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Consistency, Humor, and Goofiness goes a long way

By Jo Castano, AmeriCorps Promise Fellow serving at Boys and Girls Club of the Northland, Duluth

I currently have a teen who was also part of my Focus List from last year. The first year was hard to make strong relationships with my teens, in general, especially since most of them have people coming in and out of their lives. I was always consistent with this teen. I always greeted him by his first name and asked him how his day was going. It took about a half of a year for me to even get a “hello” in return, and eye contact with me was nonexistent. Some days I felt discouraged from the lack of interaction this teen was not wanting to engage in with me. Fast forward to this new school year, this teen has been reaching out to me more often, he now greets me!! He asks me for homework help with Spanish and even asks me how to say certain words.

We play Spoons, Kemps, and other board games! Per his request.  A few days ago I was not in the teen center the first couple of hours like I usually am and midday when I returned, I was scolded for not being there the first few hours, by this specific teen. He asked me where I was, and why was I not there like I usually am and that he was glad I was back because the teen center is just not the same without me.

I teared up and got an overwhelming feeling of joy. I was finally getting the words coming from him, letting me know how much he appreciates me and enjoys my presence, which was very uplifting and a great reminder of how much everything we do does make great impact in the people we serve even when we have setbacks. It made me realize how important taking little steps is. How consistency, some humor, and goofiness go a long way.”

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