Two Brothers Rediscover The Comforts of Home at Volunteers of America
Al and Nate* became known to Volunteers of America when they were in need of placement. They had been living with their mother in New Jersey, but she was struggling with addiction and was unable to care for her children. She hoped they would be in better hands living with their uncle in North Carolina, but this was not the case. The boys experienced abuse at the hands of the uncle and VOA was contacted to place these 9- and 11-year-old boys into our care. We welcomed the boys to Alpha House, a group home for seven boys.
Al and Nate made the adjustment to the group home with the help of caring and compassionate staff, who tended to the needs of these traumatized young boys. When we confirmed the brothers could be moved together, they were transferred to our treatment home in Wayne, NJ. There, Al and Nate lived with three other boys and two “parents” in a more suburban, home-like environment. The two brothers attended the local schools, made friends, played sports and adjusted well to the new environment. The house “parents,” specially trained to work with adolescents who may have underlying trauma issues, helped the boys come to terms with the many disappointments they experienced at a young age while giving them support, guidance and a reason to feel hopeful.
At the Wayne home, the teens played high school sports and completed a rite of passage for “normal teenagers” by getting their driver’s licenses. Al graduated high school in June 2013. He moved in with a classmate’s family but remains in close contact with his brother and the ‘parents’ at the Wayne treatment home. Al now attends an arts college in Massachusetts and hopes to pursue a career in graphic design.
Nate is now a junior at the public high school and continues to grow. He considers the Wayne home to be his home. He started researching college options along with Independent Living options through Volunteers of America. The young men would agree that the services and care they received at Volunteers of America will have a lifelong impact.
*Client’s names have been changed.