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Josh’s Story

When Joelle’s three children first came to shelter, they were extremely upset at the idea of moving schools until things were safe and free from violence. When they started attending their new school, all three children had multiple absences and had a hard time transitioning, especially her oldest son, Josh. Over time Josh’s other siblings started to enjoy their new schools and started making new friends. However, many times, Joelle had to pick up Josh from school because he was not feeling well emotionally and did not want to sit in class. Josh had a hard time focusing in school and staying present. He struggled to make friends and was extremely disconnected from his classmates and teachers. He held his head down and wouldn’t really speak to anyone. Due to the multiple absences and early pick-ups, the school proposed virtual learning for Josh.

Joelle knew that Josh needed support and time to get adjusted to all the changes he recently experienced, from fleeing a violent situation with his mom and siblings, to going to a shelter, and now attending a new school and leaving his friends behind. Joelle proposed the idea to Josh of staying at shelter and completing his schooling via virtual learning due the struggles that he was experiencing in school. Josh knew that virtual learning was not for him and would make him feel even more alone than he already was. Having shared that with his mother, Josh was resilient and knew he had to change his behaviors and outlook with his new school otherwise he would feel worse and more alone with virtual learning. He said to his mother, “Give me one more week. I will try to do better.” Trusting her son and knowing his strength and resilience, Joelle agreed to one more week back in school before considering the virtual learning option.

After one week, Josh started to build connections with the other kids in his classes and his teachers immediately noticed he was more attentive and engaged during class. Through our Children’s Program and other levels of support Josh started feeling better about going to his new school and happy about some of the new friends he started to make. His mood had drastically improved from when he first came to shelter and Joelle found that she no longer needed to pick him up from school early because he was not feeling well. Josh even started connecting and playing with the other children at the shelter and started to find his smile once again.

“I’ve made some new friends and like me teachers. I feel happy and like going to my new school.”

– Josh, Child, Survivor

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