Marvin’s home has been rife with instability for years now, in large part due to his mom’s drug addiction. Marvin and his mother continue to  fight regularly, especially when she leaves him to take care of his younger siblings while she goes out for drugs or comes back high. The police have been called to the home numerous times along with child welfare officials, too.

His coach, Jarod, has been a lifeline for Marvin.  Jarod meets with Marvin’s caseworkers, counselors, and his school admins. He’s been instrumental in helping Marvin get re-enrolled, and supporting Marvin with developing a plan for de-escalation so he can manage himself better at home and at school. Marvin’s mom has been willing to sign off on some paperwork, but the pull of her addiction has resulted in inconsistent, erratic and unpredictable behavior. Jarod has been a constant in Marvin’s life for the past few years and he sees this school year as the culmination of so much work, so much effort on everyone’s part.

Our coaches are the crux of Found Village. They field emergency calls at 3 am. They are encouraging young people to set and reach their goals, holding them accountable, and advocating for them in every life arena, especially at school. Jarod’s approach to supporting the youth is drawn from a place of empathy and personal life lessons. Jarod shared that he knows what it’s like to grow up in poverty, be tossed around in foster care, and not have a place to call home. We asked him what it takes to be a coach and here’s what he had to say: “Everyone has their own unique unicorn way of coaching. We’re not putting on patches, we are dealing with people’s lives. We’re pouring into them, teaching them to use their resources, and to show up for themselves.”

At this point, we’re keeping Marvin engaged in our programming, we are working with him to find ways for more consistent support where his needs are being met.  Some of these options mean group home settings that would separate Marvin from his siblings. In situations like these decisions can be incredibly difficult to make.

Jarod dropped off that backpack before Marvin started school. He reported that Marvin is excited and a little nervous to get back in the classroom. Another thing worth noting: Marvin would like his younger siblings to have access to some of these resources he receives from Found Village. We look forward to the day when we have the funding to engage young people under 13. For now, we are grateful that our youth have coaches like Jarod at their backs as they start the new school year.