Youth Villages stories

MYPAC participant, Jakayla

Missing Puzzle Piece – Jakayla’s story

Dec 17, 2020 | Blog

Sometimes, challenges and obstacles are more than parents and children can handle.

That was the situation Kamera and her teenage daughter, Jakayla, faced when mental health issues and the teen’s out-of-control behaviors threatened to unravel their home.

Fortunately, a referral to Youth Villages’ Mississippi Youth Programs Around the Clock program (MYPAC), helped the family find new ways to approach their challenges. Youth Villages’ MYPAC uses the family-driven, strengths-based wraparound approach that includes in-home therapy, family support, community resources and advocacy.

Youth Villages therapist Shalonda began working with the family in their home, first addressing Jakyala’s behavioral issues: verbal aggression; negative interactions with adults and classmates; poor communication skills; school absences and low grades; depression; and running away from home. Shalonda helped Jakayla develop tools to cope with difficult emotions and situations in a healthy manner.

While there were many tough moments, Kamera continued to work hard on using the new behavior management strategies she learned in therapy sessions and consistently addressed Jakayla’s outbursts when they occurred. She was able to set expectations for her daughter’s behavior and give consequences to reinforce positive behaviors and correct negative behaviors. They both learned how to stay calm when talking about issues, and then worked together to resolve them.

“I enjoy the opportunity to help families with their problems and help them live successfully,” Shalonda said. “I find it fulfilling to equip families with strategies and resources to solve stressful situations in their lives.”

After months of MYPAC services, Kamera and Jakayla had met all its goals. It was a long and challenging journey. In the end, with the support and tireless efforts of Youth Villages’ staff and services, the family was empowered to move forward with confidence, a strengthened relationship bringing calm and stability to their home.

“Thanks to Youth Villages, our family has a bright future ahead of us,” Kamera said. “Youth Villages was the missing puzzle piece to put our family back together.”

Jakalyla graduated high school and is now working in a health care setting aspiring to go to college.

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