Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Perfect Timing = Perfect Fit

At the Y, we know families need all the support they can get. That’s why our youth programs focus on nurturing the potential of all children. Read this post about Brandon who attends a Y After School program operated through the A.E. Finley YMCA.

Brandon Jones' kindergarten teachers informed his mom, Paige, about his hitting, kicking and impulsive behavior. And soon the Y counselors at the Hilburn Elementary school site were concerned too.

Paige scanned the Internet and decided ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) was probably the culprit, but it would be several weeks before an evaluation was complete. Paige worried. Would Brandon get kicked out of school? Would he be singled out? In the meantime, would she be able to keep her job? She prayed for the answers.

Brandon & Carly
That’s when Carly Gravinese, Hilburn onsite coordinator, volunteered to switch hours so she could be with Brandon in the afternoons. She took time to interact with him, brought coloring books and activities for him to complete. She took walks with him outside.

“Brandon took to Carly right away. She knew how to calm him and gave him opportunities to interact with others,” said Paige. “He was so attached to her that when his father dropped him off once, Brandon couldn't wait to introduce him to her.”

A month later, when the diagnosis was official and Brandon was put on medication, Paige breathed a sigh of relief. And Carly saw an instant turnaround.

“It was amazing to see the transformation,” said Carly. “I saw changes even before he was diagnosed. After he got to know me and I understood what was going on, when he got upset, and started hitting or acting out, I told him how disappointed I was."

“I explained the Y’s expectations and pointed out how it feels when he hurt another child. When he did well, I praised him and helped him understand the differences.”

A month later, Carly called Paige with the bad news that she was moving to the Tracking Out program.

“I told her that I wasn't going to tell Brandon because I knew it would break his heart,” Paige said.

When Paige got used to the idea, she realized that the timing was perfect. “I believe it was God working,” she said. “Carly was there just long enough to get us through this situation. Then God said 'You've done your job.' I told Brandon that's how God works.”

“Communication is the key. The counselors take the time to communicate with us, understand and accommodate our children’s needs and always let us know what’s going on.”

Brandon is doing better at school, interacting well with others, and controlling his behavior. Now when she picks him up he's not sitting by himself, but happily playing with the other children in a group.

"Brandon’s probably touched me more than anyone in my eight years at the Y," said Carly.

1 comment:

  1. Carly is definitely missed at Hilburn's After School Program, and is one of the best examples of how amazing all of the Y counselors are! There is no organization I trust more with my child!