Zach Barth is the Youth Coordinator for the Children’s Center. His sessions for youth last ten weeks and are provided as an afterschool program covering a wide range of topics including interpersonal skills, education and resiliency. Those who attend his program are usually referred to the Children’s Center by the Department of Juvenile Justice and are comprised largely of middle and high school students who are having difficulty both at home and school.
Zach vividly recalls the story of Sam who came to the Children’s Center troubled and hungry. Sam’s name has been changed to protect his identity. Here is Sam’s story as shared by Zach:
Sam did not have a good situation at home. When he arrived at the Children’s Center, he said there was no food at home. Home for Sam was a hotel room where his family used a coffee maker to prepare what little food they had.
He had been caught fighting at school time and time again. Finally, the Court ordered Sam to attend two sessions at the Children’s Center to help identify where the problems were in Sam’s life. After attending the two sessions, Sam voluntarily asked for a third session after seeing the progress he was making.
When Sam first arrived at the Children’s Center, he always came through the door looking down. After a few sessions, he became the first to eagerly volunteer for tasks. We provided food to Sam, and his hygiene also greatly improved. Our goal was to equip Sam with the skills needed to cope with his home environment, which remains a troubled one.
Today, Sam has a vision for the future. He has confidence. He has a positive demeanor. And he has made friends at school. Sam’s guidance counselor said there has been a huge improvement in his behavior at school, where Sam is preparing for college.
Sam wants to study robotics and has great potential to achieve his life goals. In many ways, he has emerged as a role model for others around him.