Fifteen year old Brandon has lived at Kid’s Village for two years and his life before coming to the Children’s Home Network was full of chaos and abuse. Statistically, for these reasons, Brandon’s outlook and future appeared discouraging. Teens in foster care often struggle socially, emotionally, and educationally (including an increased rate for dropping out of school). They also often have difficulty trusting others and making positive connections to caring and safe adults.
Teens in foster care are at risk of getting involved in criminal behavior and many become homeless or incarcerated as adults. The trauma experienced by children in foster care creates immense barriers, making it very difficult to succeed. For Brandon; however, these statistics have no bearing on the amazing young man he has become.
When he was five years old, Brandon and his family were referred to child protective services due to domestic violence and substance abuse – the two primary reasons children enter foster care across Florida. Unfortunately the abuse and family chaos continued throughout his childhood and by the time he arrived at Kid's Village, Brandon experienced having a parent in jail, physical abuse, and medical neglect so profound that urgent care was needed. Additionally, like so many families left broken by the opioid crisis, he witnessed parental drug abuse that left him vulnerable and neglected for significant periods throughout his life.
He initially struggled to trust his caregivers and didn't want to spend time with the other children on campus but despite his anxiety to his new environment, the Children's Home Network team knew there was something very special about Brandon. Through involvement in therapy and recreational activities to address his trauma, Brandon was able to develop resiliency to truly define the odds. The power of connection, consistency and quality care was transformative for Brandon and he did not allow his adverse childhood experiences to define him.
Brandon made the decision to break his families’ cycle of drug abuse and domestic violence. Brandon is determined to reach his potential and receives coaching and support through his caregivers to help him meet his goals. He values his education and maintains an A/B grade average and plays sports after school to make new friends. Brandon serves as a role model for other youth on campus, patiently showing them how to play video games, catch a football, and develop friendships. He mentors other youth in learning how to manage difficult emotions stemming from their abuse and circumstances. Other youth look up to him and appreciate his calm demeanor and positive influence. Brandon is one of the many miraculous transformations the Children's Home Network sees daily as a result of the care provided at Kid’s Village because of supporters like you.
You may wonder what the future holds for Brandon, but this young man has a plan! Currently, he is visiting with family in California where he had the option to remain, but he also has a round trip ticket in his wallet and a place at the Children’s Home Network should he decide to return. Whether he remains in California or returns, his future includes enlisting in the United States Air Force and from there obtaining his college education. Brandon continues to defy the odds as a result of his strength and resiliency in addition to the care provided by the Children's Home Network made possible because of your support.
*The names in this story have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the children in our care.