Throughout the month of January, which is National Mentoring Month, the spotlight has been focused on ourProgram. But what matters more than the statistics and the studies that prove the life-changing effects of mentoring, more than the achievements of our staff or volunteers—what matters most is that children are finding their strength. This is the story of DeeDee, who struggled more than any child should. We believe that God worked through PCHAS—through our staff, our donors, our volunteers and our school partners—to enable DeeDee to know His grace and love.
DeeDee was abandoned at the age of six and entered foster care. She lived with a number of foster families, but they all struggled with her behavior, even after she began treatment for depression and anxiety. Children struggling with mental health and learning disorders are at risk for poor outcomes in school and in life, and DeeDee could feel the weight of what seemed like inevitable failure.
By the time she was in middle school, DeeDee decided to find her birth mother. She was still struggling, but felt some hope on the horizon when she finally found her birth mother and was able to speak to her on the phone. Just before they met in person, DeeDee was faced with immeasurable disappointment: her mother died. This devastating loss undermined what little stability DeeDee had left.
That’s when DeeDee met LaRita Hess, a therapeutic mentor employed by PCHAS. All PCHAS mentors are trained in trauma-informed care, and LaRita got right to work, helping DeeDee address her past so she could make sense of the present and plan for the future. The two met consistently, building on trust in one another to develop communication skills and self-management. That consistent relationship with a caring adult was exactly what DeeDee needed. Today, she is a young woman thriving on the potential of a positive future.
“DeeDee has been stable in her present placement for two years,” says LaRita. “It’s a two-parent home where she is dearly loved. She has become a strong young lady.”
Now a high school senior, DeeDee is on a state board that speaks for all children in foster care. Her aspiration is to attend college and to advocate for women’s health by becoming an obstetrician/gynecologist.
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