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Stories / Youth

Brian and Jesse

Sometimes the biggest breakthroughs happen when you know you have the support of someone who won’t judge you and will help you work through your faults.

That’s the case with 7-year-old Brian*, who was exposed to drugs and alcohol during his mother's pregnancy, whose father was murdered and mother who is a drug addict, leaving him to be raised by his 61-year-old aunt.

When Brian entered the Friends of the Children Seattle program at age 5, he struggled with aggression and developed a habit of lying to avoid getting in trouble. The adults in his life had a hard time believing him and, despite being bright, talkative and thoughtful, he didn’t have many friends at school.

Enter Jesse, his Friend and professional mentor at Friends of the Children, who is committed to helping Brian develop the behaviors and skills to rise above his circumstances. Jesse decided to create a mind map to help Brian see how making better choices would avoid putting himself in a position to lie altogether.

Jesse knew this was going to be a long process. He wanted Brian to think about how he could make better choices and why that was important.

Today, Brian creates his own map when he has to make a decision because he wants to make the right choice. Whenever Brian makes the right decision, Jesse acknowledges his progress and praises him for making the right decision–something Brian hasn’t heard often enough in his life.

While Jesse is still helping Brian work through his aggression, Brian knows that he can count on Jesse to be nonjudgmental, and help him develop the skills and behaviors to succeed.

*Name changed to protect the privacy of our youth.