When 9th grader Misael was growing up, his father wasn’t around to help the family, and that caused a tremendous amount of stress and trauma. When his family relationship became too strained, he ended up in residential care for 2 years.
Exiting residential care to return home can be one of the most difficult transitions periods for a young person. But what we know is that with support and working together as a unit, families can heal and achieve their goals.
When the family joined our STEP Aftercare program, they wanted to work on skills to help process emotions in healthy ways and communicate more effectively. One of those skills is radical acceptance: understanding that things have not been perfect, but removing blame from the equation and focusing on skill-building and future goals – and Misael has a lot of those!
One thing Misael loves is Marine Biology. He says that “there is an entire world in the oceans well below the surface of the water that few people get to see or learn about. I love the giant octopus the most, because they’re usually very alienated and isolated, so they always stood out to me.” Misael also gives back to the community by lending his artistic skills – right now he is creating cutout snowmen for a photo booth at one of our Holiday events. He’s also passionate about sharing his lived experience to help others, speaking at back to school events and in programs to help other young people going through similar struggles.
When you ask Misael about these topics he is full of joy and excitement – you can see the glow on his face. Not long after some very difficult circumstances, how is Misael able to achieve this? According to him it’s because “my family and I are on the same page. We are all working together, learning the same skills, and I feel like we’re all rowing in the same direction. It makes it easier to let things go and focus on the future.”