We are proud of so many of our young men and the good that comes from their flourishing lives. Here are a few of their stories. To guard their privacy, we have disguised their identities.
A proven leader – Lee came to Westview when he was twelve. He came from an adoptive family and struggled in his relationships with his peers, and wrestled with his own self-worth. After three years of living on the ranch at Westview, the relationship between Lee and his adoptive parents had grown to a place where they agreed it was time for him to return to his family. He was successful with his family, but Lee believed his best chances of success in life would be at Westview. He returned to the ranch after one school year. Lee stayed at Westview, graduated high school at Hollis, and enlisted in the United States Army. He has been very successful in his military career, earning the rank of Sergeant. He is now in charge of his own section. We are proud of his service to the country and celebrate the man he is becoming.
A caring father – When Stan came to the ranch at Westview, he was the very model of a young man who stayed in his shell to create his own safe space. He struggled with being around people, carefully concealing his emotions, and wrestling with building relationships. Stan lived on the ranch at Westview until his senior year of high school. As he turned eighteen, Westview partnered with a family SK knew from church camp to provide an independent living experience. Within these life experiences, Stan connected with his kinship family and developed relationships with others. His burgeoning success and deep spirituality prompted him to join an apprentice missionary program. Stan successfully completed his missionary experience, met and married his wife, and now has a young child. He came out of his shell and is now completely engaged in a rich life of experiences and opportunities.
The firefighter – Gary was growing up in a traditional family but struggling in his relationships with his parents. He was successful on the ranch at Westview and found that some of his best relationships were those he experienced at church camp. After graduating from Hollis High School, Gary reached out to friends from camp for guidance. This couple, in partnership with Westview, created an independent living experience for Gary in the Oklahoma City area. He moved into their home, where they mentored him as he learned to live independently. Gary went to school, became a firefighter, met and married his wife, and they have now purchased their first home. He is an active member of his church, a camp counselor every year, and has wonderful relationships with his friends and family. Gary exemplifies the ways that relationships and resources can change lives. We are proud of the life he has built.
The thoughtful caregiver – Marty arrived at Westview when he was sixteen. After his mother passed away, his grandmother became his legal guardian. Due to her age, she struggled raising a 16-year-old and asked us to help. He was an energetic young man and a “gamer,” as he would put it. Playing video games was his escape from the real world. As he started to connect with caregivers and his peers, he started pulling away from his gaming world and began interacting with others. During his senior year, he got a job working in housekeeping at a local hospital. Marty kept this job after he left high school and entered Westview’s independent living experience. He faced ups and downs as he learned to navigate the adult world, but the larger arc of his life moved upward toward flourishing. Working a full-time job, he could afford to rent a small house and gradually establish his independence with our continued guidance. His life has touched many others. Knowing those patients in the hospital who had no visitors, he would take his lunch break with them to sit and visit. We are proud of the life of this compassionate young man.
The model Marine – When he was fourteen, Mick moved to the ranch at Westview. Conflict with his family had risen to the level that they sought help. From the day he arrived, he talked about being a Marine when he graduated from high school. He connected with others quickly and developed healthy relationships with caregivers and peers. Compassionate for others, he was the first to volunteer for service projects at church or school. During his senior year, he decided as an 18-year-old to move in with a sibling living in the Rockies. When that opportunity failed, Mick experienced homelessness during a cold winter in the mountains. He reached out to us and asked if he could come home to Westview. Because of our independent living home, we were able to bring him home. Mick completed high school, got into good physical condition, and left for boot camp the following fall. In the Marine Corps, he served two tours in Afghanistan and earned the rank of Lance Corporal.
The skilled craftsman – As a thirteen-year-old, Ken left his grandparent’s home to come to Westview’s ranch. His grandparents were responsible for his care, but because of their age, he was more than they could handle. Ken settled in well, establishing strong relationships with his caregiver family. He had struggled in school at his grandparents, but we gave him the assistance he needed to improve his academics through tutoring. Ken was clear about not wanting to go to college; he wanted to go to work. We partnered with an auto body shop owner, who gave him an apprentice position to see if he would enjoy working on cars. Ken worked after school and on Saturdays during the school year and full-time during the summer. He successfully completed high school and went to work full-time at the body shop. Westview provided independent living resources, empowering Ken to rent an apartment and continue to learn his craft. Westview continues to provide guidance in the management of his finances. For about two years, he has lived on his own and has done well.