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H.A.V.E.N Success Stories
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A Happy Ending          

"T" was referred to H.A.V.E.N. Academy when he was in 6th grade.  His home school referred him to our program because of anger issues that resulted in verbal outbursts, physical aggression, and the inability to form positive relationships with his peers.  Our staff worked with T and focused on developing his social skills and increasing his academic achievement.  T's parents were receptive and supportive, and our staff worked with them in order to assist with developing parenting skills and with helping T to develop his social skills in the home.  In addition, social workers counseled T, and helped him to identify and cope with issues that contributed to his anger and lack of impulse control.  T's success continued throughout his tenure with our program and he eventually graduated from high school with the social skills and education necessary to secure gainful employment.  T is now approaching his first year anniversary as a valuable employee of a local commercial heating and air conditioning company; he has never displayed an angry outburst on the job, and he exhibits the ability to get along with his co-workers quite well.  He has truly come a long way in his personal development, and he continues to demonstrate personal and professional success, making him an asset to his community.

 Awesome Accomplishment

    “M” was nominated for and received the Michael D. Powell Achievement Award for 2008-09. “M” graduated in May, 2009 with a vocational/technical preparatory diploma. Indeed, “M”’s ability to overcome his personal adversities and unhealthy addictions is certainly an accomplishment that allowed him to excel in the areas of citizenship, achievement, and attendance. He exemplified citizenship throughout his years in high school. He was an active member in a local church and invited staff members to join him at different functions benefiting local charities and organizations. Additionally, “M” exhibited instances of citizenship while at school. Specifically, he was often the first one to volunteer to assist with moving heavy boxes, helping out in the garden, giving advice to his peers and providing student leadership within the H.A.V.E.N. Academy program. Without knowing it, he brightened the days of staff by walking in and saying, “How are you today?” Sometimes he looks at staff and says, “Another hard day?” It is during those moments that we are deeply touched to see that he cares for others and is able to express a concern for others. Undoubtedly, his ability to show compassion and empathy are valuable strengths and examples of commendable citizenship. Academic and social achievements were also a major part of “M”’s successes while in high school. Throughout each year at Alexander High, he managed to earn each of his Carnegie units without failing a class. “M” also passed each portion of his Georgia High School Graduation Tests on his very first attempt, which is both notable and remarkable. Socially, he progressed through the Student Achievement Model by advancing through each of the levels. He concluded the school year on the Transitions Level-Off Card. What an awesome accomplishment! During his junior year, “M” was able to earn one general educational course within the main building after he advanced to the Progress Level. During his senior year, he was able to advance to the Transitions Level and earn all of his courses within the general educational setting.

    In the area of attendance, he showed so much improvement! There were times when he wanted to leave early because of being exhausted, but he hung in there. He often works on the weekend completing odd jobs that involve heavy lifting and manual labor. Through encouragement, he has managed to show up for school on time and endure throughout the course of the school day in order to meet his educational goals.

     Without a doubt, “M” exemplifies excellence in the areas of citizenship, achievement, and attendance, which are the cornerstones of the Michael D. Powell Achievement Award.

Hope

     “H” entered his 9th grade year as a defiant, rebellious individual, and he morphed from a caterpillar to a butterfly as he entered his Junior year. With H.A.V.E.N. Academy’s consistent routine, he realized and now expects to be held accountable for his actions. When he resisted the system during first semester, it resulted in a temporary withdrawal from school, a Youth Detention Placement, and then a placement in a group home. Instead of returning to H.A.V.E.N. bitter and blaming staff for his placement change, he openly shared his earlier frustrations with H.A.V.E.N. at the beginning of second semester, by stating that I wouldn’t let him get by with stuff, or drop the ball, but held him accountable, and that accountability was necessary for him to experience so that he could make better choices. By applying the Student Achievement Model, he learned to appreciate the cause-effect relationship of his choices and his decisions. As a matter of fact, he even believes that the bar could be further raised before a student acquires Progress status. However, it is not only S.A.M.S. that shaped this student’s life, but an inner change and desire that stemmed from his experience at YDC. He’ll openly share this personal experience with others, and will most likely continue to attribute H.A.V.E.N.’S experience as a time in his life that he safely reflected and learned the importance of healthy decision-making.

     Today, “H” embraces life with a new perspective and with new values toward his education. He consistently pursues a higher level within the S.A.M. Model, and is currently working toward meeting Transitions Level. He attends school on a regular basis, participates in training for fall football and works diligently on his academic and behavioral goals. He’s a top A student in his American Government and Current Issues classes, and expresses himself beautifully on paper with the hopes of inspiring others to break free of their barriers. He has been trusted to spear-head the student H.A.V.E.N. Newsletter, is a member of J-ROTC at AHS and overall desires to help people when they show that they want to be helped. Moreover, his new attitude and perspective are now creating friendly competition to some of his peers that haven’t taken advantage of the level system, or to those who haven’t used their time wisely. “H” doesn’t brag on his status, nor does he challenge competition; however, what he does do is most influential, and that is leading others by example, and reaping the benefits of his sacrifices and choices. His changed behavior and attitude are noticed by all. He clearly reflects HOPE to other students that change is possible, a little painful, but emphatically necessary in order to fly out of H.A.V.E.N.’S transforming cocoon with beautiful colors depicting parts of life that worked together to develop newfound purpose and grandeur as a new creature.                                                          

     In closing, may this butterfly teach others to morph with hope, achievement, values and nobility with promises that there is a better tomorrow!

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