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As a Youth and an Adult, Malik Maintains Bond with Boys Town Louisiana

When Malik aged out of the Boys Town Louisiana Family Home Program®, the 18-year-old didn’t have a family to turn to for guidance and support. So he reached out to the one place he knew he could count on for help as he transitioned into adulthood – Boys Town.  

Malik was 16 when he was referred to Boys Town Louisiana in 2013. Like most teens who enter the Family Home Program, he faced challenges at home and school that required Boys Town’s unique services and care.

During his year and a half stay, Malik thrived and mastered the skills that helped him find success in his Boys Town home and at school. But as he was getting ready to leave the program, he grew anxious about being on his own and using what he had learned in an adult world.

“He just wasn’t quite sure how to use the skills he learned at Boys Town and apply them after he left,” said Sonya Brown, Community Engagement Coordinator at Boys Town Louisiana. “That’s where Boys Town’s Care Coordination Program came in to work with him. We helped him learn to put the Boys Town skills to use at work and school.”

Malik had a number of concerns, including finding a place to live, getting a good job, finishing his GED and applying for college.

“We sat down with Malik to draw up a plan for him to follow,” Brown said.

The first issues they tackled were housing and employment.

“He was about to lose the housing he had,” Brown said. “So we worked with him to take the steps necessary to secure the housing long-term. He was working when he left Boys Town, but needed something else that was more secure. He ended up getting a job that meets his needs well.”

Brown also worked with Malik on budgeting.

“Malik worked with us to better understand and identify needs versus wants,” Brown said. “He’s learning that he doesn’t need to buy a basketball if his cupboards are empty or if he needs bus tokens to get back and forth from work or school.”

When he left Boys Town, Malik was still working on completing his GED. It was another area where Brown was able to provide guidance so the teen could reach his goal.

“Once he got it, we attended his graduation and gave him graduation gifts,” she said. “He was very excited. We even helped him get a haircut for his graduation. It was a great day for Malik.”

With his GED, and with Brown’s help, Malik was able to apply for colleges, scholarships and financial assistance.

“He was accepted to Tulane University and started taking some classes this past summer,” Brown said. “He started his first full year of college this fall and is studying homeland security.”

Boys Town understands how difficult it can be for young adults to make the move to independent living once they leave the Family Home Program. That’s why Boys Town continues to provide assistance and support for youth like Malik as they take on the new responsibilities of adulthood.

“Malik is one of those kids who did not achieve permanency through the traditional routes of finding a forever family or being adopted,” Brown said. “Unfortunately, this happens to many kids who are in care, especially older girls and boys. The neat thing about Malik is he did find permanency through the support of Boys Town and other organizations in the community. He knows that he can come to Boys Town if he has an issue or problem.”