Some have described Michael* as a “gentle giant” – a tall, teenage boy who enjoys reading, writing, and has a very sweet demeanor. Michael’s big, dark eyes and engaging smile, however, serve as cover for a significant history of trauma dating back to a very young age. He kept his emotions bottled up for years until he started acting out from his painful experiences at age 16. His broken self-esteem and loneliness, a result of his family’s inconsistent support and love, made it difficult for Michael to trust and accept others into his life. That all began to change when he arrived at Nexus-Woodbourne.
Learning to be Independent
Michael was always very respectful of the staff and the rules at Nexus-Woodbourne. “Michael is very smart,” said his therapist. “He works hard, has built connections with his peers, has learned how to navigate healthy relationships, and doesn’t take anything for granted. With the proper resources, he will do well after he leaves us.”
Michael participates in the Nexus-Woodbourne Work Program and is paid an hourly rate working with our Facilities Department. This allows him to develop work skills and save the money he needs once he is out on his own.
Planning His Future
Now 18, Michael is preparing to move from Nexus-Woodbourne to an independent living program. Thanks to the support of generous donors, Nexus-Woodbourne will set Michael up with the furniture and items he needs to live on his own and will assist Michael in making a plan for himself. Michael is nervous but excited about the transition. “I look forward to being able to go on walks whenever I want to and start building more skills for myself,” he says.
Michael plans to work in carpentry, something he learned from his grandfather at a young age to build a steady income. Plus, he has a bigger dream for the future. “I want to be a published author and write fantasy fiction novels. I’ll do carpentry until my writing career takes off.”
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.