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Kamilah sought Youth Villages, found support she needed

June 16, 2012

Kamilah (left) and TL Specialist Katelyn Brooks

Kamilah, her mother and seven siblings moved quite a bit – first to Pennsylvania, then Georgia and now Tennessee. Being the second-oldest in a single-parent home, Kamilah, 18, is reserved and prefers to listen rather than speak.

After her recent move to Tennessee, she found herself behind academically as she did not receive enough credit for some of her high school classes in Georgia. She began attending The Academy, a local school designed to help students catch up and graduate high school on time.

Kamilah learned about Youth Villages’ transitional living program while at The Academy. At that time, Kamilah had been accepted to Tennessee State University and had been awarded scholarships. However, she needed help getting further financial assistance and learning how to manage it.

Youth Villages’ TL Educational/Vocational Coordinator Joanna Dixon visits The Academy regularly to discuss the TL program. During one of her visits, Kamilah approached Joanna about getting help.

“She came up to me after one of my presentations and asked about getting some help through the TL program,” Joanna said. “She was self-motivated, had her goals in mind and showed a lot of drive.”

Kamilah entered the TL program, and Katelyn Brooks became her TL counselor.

“We first worked on social skills and time management,” Kamilah said. “We also worked on interviewing skills.”

In addition, Kamilah learned about budgeting, responsibility and how to say no to others when they are trying to take advantage of her.

“You can see she is a very independent person,” Katelyn said. “She just needs the support to handle money, get a driver’s license and manage her time.”

Kamilah is interested in pursuing a degree in psychology or a related field to help others as a high school counselor. She likes reading and studying human behavior.

Although Kamilah is very shy, she has found a core group of friends at college. She is establishing boundaries and ways to ensure she takes care of herself.

Kamilah has gained confidence through her participation in the TL program.

“I don’t know where I would be or what I would be doing without Katelyn and the TL program,” Kamilah said. “The program gives me an extra leg to help me stand.”

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