Jaden, commonly known as “J”, is 14 years old and has an immense passion for sports. He can run circles around many of his peers. He has a natural talent that is just amazing to watch. Anything that gets him outdoors into the fresh air where he can run, slide, and tackle is a good time to him!
Like many of the residents at Children’s Home Network (CHN), Jaden was not always this way. He was a troubled youth, having suffered trauma due to abuse and neglect at home. The behaviors he showed when he got upset were out of control, and he was known for punching anyone who questioned him. School was also not his specialty in or outside the classroom. He was regularly getting D’s and F’s and causing stress for his teachers. “Turning the other cheek” was not something that even crossed his mind when conflicts came about with his peers. It was much easier to “shut them up” by starting a fist fight. J needed guidance; he needed friends who would lead him in the right direction.
Jaden came to Kid's Village at Children’s Home Network about 3½ years ago. The changes that occurred and the new person that has been released is something worth noting. J has received therapy and one on one counseling from the staff at CHN to help him heal from the hurts of his past. He now attends Davidsen Middle with straight A’s and very rarely B’s. All his teachers are fond of him and seldom have anything negative to say about his performance and attitude in their classrooms. He now enjoys going to school, especially his favorite class, math. He also has joined the Warriors Flag football team at school and loves it.
J is athletic and has joined more teams outside of school. Last fall he played football with the Countryside Packers who won the championship and currently is playing for the Citrus Park Chiefs on an 8-v-8 league who have now gone into the playoffs! During the Murphey’s at Children’s Home Network last year, which is an eight-week Olympic style tournament for the children, Jaden was all over the winner’s board. He excelled and broke records in many of the categories! J also looks forward to high school where he plans to run track. His areas of interest are the 100 meter and the shot putt. He has big plans for his future with the hopes of getting a football scholarship to college and maybe even playing professionally.
J has come a long way and has learned the best way to succeed is to surround yourself with good people. Through the healing services provided by CHN, he learned to control his anger and “play it cool” to avoid a fight with his peers. He just keeps telling himself, “don’t say anything, don’t say anything,” in order to leave the situation calmly. Not many children earn their off-campus privileges before 16 years of age, but due to his flawless behavior in school and at Children's Home Network, J is being considered. J has displayed all the characteristics of a leader through his team oriented recreational activities, academic excellence and is serving as a positive role model for his peers. Jaden has proven himself in so many ways and has made a complete turn around. We couldn’t be happier!
*The names in this story have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the children in our care.