“Nicole”, 15 years old

Nicole was referred to youthSpark’s Youth Services Center in May 2018. Her mother filed a petition against her due to a long history of negative behavior in the home and community. According to her mother, Nicole was leaving the home without permission, being very defiant toward adults, stealing, fighting in school, and skipping classes. In addition, Nicole was “acting out sexually” and experiencing health concerns related to risky behaviors.

Early on, Nicole was very pleasant and made early disclosures of smoking marijuana and having unprotected sex often. However, she was very guarded when it came to addressing these issues and forming a bond with staff in the Center. Nicole’s case manager quickly realized that Nicole was in need of not only emotional support but clothing, hygiene items, and independent life skills. Nicole was found stealing personal items from her case manager and would appear defeated when addressed. Instead of offering harsh and punitive responses, her case manager continued embracing Nicole and validating her feelings of loss and the need for resources.

Nicole began learning how to validate and love herself. She was introduced to the Center’s Dream Closet where should could get hygiene items, clothing, shoes, and other necessities. Through the Center’s partnership with Bare Foot Ranch, Nicole participated in Equine Therapy and addressed trust issues that had historically prevented her from forming secure relationships.

Nicole’s peers began seeing her as a leader in the Voices group and she would in turn offer them insight and motivation during difficult group discussions.

Nicole continued working with her case manager on goals such as effective communication and independent living skills.

She made significant improvements in each area of her life, specifically her relationship with her mother. In addition, her peers began seeing her as a leader in the Voices group and she would in turn offer them insight and motivation during difficult group discussions. Four months later, Nicole was successfully discharged from probation and secured her first job at Six Flags Over Georgia.

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