With just over a month until the V-Soft Cares 8th Annual Charity Golf Scramble, we wanted to highlight some of the great work our charity recipient, Home of the Innocents, is doing. Today we spotlight CJ, a young man who recently sought the services of the Home. He first entered the Home before his 18th birthday, but with the guidance and support of the staff, even after turning 18, this inspiring young man chose to take advantage of the services available to him and turn his life around. Here is CJ's story.
Before October 2021, 17-year-old CJ was saddled with mental health struggles that led him to be non-compliant with treatment, and established a long history of truancy, abuse of substances, and criminal behavior.
CJ eventually found shelter in Hockensmith, a residence at Home of the Innocents for boys aged 14-18. He was just 2 months shy of his 18th birthday.
"This is such a critical timeframe in a young adult's life that is only exacerbated when they are in state’s care," said Seth Ganshirt, Clinical Director at Home of the Innocents.
During those two months, many people from Home of the Innocents poured into the young man. They were educating him on his options, supporting him unconditionally, and nudging him to extend his commitment and seek more help from the state once he turned 18.
CJ did just that. After extending his commitment when he turned 18, he became compliant with medications and more invested in his education. He had some days when he considered leaving the Home — signing himself out of treatment since he legally could do so as an 18-year-old, but the team continued to stick with him and support him, encouraging him to stay.
In February 2022, CJ had an interview with a pre-independent living program that could help him with a stable transition into young adulthood. Young adults like CJ are often not quite ready to handle complete independence. A pre-independent living program is the building block for them to successfully transition into independent living. After a promising interview and plenty of practice, prep work, and support from the Home of the Innocents' staff, CJ was accepted.
Pre-independent living programs help young adults with housing, education, employment support, and the continued mental health and case management that they need. After being accepted, CJ got his own fully-furnished apartment.
Erin Crutcher, Independent Living Coordinator, provided additional support to help him transition, showing him the grocery store and closest pharmacy, teaching him how to use public transportation, and so many other daily living tasks. CJ now currently has a job and is attending school.
CJ's story touched so many of the Home's staff who were thrilled to celebrate his success.
"It’s been amazing to see him smile since he has had so much doubt that it wouldn’t work out for him," said Seth. "I pointed this out to him during our Treatment Team meeting, but it bears repeating. This was a choice HE made. He invested in himself and his future."