“If you have a chance to be a part of UCAN you should, because you are going to come out ten times better than when you went in.” This declaration comes from 16-year-old Bobby Olive whose story is the embodiment of resiliency and determination.
The first thing you notice about Bobby is his impeccable sense of style, not that severe anger issues caused Bobby’s removal from his home. Bobby was brought to UCAN’s Diermeier Therapeutic Youth Home and worked to overcome his challenges through counseling services and therapy. His turnaround was so impressive that Bobby graduated from high school at age 16 and his growth has been exponential ever since.
“I didn’t know I was going to graduate early. I asked for extra classes and they gave them to me. I feel good though because now I can start working and making money earlier,” stated Bobby.
Speaking with a quiet confidence, Bobby reflected on his behavior before coming to UCAN: “I used to not know how to talk to people and I would argue a lot. Now I know how to talk to people without being aggressive.”
Bobby not only struggled to maintain good relationships with his peers but his anger impacted his home life. Recurring fights with his family members eventually led to hospitalization.
“My mom said that she hospitalized me, not because she did not want me, but because I needed some help that she could not give me. I’ve done individual therapy and group sessions at residential that have helped,” he explained.
To aid in his personal growth, Bobby joined the Diermeier Future Leaders Now (DFLN) program and was selected to receive a youth award at UCAN’s Future Leader’s Gala on September 29.
“I liked DFLN. It really gave me some stuff that I needed before I came here. Communication and spiritual formation are two things that stood out to me. Also, I take the things I learn in therapy and apply it to DFLN. We did mock interviews and now I feel like I know what to do in an interview. I have submitted applications for fast food and retail jobs and I am waiting to hear back from them.
“I believe I am better person now because I can express myself,” Bobby continued. “Usually it was anger and fighting and I don’t have to fight anymore. I feel better about myself. Fighting used to be real stressful and now I can relax. I learned more about myself so I feel like I know myself better.”
He continued, “I always made friends easily but I used to push them away. Now I can make friends and keep them. Also, [UCAN] helped me choose the right friends because I used to choose the wrong friends. My goal right now is to get into college. I want to do secondary education so that I can teach high school. After I am done teaching I want to open a facility for youth and families. I want to help keep families together and provide therapy.”
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** The name and photo of the minor has been changed to protect his identity.