Survivor Stories: John's Story - Human Options

John, age 10, arrived at our Emergency Shelter with his mother and younger sibling in November, 2021. After fleeing from an extremely dangerous and violent situation, this family received motel vouchers for two weeks through Extended Stay America and entered our Human Options Emergency Shelter. Upon arrival, John was extremely quiet, disengaged, and scared for the safety of his family. He would say he wasn’t interested in joining Children’s Program as he wasn’t interested in anything and didn’t want to leave his family alone as it was his job to protect them. Additionally, his interest in life was minimal and frequently discussed suicide with his mother. After Children’s Program was able to assist in enrolling John in our local school and John engaged in weekly therapy sessions, he started to relax and feel safe in his new home. Additionally, Hotline Advocate Selina, hosted biweekly Sports Club for all ages, where kids were able to have a nonjudgmental and open space to run around and try new activities. At first, John was very self-conscious, as he had never engaged in sports before. However, with the support from Selina and other teens that participated he began to demonstrate patience, determination and exploration with throwing the football. Over the following weeks, John began to request to hang out with Selina or any staff willing to throw the football with him. Not only did his confidence increase, but his willingness to try different activities did as well. Now, months later, John successfully throws the football with precision and enjoyment. Additionally, he is fully engaged in extracurricular activities at school such as school plays, violin performances, and scheduled hangouts with new friends he has made. Finally, his new favorite class at school is PE, especially when they are able to play football or volleyball and consistently reports to staff about his success that day at school.  

“I didn’t really like sports that much. I was scared. Sports Club at Human Options made sports fun. Now I really like football and throwing the ball and running!” – John, Age 10