The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Staff Shout-Out
He Bumps Up My Confidence
Devonte J.
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Recently I got into a little trouble that landed me in Mercy First, a placement for youth with behavior issues. At first, I thought the staff were annoying and just here to bother me.

This changed after a few conversations with Mr. Halexon. I got into trouble with one of the staff in the cafeteria, and I was sent to a restriction room. Mr Halexon and I talked about doing positive things. He explained to me what should be done, and right from wrong. He lectured me about the good things in life and the goals I should have at my age and how to accomplish them. He reminded me that my little brothers and sisters look up to me, so I have to be a good role model. I thought about that and realized he was 100% right.

The second day, I had to sit in my cottage with him instead of the restriction room, and he started talking to me about how being in Mercy First is better than being in the streets doing nothing. Before coming here, I hadn’t gone to school for about a month because of a housing situation. Now in Mercy First, I can pull my grades back up to where they are supposed to be.

He also talked to me about the staff and how they are not here to bother me, hurt me, or get on my nerves. They are here to help and to sometimes test me to see if I can handle myself in different types of situations. He gave me advice about how to respond to staff. I took his advice and got myself out of restriction.

I listen to most of the things he says because he supports me. He never says I’m doing 100% wrong, but he does point out some of the things that I’m doing wrong and how I can fix them. He bumps up my confidence about succeeding in life and overcoming the obstacles I hit. I think that the things he tells me will stick in my head. I will open up more and think about everything I do after I leave here. I want to thank Mr. Halexon for inspiring me to do what I have to do to succeed and reach my goals.


This column is written by our readers in care. Tell us about a staff who believed in you, listened to you, advocated for you, gave you great advice, who in any way made your life better. E-mail your essay to representmail@youthcomm.org with the subject line Staff Shout-Out. Essays will be edited for length and clarity. The writer of the essay we run will receive $50.

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(FCYU-2015-07-02)

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