Sometimes it's not what MFH does, but the environment it provides.
A few weeks ago, I interviewed a resident who was about to graduate from our program at My Friend’s House. When this teen boy entered our program, he was sullen and withdrawn. I could feel the anger he was emanating. Today, even though he was still reserved, he was much lighter on his feet and seemed excited to be starting life again. I was very curious about what caused his turn around at My Friend’s House.
He started our interview by saying, “You remember that book you gave me when I first got here?” I did not remember this, but he immediately launched into a story about taking this book titled, “The Life of Jesus.” He started reading in his room at night and then reflecting on all the challenges Jesus faced in His life and was able to overcome. He said, “I started to pray every day for a positive mindset, knowledge, and understanding. I began to put my faith in God and let him guide me.”
My jaw was about to hit the floor as he continued boldly sharing his journey with me. He stated, “I realized when I got to My Friend’s House that not only did I lack respect for my peers and other adults, but I did not respect myself, and that’s where I needed to start.” His goal now is to become a more prudent man who conducts himself with dignity and wisdom like Jesus.
WHAT?? I had never heard words spoken this eloquently by a 17-year-old-boy, and I have spent many years surrounded by teenage boys. We talked for over an hour and I was mesmerized by his maturity. When I asked him about our staff, he said he bonded with one of our male staff who was a good role model. The female staff, he said, surrounded him with a motherly, caring voice who offered encouraging words.
My Friend’s House provided a safe home with a routine that allowed him a time-out from the negative influences, habits, and situations that he actively experienced at home. Away from that environment, this young man was able to re-connect with his faith and make it the center piece of his life to find healing, peace, and confidence. I was unaware this resident was praying every day, asking God for help, and reflecting on what he needed to do to become a better man. This success story is one of those GOD things.
Success for our residents comes in so many different scenarios, too many to describe here. We do not have a one-size-fits-all approach. Human beings do NOT work that way. We are all unique individuals put on this earth to carve out our own path. My Friend’s House provides a safe home with lots of care and different therapies to help teen boys overcome their trauma, neglect, and abuse. Although we have highly trained staff that know how to work with youth exhibiting a variety of issues and abilities, it is still up to each resident to decide when, how and if they will work the program.
I hope this story will impact you, like it did me. I also hope it shows you the importance of having a place like My Friend’s House for teen boys in state custody. We are the only home of its kind in Middle Tennessee and there are so many boys that could benefit from this type of program.
TODAY, I AM ASKING YOU to please make a donation to help us keep our house operating. EVERdonation will make a difference. Thank you so much for your time and consideration. If you have a question, here’s my cell number, (615) 594-2505. Call me anytime.
Executive Development Director