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Jordan’s school success a result of learning new skills

November 23, 2011

Jordan, left, with grandmother Denise

Jordan happily left Youth Villages’ Dogwood Campus last spring after spending nine months there.

He misses the counselors and staff there, and reels off their names in quick succession, each followed with a superlative.

“Megan Buffum, awesome; Anna Tukivakala, awesome,” he said. He mentioned many more, highlighting the fun he had playing basketball and participating in other activities.

But Jordan also realized more serious work was going on. Jordan and his siblings were removed from their home because of abuse and neglect a few years ago. His grandmother, Denise, became his guardian. He began to lose interest in school and his studies. His grades dropped. He went to Dogwood last summer.

“At first I didn’t like it,” Jordan said. “I didn’t think I needed to be there. But then, the more and more I complained about it, the more I began to realize I needed help.”

Jordan learned how to cope with anger and frustration. He learned about impulse control and personal boundaries. Much of his coping training involved athletics. He got better. Denise visited each week and was kept informed of Jordan’s progress. He focused on getting better.

“I began to miss my family and friends,” Jordan said. “It motivated me to get better and get out.”

Jordan completed his school year with a 3.77 GPA. His favorite subjects are history and math.

“It turned out to be a real positive experience for us,” Denise said. “Jordan shared what he learned with his siblings and has had very good progress reports since.”

In addition, Denise said, Jordan’s calmer now. He handles frustration better. Jordan speaks less about the work he did while at Dogwood and spends more time on the fun he had.

“The staff put him at ease,” Denise said. “They made him comfortable. He was able to get involved and participate in such groups as the Dogwood runners. They first used sports as a coping skill and then expanded on it. And Jordan did really well.”

Youth Villages’ residential treatment programs serve boys and girls with serious to severe emotional and behavioral problems combined with other needs. Based on outcomes from July 2002 to March 2010, 79 percent of youth exited residential treatment successfully either through step-down to foster care or in-home services or through discharge with family. Located on 41 secluded acres just outside Memphis, Dogwood provides a peaceful atmosphere to help boys and girls with a variety of emotional and behavioral problems.

“I can’t say enough good things about Youth Villages,” Denise said. “They really administer to the whole child. Normally, you’d never know how much goes into helping a child, but I saw so many people giving time and support. I’m really proud of Jordan and what he’s been able to accomplish.”

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