Overcoming Adversity: Derek’s Boys Town Journey

At Boys Town, many of the kids we work with come from difficult backgrounds and experience obstacles that they have to work hard to overcome. This is the story of one such person.

Meet Derek, a 14-year-old, who came to the Bazarsky Campus in Portsmouth about six months ago. Derek and his three brothers have had a difficult upbringing. Their parent’s struggle with substance abuse. And their inability to provide a safe environment resulted in the boys being removed from the home and split up into various foster homes. Despite his new surroundings, Derek’s struggles continued. He was removed from his first foster home for smoking marijuana in the house. After he was caught breaking into cars with friends, he was removed from his second foster home and came to the Boys Town New England Family Home Program.

“When Derek arrived here, he failed to take accountability for his actions,” explained Family Home Program Consultant Tim Croteau. “He was really struggling academically and his lack of respect for authority figures was quite evident.”

Derek’s time in our Family Home Program on our Bazarsky campus was remarkable. Since arriving, Derek has transformed into a role model for the other kids. The ninth grader stopped using illegal substances and has earned straight A’s…in an engineering program no less!

“Derek coming from a world of negative influence and instability has learned through large amounts of effort to become a very immovable and fixed person within his own intelligence and morals,” shared Nick Morris-Hayes, Derek’s Family-Teacher. “He brought a sense of warmth and humility to the home that will be missed upon his positive discharge into a new life."

Derek’s goal, as it is for all our kids, is reunification. Unfortunately, his parents have not taken the steps they need to provide a safe and stable living environment for him and his brothers.

The good news is there are other family members who are there for Derek. His aunt, who is currently caring for Derek’s younger siblings, is a consistent and steady presence for him. Derek visits her on most weekends, and she has cooked dinner for Derek’s entire Family Home at Boys Town. Although she does not have room to bring Derek home with her, she has worked with Boys Town and planned for Derek to live nearby with another family member. The best part is that Derek will be able to have regular contact with his siblings…and there is nothing better than being near your brothers.