This letter is a reflection and recollection of the time I spent in Charles Hall Youth and Family Services’ Case Home. I entered Case Home in October 2011 when I was 14 years old. CHYFS would be my second group home placement. Throughout my youth, I’d been placed in many facilities throughout the state and beyond. Of all those placements, CHYFS sticks with me the most. I came in very stubborn with these absurd thoughts of never changing and continuing on my life cycle of chaos. However, during my time there I gained so much wealth in knowledge and power.
The staff at Case Home were more than great. Along with the extensive groups, CHYFS provided the youth with a massive amount of real-life knowledge. By that, I mean that I was able to apply these teachings to my life rather than just read about them in a book in the hypothetical sense. I grew a lot during my time at Case Home. After some time there, I was able to have a voice and self-advocate for myself and other youth at CHYFS. This was something I had always struggled with and now I finally had that power to speak up for myself, my needs, and so much more.
Leadership is another asset CHYFS instilled in me. I’m not sure if they still supply the youth with MP3 players, but I was the one that took the initiative to start a petition throughout all the houses for music supply because it was (and still is) one of my major coping skills. I was very proud of that because at that time I realized how much CHYFS had brought a good change in my person. Rather than sneaking an iPod into the home, I was able to not only advocate for myself, but for everyone else who was feeling that their needs weren’t being met. I enjoyed being responsible, honest, and respectful, all of which was taught to me.
During my 6 month stay, I learned how to live, not just survive. I truly do appreciate CHYFS and the staff there for everything they continue to do for the youth. I know they will have a profound effect on others much like they did me.
After some trial and error and a few more placements, I finally was able to achieve my goals of being a first in my family to graduate high school. I also pursued my military dreams and joined the Army and enlisted in the National Guard. I’m now 23 years old and reside within my home community on the Ft. Berthold Reservation. I have a 7 month old daughter and work a full time job as the Station Manager for our nation’s radio station. I’m very proud of where I am at today and work hard to keep moving forward on a good path in life.
I am very pleased to share my story with you. Thank you for your time.