This article was contributed by Chamberlain’s Youth Services.
At the end of September, we had the pleasure of witnessing our work come full circle. In his own words, former resident and foster youth Andre Jones shared his memories of Chamberlain’s:
When I first arrived at Chamberlain’s I was about 10 years old. The trauma I went through as a child was still very fresh in my mind and I shut myself off from the world. On the outside I was a goofy energetic and friendly kid but inside there were walls bigger than the Great Wall of China. I let no one in. I would give therapists and psychiatrists fits because I didn’t want them to know how I really felt.
At CYS I met Lupe, Rachel, and a bunch of other staff that at first I saw as just more people who are going to give up on me. As a kid who was abandoned and given up on, I automatically thought they were going to do the same. The staff at CYS, especially Lupe, stuck with me through all of it. They showed me an attitude that said “we aren’t leaving, we will be here for you.” That, I would say, was a major breakthrough in my life because I had never experienced that level of care before.
The staff at CYS were crucial in my growth mentally and emotionally. Soon I started to trust again and that’s what I base my values around today. So I can’t thank CYS enough for all of the hours, blood, sweat and tears that went into dealing with me and sticking through it and showing me that there are people who care.
Those staff come to the campus everyday with the understanding that these kids need a shoulder to lean on and a listening ear. To some that may seem like it’s not enough but when you come from where I come from it means everything. Even though I may not have shown it then, I definitely appreciated each and every one of those staff from the top down. CYS will forever be in my heart.
Thank you x 10
Andre graduated from Sacramento State in 2018 with a Bachelors in Kinesiology. Today he runs a successful digital marketing agency and is a proud homeowner in Sacramento. With such a demanding work schedule, Andre teases that he enjoys sleeping when he can. Otherwise, he loves sports, traveling, and trying new foods.
Andre’s relationship with his sister is one of the few things that were constant throughout his life. In a recent chat with CEO Patrick Ellis, Andre credited Chamberlain’s for keeping his connection with his sister during his stay at CYS through regular visits in Sacramento.
Much like his CYS graduation day, we continue to be proud of Andre’s accomplishments. His journey is an inspiration to anyone who has suffered and is looking for the strength to overcome. As a note to Andre directly from CYS staff, you’re always welcome home and remember our deal to pay it forward.