaries in the home and then worked with the family on consequences for breaking those boundaries.

“Much of the work with the family was establishing rules and consequences for behavior,” said Melissa Reid, regional supervisor for Youth Villages. “Mom had a lot of questions, and we were able to establish monitoring plans and more supervision for Rachel.”

Managing a home, learning life skills and understanding the consequences of disruptive or unproductive behavior were all part of transforming Rachel’s home.

The family found a nice home and also a strong, supportive church community. And Rachel began to see productive alternatives to her behavior. In fact, mom said she made the A-B honor roll at her school. It’s the first time Rachel ever earned an A.

“Rachel learned to keep doing the right thing and work to get a problem corrected,” Eileen, her mother, said. “But acting out in anger or being physically aggressive means you can’t do anything.”

Eileen’s learned quite a bit as well.

“Many times, it’s the parents that have to make the change,” she said. “Our income is low, but we have a beautiful home in a nice neighborhood, and we’re looking forward to staying here as a family.”

She’s thankful for what she has, and she’s thankful for the help she received.

“Youth Villages really has a hands-on program, and the counselors went out of their way to help,” she said. “I’m grateful it was available. It turned this family around for the better.”

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