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Dyniqua finds a better way to speak her mind

April 25, 2012

Dyniqua’s chatty. She likes being involved, helping others and keeping up with current events. She doesn’t hold back and speaks her mind. It takes a lot of energy, and she has plenty to spare.
But that energy was going in a negative direction.

“I’m still the same as I was – I speak my mind,” Dyniqua said. “But through Youth Villages, I learned how to say it in a different way.”

“She was stubborn,” Katherine, her mother, said. “You could tell her she wasn’t going to see her friends, but she found a way to leave the house and go.”

She was physically and verbally aggressive. Dyniqua became involved with a local gang. She fought. She had problems with authority. When her mother fell upon hard times, Dyniqua was taken into state custody. At first, she lived with her grandmother, but that didn’t last. Some of her peers physically assaulted her grandmother.

Finally, Dyniqua went to Youth Villages’ Inner Harbour residential campus.

Sitting over dinner a little more than a year later with her mother, her younger sister and Youth Villages Family Intervention Specialist Calai Seifer, Dyniqua offered this confession of her previous behavior.

“That doesn’t sound like me, does it?”

Calai started working with Dyniqua at Inner Harbour.

“We went through a difficult period, and she wanted to test me,” the counselor said. “But she worked hard and we explored different ways to handle things.”

Calai and Youth Villages worked together with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services to help ensure Dyniqua transitioned to her mother’s home successfully. Following the brief stay at Inner Harbour, Dyniqua and her mother began Intercept intensive in-home services.

At home, Calai worked with Katherine on increasing the structure and safety in the home. Youth Villages routinely works with state partners to provide intensive in-home services as an alternative to out-of-home placements. Family intervention specialists meet with families an average of three times weekly and remaining on call around the clock. Services are customized to meet each family’s needs, while measuring treatment progress through ongoing assessment and review.

“The thing with Dyniqua was that she was either a one or a 10,” Calai said. “There was no middle. Behaviorally, we had to find a five.”

Once home, Dyniqua joined the cheerleading squad and ran for class president. She’s involved. She keeps up with what’s going on at the school and looks after her friends. At dinner, she chatted with Calai and her mother, turning periodically to assist and share food with her sister. She’s not sure if she wants to be a lawyer or not, but it’s an option.

“I’m still the same as I was – I speak my mind,” Dyniqua said. “But through Youth Villages, I learned how to say it in a different way.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. Joanna Smith (Unit Supervisor at Youth Villages: Inner Harbour Campus) permalink
    April 27, 2012 9:26 pm

    We are extremely proud of Dyniqua!

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