Spotlight on our boys- SAYS Graduates
Now 28 years old, Aaron B. stays in touch with visits and phone calls to his home away from home, SAYS, where he lived for nearly four years. He has been married to his lovely wife for close to six years and they have two children together. He is working as a Security Officer in Orlando. His favorite memory at SAYS was getting to go on the “family vacations” with the staff to Islands of Adventure, Sea World, DisneyWorld, etc., staying in hotels and riding the roller coasters. When asked what things he liked best about SAYS, he responded, “You made us focus on school – it was a priority; you took care of our medical needs, and the staff was always there for us.” Staff members who meant the most to Aaron were Pam (still at SAYS) and Ron (who passed away in June 2005, and is still missed). Aaron still uses what his SAYS therapist told him: “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a day to be thankful for.”
Matt D. has come by SAYS to visit and show off his beautiful new baby girl. Matt has reunited with his biological mother, who gave him up for adoption when she was fifteen so that he could have a better life. At 18, he received a letter from Mom while en route to Seattle, Washington. They corresponded for years before they actually met. Now he, his wife and baby all reside with her, and Matt and his mom have developed a friendship. Matt works as a C.N.A. in a Jacksonville nursing home. Matt went to school to become a C.N.A. while residing at SAYS, and has maintained the same career path for the past 13 years. He believes that SAYS was the best placement he had. He admits he had “more fun” at other places (not doing positive things), but learned the most at SAYS, and he credits “good people and good structure.” He feels without SAYS he would not have been able to go to school and get a career. He feels that staff members Lisa and Rick (both still at SAYS) had the most impact on his life. He said hopes to move back to Washington, where the job market remains strong, to raise his daughter.
We are so proud of our young men. We know we are not responsible for their success, but hope we helped provide some of the tools to help them achieve it themselves.
We at SAYS are trying to plan a graduate reunion. If you have contact with past SAYS friends, please let us know.