“John” is a student at a large state university in Ohio. To look at him and watch him go about the business of pursuing a degree in Mathematics, you would never suspect that there was anything “different” about him, except, perhaps, that he is exceptionally bright and more-than-usually friendly. Certainly you would never picture him as having been an out-of-control adolescent whose life ambition was to “be a gangster,” but that was John when he came to Cleveland Christian Home.
Removed from his parents’ custody due to issues of neglect, John found himself in foster care, where he began threatening others and displaying sexualized behaviors. Becoming unmanageable to his foster parents, John was placed in Cleveland Christian Home’s Residential Treatment program. He was placed initially on the Intensive Treatment Unit where, with the help of staff, he began addressing the reasons for his anger and sexualized behaviors, and soon began to learn better ways of managing these.
After a period of demonstrated improvement, CCH staff recommended John be moved to an open residential unit. There he truly began to thrive. His interest in sports and reading were both encouraged by staff, and developed as strengths and assets he could be proud of. In dealing with his social skills issues, staff worked with John to help him understand that he didn’t have to “follow the crowd,” and that he could be his own person while at the same time developing positive relationships with others.
College was something that John had in his sights, but CCH staff felt that John required additional support beyond the age of 18, in order to have a successful college career and to be able to successfully transition into adulthood. John was placed in the Independent Living Program, where he continued to thrive and grow, participating in counseling, becoming increasingly integrated into the larger community, and fine-tuning his college plans. All the while, strained relationships with some of his biological family members were steadily improving.
Now John is at college, just one of thousands of “typical” students. How extraordinary a blessing it is for John to be able to be so “ordinary!” John is a prime example of what we do at CCH –help kids overcome extraordinary challenges so they can lead normal lives. John continues to update his former teachers and staff at the Residential Treatment Program, even as we continue to wish him ongoing success.
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