We first met 16-year-old Mateo during intake for our partner program, the Santa Clara County Youth Task Force Diversion Program. Mateo was facing felony charges for theft. “I was not paying attention to what my friends were really up to and it made me start behaving badly and being disrespectful to family and school adults,” he says.
Our THRIVE youth program was onsite offering additional support, but Mateo seemed disengaged and irritated with the whole process. He’d had trouble finding positive adults to provide support in his life and seemed distrustful of offers for help. However, with some humor and personal testimony, the program staff sparked Mateo’s curiosity and he agreed to participate.
Thanks to you and your generosity, Mateo was able to experience a variety of supportive services through the THRIVE program. He developed a rapport with his case manager, who was able to speak to him from a place of personal experience. Mateo opened up about challenges and issues in his family life. He began to reassess his life, changing his friends and hobbies along the way.
Early on, Mateo had some challenges completing the community service hours he needed for the Diversion Program. His THRIVE case manager was able to connect him to opportunities to work off the time. Both being provided these connections and having an adult give him consistent, positive support, helped Mateo see the possibility of success.
Mateo enjoyed summer field trips with the THRIVE program and participated in “El Joven Noble” teen groups when he transferred to a participating high school. Together, these various opportunities and services helped Mateo to see different avenues to success than what he had experienced in his life previously.
“I learned I could do better in life and I have the power to change things that don’t work for me. That I could change and do good too,” says Mateo. “I started trying in school and getting good grades. I also got a job which makes me busy so I don’t get lazy and it shows me how responsible I have to be. I got the chance to have a person listen and not judge me. They understood me and were good at sharing stories that helped me understand I could do better.”
“I am very proud of Mateo,” says his THRIVE case manager. “He has had trust issues in the past and had trouble finding positive adults to provide support. He has learned a lot from past choices and is always open to advice on life. He is on his way to being a great young man and he really takes the time to honor his family. I cannot wait to see him graduate high school as he is now discussing college!”
Thank you for giving Mateo the opportunities, support, and constant encouragement he needed to see and choose a new lifestyle!