Since 1966 over 6,000 boys and girls have benefited from the residential care and treatment provided them at Attention Homes. Here are some of their stories.
In 1968, 16 year-old Rick came to Attention Homes in its second year. Raised by an abusive father, he had been drinking since grade school and had recently been kicked out of home. At Attention Homes, he began attending AA meetings. He received counseling and learned how to live with adults that treated him kindly while holding him accountable for his behavior. Today, Rick is sober, has a wife and three kids, and is a successful engineer in Boulder. Can you imagine what Rick’s life might have become if Attention Homes had not been there to help him more than 40 years ago?
Attention Homes’ street outreach staff and volunteers met Melanie and her family on the street. Although her mom had a job their family didn't have enough money to afford their own place, they were homeless. Melanie's mom brought her to Attention Homes so that she would be safe and attend high school regularly.
Melanie has taken a great interest during her stay with us in helping others less fortunate. She regularly takes donations to those she knows in need on the street, whether it is a blanket to keep them warm, a sandwich or a teddy bear to make them smile. Even in her tough situation she is always looking out for others.
Melanie's family has found housing in another town and will soon be moving there so they can live together, which is all Melanie ever wanted. She looks forward to living in her new home with her family and having a place to call her own. We will miss Melanie but take pride in helping her and her family stay together. We also know Melanie will go on to do great things to help others.
In late 2010, when Attention Homes’ youth shelter opened, David was one of our first residents. He came to our shelter on New Years Eve, after running away to avoid being put into foster care. He stayed with us for two months until he turned 18. During his time with us we successfully enrolled him in Boulder High School and helped him transition to living independently.
David was able to find independent housing by renting a room. He is still in school and maintains constant communication with our staff. He comes to visit on a regular basis and has given back through volunteering in our programs. He is doing really in school and our staff continues to help him with homework. David also gets help on his homework from our tutor on Sundays. Our staff has been teaching him life skills, such as making a schedule and budgeting.
David graduated from Boulder High School this school year! We are so proud of the accomplishments he’s made and continue to be his support system. David is a great example of how our runaway and homeless youth shelter aids youth in getting back on their feet and into a stable and supported living situation.
Kerri had a difficult childhood because of her family circumstances. At age 10, she lost her dad to drugs and alcohol, and her mom used regularly as well. Kerri was left acting as a parent to her three younger siblings by age 13. Soon after, the stress and demands of being an adult at such a young age began to take their toll, and she started to struggle in school and to experiment with drugs herself.
By age 16, she was missing a lot of school and had been arrested twice for drug related charges. She was taken into the custody of social services in Denver and was placed into an inpatient treatment center for what was, by this time, an addiction to drugs. After several placements and multiple stints at rehab, it began to settle in for Kerri that she needed to get her act together. At age 17, she checked herself into rehab and committed to getting off of drugs and getting back on track with school.
When Kerri came to Attention Homes, she had been sober for almost a year and had graduated high school. Her goal was to go to college and get a job, and Attention Homes was her first "community based" placement where those goals could become a reality. While Kerri was at Attention Homes, she was accepted into the University of Colorado's class of 2015. She got a job working at a restaurant on the hill and was soon prepared to move into the dorms in late August. She also climbed a 14,000 foot mountain (Mt. Bierstadt) for the first time, made new friends in Boulder and at CU, and is working at a job that she says is "great”!
Stewart is one of five children and doesn’t share a father with any of his siblings. He was living by the creek before he came to Attention Homes the first time. After a few nights with us, Stewart got picked-up for shoplifting and was returned to live with his mom and step-dad. He didn’t have a bedroom there and was sleeping on the couch. After a couple of weeks of verbal abuse, Stewart left and came back to Attention Homes.
After a couple of weeks we got Stewart entered into a GED program and learned he loved to cook. He began assisting the volunteers with preparing and cooking meals. Stewart passed the GED exam with exceptional test scores and helped the other kids with their homework. We helped him look for a job but, unfortunately, time was running out. Stewart was about to turn 18.
Through Facebook Stewart made contact with his biological father. His father said Stewart could stay with him and sent him a bus ticket to Wisconsin. We consulted with Stewart’s mother about the offer and she declined to participate. We put together a backpack with some food and books and took Stewart to the bus station.
Stewart loves Wisconsin! He is developing a good relationship with his father and step-mother. He has two step-siblings and a dog. Stewart is working at a sporting goods store and learning to play guitar to start his own band. Stewart credits Attention Homes with helping him finish his education and finding his father.