Just the Break He Needed
by Angela Sanders, Freelance Writer
“Though you have made me see troubles…you will restore my life…” Psalm 71:20
When a game takes a particularly rough turn and keeping up with everyone else becomes taxing, players have to take a break. The same is true in life, and fifteen-year-old Jesse has found the perfect place to catch his breath at OBHC.
“After my mom died last year, I kind of went off track,” Jesse confides. Soon after, Jesse was adopted by his foster mother, but still continued to struggle. “I was doing bad after her death. I gave up on the world and didn’t care what I was doing. I would probably call it immaturity now because when I look back, I wonder why I did the things I did. They don’t really make sense anymore. I got over it, but it was hard to move past because people wouldn’t let me. They made fun of me. I didn’t really blame them, but I needed a new place to be.”
“I wanted a new school, new friends, a break, so my foster mom started looking for boarding schools for me. She found OBHC instead,” Jesse explains. “I was unsure about it until I got here, but it was completely different than anything I expected or had experienced before. I like it a lot.”
At OBHC, Jesse has been able to relax, leave the past behind and be himself. As a result, he has connected quickly with boys on campus and his new school. “I made some new friends,” Jesse says, “and it turns out we have a lot in common. Several of them also dealt with losing their mothers, and we were all having trouble getting over it. We got together and wrote a song to help us deal with how we were feeling.”
Jesse has also found friends in his houseparents, Brian and Leah. “They’re funny,” Jesse says with a smile, “they always make jokes. I play football with Brian some, and Leah does a lot in the kitchen. I appreciate them. They work hard.”
Jesse also appreciates the campus-wide emphasis on spiritual health and growth. “They take us to church and do devotionals with us,” Jesse says. “It’s a good thing, but I have a lot of questions right now. I am listening and learning about Jesus from my houseparents.”
Jesse has plans when he gets older. “First, I want to join the Marines,” Jesse says with obvious pride. “Then, the Marines will pay for school. I’d like to attend Auburn. Because I want to be an aerospace engineer, I have to be good at math, and I am. I’ll have to work on my English and writing skills a little, though. When I graduate from Auburn, I’d really like to work for NASA. That’s my dream.” Jesse chuckles, eyes wide. “It’s a BIG dream, for sure, but I think I can do it.”
Jesse plans to return home to his adopted foster mother when they both feel he is ready, but for now, Jesse is content to remain at OBHC and enjoy the social and emotional rest his living here affords.
To those whose financial gifts have given him a safe place to regroup and learn, he offers his most sincere thanks. “If I hadn’t come here, I would probably be enrolled in online school, just sitting at home feeling insecure with no connections or friends,” Jesse says, “but you gave me a chance to grow as a person, develop social skills and gain confidence. All the guys here walk around with smiles on their faces because they are being taken care of well. Whatever their problems are, they’re getting better.” Jesse shakes his head. “I’m not sure why you do what you do, but thank you! This was just the break I needed.”