This article by Executive Director Casey Caster appeared in TYC's Youth + You email newsletter.
In the year since stepping into my role as Executive Director at The Youth Council, I find myself inspired daily by the connections our team makes with so many local youth and their families navigating life’s ups and downs.
For those doing this work, the impact can often be hard to see in the moment, which is why our team kicks off each staff meeting with mission moments—stories that exemplify why we do what we do. One moment shared by Holly Mara, our Court Diversion Director, really sticks with me.
John (name changed) came to our juvenile court diversion program last year, referred by local police for breaking into his grandparents’ home. When he arrived for his intake meeting, he explained that his mom died from a drug overdose when he was a toddler, leaving him to be raised by his dad.
No matter what they’ve faced, all youth have what it takes to reach their potential. And no matter the obstacles, our team is here with tools and resources to support them along the way.
In 2021, John’s dad died from injuries suffered in a car accident. After his dad’s death, John continued living with his dad’s girlfriend. Due to a falling out between her and John’s paternal grandparents, he was not allowed to see them after his dad died. One day, John explained, he broke into their home to retrieve some of his dad’s things, resulting in his arrest.
Through diversion, our team learned this young man was deeply grieving the loss of his parents. He took part in a grief support group and got treatment for his anxiety, which he'd been coping with by using marijuana. Our staff also recommended John be evaluated for a learning disability based on some struggles he was having in school. After receiving an individualized education plan, John's behavior in school improved. Most importantly, with support from TYC, John reestablished a relationship with his grandparents, who now have guardianship.
John's story illustrates the hurdles faced by so many kids in our community, as well as their resilience. No matter what they’ve faced, all youth have what it takes to reach their potential. And no matter the obstacles, our team is here with tools and resources to support them along the way.
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