Ozanam Success Stories

Mohammed- Mohammed grew up in Somalia during the Civil War. He was present through it all, through the murdering, through the gunfire, through the fire raids. At one time he was put up against a wall and he thought he would be killed. He escaped Somalia by walking into Kenya. He arrived in Kansas City to live with family here (the rest of his family in Somalia was unable to leave) and had been in hospitals and treatment centers almost since his arrival. Having dealt with gangs and violence, he came to Ozanam in order to work on issues of anger and inability to trust anyone. When Mohammed arrived at Ozanam, he had never shared with anyone what had happened during his childhood in Somalia or the trials he had been through. His therapist used  creative therapy techniques in order to build trust, enable him to tell his story and to help him get through the issues that held him back.  The benefits of many different programs at Ozanam worked together in order to give Mohammed what he needed. He met on a weekly basis with the cultural diversity group in order to share his story and learn from staff and his peers. He became involved in the Spiritual Life Program and learned about life as a Muslim in the Somali faith community and has been going to the mosque with the Ozanam chaplain.  Mohammed still has a way to go but has  moved back with his aunt, will continue in school, and will work with the Family Focus and After Care Programs to continue making progress toward  becoming a successful citizen in his community.


John - John had been in the system for much of his life.  He came to the Ozanam school through a residential program at another Cornerstones of Care agency in which he had proven to be very successful. His family came together during his time at Ozanam, and he was able to return to live with them successfully throughout the school year. During his time in the Day Treatment Program, John's attitude and behavior continued to improve. His social behavior improved so much that he was voted the "most trustworthy" and "the most popular" in his class. He was elected as Senior Class President, learned the benefits of being a good role model, and took the part very seriously. John also participated in the Spiritual Life Program while at Ozanam and served in the Men of Faith Program where he mentored other residents. John was released from Ozanam and will attend public school in the fall.


Chris - Chris came from a family that put  very negative pressures on him. He was very low functioning and was very dependent on the people around him. From the combined effect of being wrapped up in drugs and the having negative family pressures, he has come as far as to be living on his own in the Pathways Program.  Chris started in a residential dorm unit on the Ozanam campus but was quickly transitioned into the group home in order to prepare him for independent living. Moving back into his destructive family was not an option that was even kept open by Ozanam therapists, and therefore, he would need to learn not only to control his behavior, but also life skills such as keeping an apartment, feeding himself, and taking care of himself. During his time in the group home, Chris learned independence. Learning how to cook for himself, clean up after himself, maintain positive social relationships, and control his behavior internally, Chris was transferred into the Pathways Transitional Living Program in midtown Kansas City where he is excelling in his forward steps. Chris now lives by himself, maintains employment and will graduate from high school.  At Pathways, adolescents learn how to navigate the bus system, get and maintain employment, and live on their own. Participants in this program, kids like Chris who have been in "the system" their whole lives, learn the things that most kids learn from their parents. Not growing up with a functioning family, Chris missed out on many of the things that kids learn from their parents. While other kids were learning to drive, Chris was learning to deal with his behavior problems and to deal with the negative impact his family had on him. Ozanam has enabled Chris to become independent, hold down a good job and finish school.


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