Falling on the Ice

Let me tell you about Tyler (Names and images are not actual to protect the individuals represented)

Tyler is 19 years old. He had a challenging life. Through no fault of his own he had seen and experienced more by 10 years old that most of us have by 30. He was tough…street smart…sneaky… hardened.  And he believed that everyone else was just like him. But Tyler really wanted someone to prove him wrong. He wanted someone to care and to trust him and show him that not everyone was as callous he tried to be. Every once in a while, Tyler lets his heart show, and it’s a good one.

When Tyler left care, he had a plan but due to circumstances his plan did not come about. Then he had another plan and that one didn’t pan out either. And he moved on to yet another plan. By the time we got to Tyler and began working with him he had been through three different plans and was still trying to get a foothold.

Often our aging-out kids don’t have a dependable stable support system. They may have people in their life, but those people may be as unsteady as the youth coming out of care. Without stability any little unforeseen change can throw them off balance entirely and this is what was happening to Tyler.  It was like falling on the ice and getting help up from someone else who had also fallen on the ice. There was a lot of effort but no real progress.

Tyler is hard working and had found not one but two jobs, housing and transportation but because he was depending on help from other people who also needed help he was subject to crisis and after crisis. First housing plans changed and then his ride to work was not available. He had to leave one of his jobs and then had to leave a friend’s home and then another home. Nothing was stable. Yet Tyler had strength and tenacity. He was determined to make it. He just needed some help to get his footing and balance.  

We began working with Tyler. We provided some household goods, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene items, we talked with Tyler about creating plans and a budget. And we assisted him in getting his driver’s license. 

Tyler managed to find a car for sale and worked tirelessly making payments to buy his car however as soon as he took possession of it the axle broke. Tyler didn’t have money saved to handle this unforeseen emergency. It was another setback. But Second Shift was able to help him find a mechanic and pay for the part and repair.  Tyler is looking into returning to school to get his high school diploma and is living with a stable caring adult until he can save and plan to move into his own apartment.  

For now Tyler is steady and supported.  

You can be the source of balance and support for young people like Tyler. 

By Tammy Spence LMSW, CCTP Executive Director

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