Stories of Hope

Montgomery Stepping Stones

A Journey of Triumph for a Youth in our Montgomery Stepping Stones Program

A young boy with curly hair smiles while looking slightly off to the side. He is wearing a light blue shirt with a darker blue and grey design. The background is blurred with greenery, suggesting an outdoor setting.

Over the past year, the story of a resilient young man has unfolded, revealing his struggles with adversity both at home and in his academic environment. Battling with impulse control, this young man, Adam, showed heightened aggression and hovered close to being placed in care.

His involvement in sports teams at school was threatened by potential expulsion, and his academic performance dropped to concerning depths, with one grade dropping to the low 30s. He displayed blatant disrespect toward authority figures, with no end in sight to his troublesome behavior. As his misconduct continued to escalate, his mother’s concern worsened and she struggled to navigate the challenges of parenting her rebellious son.

Recognizing the importance of early intervention, the Montgomery County DSS Prevention Unit directed this young individual to a Together for Youth Family Specialist, Jennifer Yestremski. This marked the pivotal beginning of his story. Jennifer has been an integral part of Together for Youth’s team since 2022, contributing significantly to the Amsterdam & Montgomery Stepping Stones program.

Having been paired with this particularly challenging youth, Jennifer began a journey with Adam and his family, witnessing remarkable progress over the course of the year. Each week, Jennifer would sit down with Adam, addressing his impulse control concerns, and guiding him toward the development of essential life skills. While initially wrestling with accountability, Adam has since embraced responsibility for his actions.

Proactively completing his chores without being asked, submitting his homework on time, and exhibiting newfound respect toward authority figures, he has made significant strides. Employing healthier coping mechanisms, he communicates his need for independent reflection rather than resorting to abrupt disappearances, shouting, or aggressive behavior.

Adam invests extra time with his teachers each week to enhance his academic performance. Incredibly, the grade that once nosedived to the low 30s is now in the mid-90s, a testament to his incredible progress! The positive outcomes of their relationship are evident as Adam has nearly reached the goals set during his and Jennifer’s time together. While the journey was not without its challenges, he is now on a path toward growth.

One outstanding aspect of this success story is the involvement of Adam’s entire family in the community. In late 2023, Adam and his family came together to volunteer for the Amsterdam adopt-a-family food program that provides food to financially insecure families in the Greater Amsterdam school district. Not only is Adam positively engaging at home and school, but also in his community. He has found ways to give back and support others.