03 Mar Stories of Success: Greg

Success looks different for everyone. The key to success at the YOC is progress. The key to progress is effort. The key to effort is caring. To succeed at The Youth Opportunity Center (YOC), residents need to have the desire to get better, to work toward a better future. Often that desire is the only thing standing in a child’s way.

When Greg* arrived at The YOC over 6 months ago, he was suffering from PTSD related to years of abuse and neglect. The impact of having been in four different foster homes was evident. He didn’t want to participate in his treatment. He didn’t trust staff or his peers. Plain and simple—he didn’t want to be here.

Greg became a resident of our TEAM program designed to support adolescent males dealing with severe criminal and behavioral issues. Upon Greg’s arrival at The YOC, his resistance to actively participate in therapy, deep-rooted trust issues and conflict with staff and peers culminated in three separate attempts to run away. To most, it seemed as if Greg’s future at The YOC didn’t look bright. Success didn’t seem like an option.

But, through the consistent dedication of the staff in Greg’s program, his counselors and cottage manager, Greg’s breakthrough came when his family became increasingly involved in his life and treatment, with his mother now attending family counseling and campus visits regularly.

“Getting Greg’s family—especially his mom—reunified has been a critical component in Greg’s treatment, and a real turning point in his time here.”  – Courtney Emmons, TEAM program Staff Member

Greg now actively participates in his therapy, recently earned his HSE and is working toward his ServSafe certification. He has progressed to the 3rd of his 5 therapeutic phases, and now has the skills to not get discouraged with situations or people when something doesn’t go his way. This therapeutic progress has allowed Greg to break down barriers he had built around himself and forge meaningful relationships with The YOC staff.

Greg’s successful progression through his therapy, and newfound ability to build functional relationships with staff and peers is a direct testimony to the impact trauma-informed treatment can have, as well as the importance of family involvement. Understanding where our residents come from, the trauma they’ve endured, gives our staff the tools and patience needed to work toward success for each child, and breakthrough to find the person inside who desperately wants to succeed.

Though Greg’s path to success hasn’t been easy, as Emmons puts it – “He’s one of my favorite kids now.”



*Name changed to protect identity