May 16, 2016

Patrick's Lifelong Friendship

Patrick, like every child selected for Friends of the Children, wanted to be a kid, feel love, support and belonging. He had an unstable start to life. His mother, who was a teen when he was born, struggled with additions and his father became involved in the criminal justice system. Patrick was impacted by poverty, which often meant his basic needs weren’t being met. He struggled with hunger and didn’t have access to medical or dental care. At the age of 10, Patrick entered foster care and needed a stable, consistent relationship with an adult. He started school with a lack of support needed to succeed in the classroom. Because his home environment was unstable, he was frequently in trouble for aggressive behavior, missed 45 days of school in kindergarten, and struggled with homework.

Patrick needed support from a caring adult who would help him provide emotional and developmental support, encourage him to find interests, read to him or help out in ways his family was unable to. Patrick also needed a caring adult to help him manage his emotions, and to feel safe and loved. Then things began to change. He built a trusting relationship with his Friend Carlos while he was in kindergarten.

He started going to school more and developed needed social/emotional schools. He found a passion for writing poetry and participated on sports teams with the support and encouragement of Carlos. Traditional services weren't enough, but Friends of the Children empowered him to succeed.

Patrick went on to graduate from the University of Oregon where he majored in Public Policy and Philosophy. He advocated for the establishment of a successful bill of rights for youth in foster care and became an assistant legislative coordinator at the Oregon Department of Human Services.