Overcoming struggles to reach goals: Friends of the Children-Boston

Jul 25, 2023

Jamal struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, but with the help of his Friends of the Children professional mentor Jesse, he successfully graduated with plans to attend a technical college.

Similar to many high school students, when the COVID-19 pandemic started, Jamal struggled. In his family with four siblings, including an active six-year-old brother, Jamal was having a hard time. School was also a challenge, putting graduation at risk. 

Jamal’s Friends of the Children (Friends-Boston) professional mentor, Jesse, was there to help Jamal through this difficult time. He worked with him and his caregiver to find effective ways to communicate and set boundaries. This helped alleviate some of Jamal’s stress and has supported the family to function more smoothly.

Jesse also helped Jamal pursue healthy activities. The two would go for walks (because that was one of the best activities during a pandemic) and that led to Jamal exercising on his own daily. In addition, Jesse helped him develop a weight lifting routine, knowing that was something that interested him. Finding ways to live healthier helped Jamal lose weight and cope with stress in a healthy and effective way.

To support challenges at school, Jesse met with his teachers and Jamal together and they built a plan to help him graduate. Jamal is intelligent and independent. Adapting to an educational plan that was goal-oriented rather than checking off boxes helped him claim ownership of his education. Putting the entire plan down on paper helped him understand what he needed to do and created a sense of progress that was necessary to graduate.

During this time, Jesse also helped Jamal access a job, which is helping him gain work experience, progress toward independence, as well as bringing in needed money.

Jesse is now in a much better place. He graduated and now plans to attend a technical college, putting him on track to post-secondary success.

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