Impacting Lives: Your support helped an out of control 14-year-old girl find a positive future

Your Support Impacts Lives(Note: One reason we launched our News Center was to share United Way success stories with our community.

When a person’s life is dramatically impacted by interaction with United Way’s network of agencies, it’s a big success for our entire region. For client privacy, all names are changed. However, these true events come from our own Mid-South community.)

This story comes to us courtesy of Diane Stockard, Vice President of Operations at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis, one of United Way’s partners in our “Helping Children and Youth Succeed” issue area.

14-year-old Patricia was out of control. She and her three siblings came to live with their grandmother after growing in a home which had no guidance of any kind, without a mother or father to help them grow and learn.

“I had to pray hard about this situation.  My three children were already grown and out of my home… caring for these grandchildren meant I had to start all over again. It was put on my heart to bring them into my home,” Patricia’s grandmother said.

Even after moving in with her grandmother and beginning to find a sense of stability, Patricia’s behavioral problems continued. While her younger siblings started to change their behavior in positive ways, Patricia started spending time with other defiant teenagers, sometimes staying outside of her grandmother’s house until 2:00 am or later.

“Patricia barely went to school. She was suspended three times in one semester and all her grades were failing ones,” Patricia’s grandmother said. “She felt like she had to be the mother to her three younger siblings and she always showed defiance to any adult authority.”

A family friend saw Patricia’s life spiraling out of control and spoke with her grandmother about what could be done to help. They called Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis, one of United Way’s partner agencies. The agency quickly saw that Patricia had to learn respect for adults and begin understanding the role of adults and authority figures in her life.

As time went on, Patricia began to adapt and learn. She eventually settled down enough where she could have good conversations with her grandmother and agency counselors. Eventually, agency counselors were able to help Patricia understand the importance of respecting authority.

“Patricia was attending church regularly, but she needed additional positive things to do during the week. She needed to be part of a good youth association. A couple of counselors at the agency started to serve as role models for Patricia,” the agency counselor reported.

In time her behavior and concentration improved and she progressed to the point of not having any failing grades at the end of the school year.

“Only good things have happened since I enrolled them at the agency,” said Patricia’s grandmother. “Patricia is now a junior in high school and in the upper 5% of her class.”

Your gifts to United Way’s network of care help children like Patricia every day at nonprofits across our entire region. We thank you for giving Patricia a better future. If you are interested in becoming a United Way volunteer, contact us for more information today.


About Dave Skorupa

Dave Skorupa is a member of the Communications team at United Way of the Mid-South, Memphis, TN.
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