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Running to help other children be a success

June 10, 2011

Gretchen and Jason ran the 2011 Youth Villages 5K in Memphis to raise money for other children and families in Youth Villages’ programs.

Two years ago, Jason ran the Youth Villages 5K as a member of the Dogwood Campus runners. For the 2011 Youth Villages 5K, he ran it as a giver. His father and sisters cheered him on.

Completing the race with his mother, Jason, 14, raised money for Youth Villages through a tribute page at

For Jason and his family, it’s a way to reconnect with friends and give something back to an organization that continues to help them.

“We were thinking about the 5K and wanted to do it again,” Jason said. “I was successful going through Youth Villages’ program, and I want to raise money to help make more kids successful.”

Jason’s mother, Gretchen, wrote on his tribute page: “Over the past two years, Youth Villages has been a gift to our family and has rescued us from the brink of disaster as a family. My son has benefitted from both residential and outpatient support provided for by Youth Villages. My son, Jason, has decided that he wants to be a part of giving back to others, and we are going to go to Memphis to run this race in the spring. We are asking all of our family and friends to help support Jason’s efforts by supporting this fund.”

Jason and his family receive MYPAC services. Primary Service Coordinator Jessica Cochran visits each week and works with Jason on impulse control and respecting boundaries. She helps the family with identifying triggers to Jason’s behavior.

“I knew Jason needed to be in a residential facility for a little while,” Gretchen said. “But I like the idea of being in the home, and Jessica and Jason have a great relationship.”

In addition to running, Jason enjoys playing football and fishing. He plays the bassoon in the school band.

“Having Jessica come in the home helped immensely,” Gretchen said. “We were too close to see how to help. Having a third person come in the home helped to not only show us and Jason how to handle his issues, but also identify what triggers the behavior and how to deal with it.

“She helped us be more of a family again.”

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