Working as a case manager for Rare Breed is rewarding but not always easy. When we first meet the youth, they are overwhelmed and scared by the circumstances of their lives. Most have been repeatedly told they are worthless and will never amount to anything until they believe the words others have said. When we meet these youth, they may have mental and physical illnesses related to the repeated trauma they endure. Medical help is not a priority for our youth, surviving the day is. Some may self-medicate with anything they believe will help them through that painful moment. Our hardest job is to break through the lack of trust life has instilled in our youth. We do that by listening when they talk. We also pay attention to what they say without words. When youth tell us their stories, we do not condemn, chastise, or ridicule anything that has happened to them. That is part of trauma-informed-care that helps our youth begin to heal.
We Bring Support and Hope
As our youth laugh with us, cry with us, and everything in between, they start to trust again. Once that barrier breaks, we can provide case management they want and need. When we first meet with a youth, we provide resources such as food, clothing, hygiene care, birth certificates, Ids, and Social Security cards. After an initial meeting, we provide case management by supporting the youth as they start to have hopes and dreams about what tomorrow might bring. Case managers take those fragile dreams and help the youth make plans for how they will turn them into reality. Those plans always start with big, excited, energetic steps like “I’m getting a job, a car, a house, then I’ll be a millionaire.” We help the youth break down those initial steps into smaller steps that they can realistically complete. We want them to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when they achieve those successes.
A Youth’s Journey
Just like the rest of us, the youth will stumble and fall. We help them believe in themselves so when they fall, they can get back up and try again. We never doubt in their ability – we see each stumble as a moment they can learn from. A moment in life should not define who they are, who they will be, or what they will accomplish. Sometimes our journey together starts when they are young. We work with youth from ages 13 to 24 and we help them grow until they do not need us anymore or leave Rare Breed behind. Others come later and we only get to start the journey before they age out of our services. We are comforted with the knowledge that we helped our youth start on the road to self-discovery and self-support. We know how strong, ingenious, and resilient our youth are. Most of all, we know we have given hope and hope is what changes lives one step at a time.
By: Rare Breed Youth Services – Case Managers
Look for our next blog on June 24, 2020