In Massachusetts, children in foster care often live in foster families. Sometimes, however, they live in other places, like Group Homes. In addition to our Foster Care program, which we often talk about in this blog, Plummer operates a Group Home for young men.
Most youth in our group home been moved many, many times – often more than 20 times in 10 years. By the time they become teens, they have often concluded that they’ll never have a family. This belief is sometimes supported by adults who believe the same.
Plummer Youth Promise rejects this notion. We believe that family is both possible and necessary for all children, including teens and young adults. From time to time, we post the personal stories of some of these extraordinary youth to highlight their struggles, their needs and their incredible courage.
Three years ago, 19 year-old RJ moved into Plummer’s group home. His mother had died when he was 6; his father was addicted to drugs and living in another state. He had a sister in Boston with whom he had very little contact.
As soon as he moved in, we started talking with him about the importance of family. He was both interested in the idea and skeptical that family was possible for him. He had very little hope.
We got to know his older sister, who lived 20 miles away. After a few months, she told us he had an aunt in Connecticut, so we reached out. RJ’s aunt was stunned to hear from us because she had been told (incorrectly) that RJ had been adopted.
So we took RJ to Connecticut to meet his Aunt. We discovered from her that there was more family, and she organized a reunion. Through this reunion, RJ connected with an uncle in New Jersey. When RJ’s Dad died not long after, RJ attended services in New York with family at his side. Family that, before coming to Plummer, RJ didn’t know he had.
RJ is now 19. He talks with his Aunt and Uncle weekly, occasionally spending weekends with each of them. He and his 31-year old sister have become quite close, and he will be leaving Plummer to move in with her in the next few months. Here’s what he says, “being reconnected with my family … brought me hope because I knew I had people who cared about me and who I can count on.”
During the last few years, RJ has used Plummer’s music program to help him come to grips with his past and look forward to a brighter future. Here’s how he describes it, and here’s a song he wrote to his deceased parents as part of his healing process.
To learn more about how you can make a difference in the life of someone like RJ, call Plummer Foster Care today at 978-935-9555 or visit us at plummeryouthpromise.org.