Robert came to The Children’s Village’s residential school in Dobbs Ferry at the age of 15. He was found after a neighbor called the police, abandoned in a cold apartment with no food. His mother was addicted to drugs, and Robert had essentially been her caregiver for years. He hadn’t been to school in months and spent most of his time on the streets, scrounging for food and getting into trouble.
When he got to CV, he was angry and withdrawn. He was used to taking care of himself and didn’t want help from anyone. It took months, but eventually he began to open up. His first success was working in the café where he learned to make tacos and chicken piccata. The chef rated Robert as one of her most enthusiastic cooks. He was never good at team sports, but was excited to learn to snowboard and even had the chance to spend four days at Hunter Mountain during CV’s winter break.
Robert came to us several years behind in school–mainly because he had missed so much school. But he was bright and had the ability to learn. He was on track to graduate when he turned 18 and decided he wanted to sign himself out of CV. Staff tried to convince him to stay and graduate, but he felt responsible for his mom and wanted to go home to take care of her.
Thanks to donations from friends like you, when young people leave CV, we assign a counselor who acts like a big brother or uncle to help them transition back home and stay out of trouble. In Robert’s case, the counselor, Carl Johnson, lost track of him almost immediately. Robert had gone to his old apartment, but his mom wasn’t there. So he took odd jobs to live and often slept on the streets.
After several months, Carl found Robert through a friend of a friend. He literally walked up to him on the street one day. When Robert saw him, he broke out in a huge grin. He admitted he had a rough time and was ready for help. ”I wasn’t ready to hear what you wanted to tell me back then,” Robert said to Carl. “ I was so angry.”
With Carl’s help, Robert completed a Home Health Aid certification and has been working full-time for 11 months. He is close to getting his GED, sees his mom regularly, and has his own apartment.
“Without CV and Mr. Johnson, I don’t think I would have made it. I’d
probably be dead, but now I’m on my way to being really successful.”
Robert is one of many, many young people who have a shot at being successful because of your support. The city streets are, unfortunately, filled with kids who will probably spend the rest of their lives dependent on social services, in prison, or worse. But together, we can change their future.