Before Daniel joined the YMCA’s Community Action Program, he wasn’t in the right mindset: “I was making bad decisions and bad choices.” He says that he was disrespectful to his teachers, peers, and parents. Daniel’s dad, Drew, felt the tension of Daniel’s decisions. “I felt like I was waiting on a phone call from the school at any day about the next thing,” he says. “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a little bit embarrassing. You think that you’re supposed to be the model family, where nothing’s ever wrong. I feel like we are indeed the model family, and we have challenges just like everybody else.” After getting into some trouble, Daniel ended up at Williamson County Y-CAP, the Y’s youth outreach program. In Y-CAP, teens like Daniel have the opportunity to build and find community through food and fellowship, volunteering, and team-building.
For Drew and his wife, Y-CAP was a space to heal. “We didn’t have to go right into trying to rehabilitate Daniel,” Drew shares. “We could give Daniel to Y-CAP for a little bit, and talk about how we as parents needed to go forward. That really has helped everybody in the house.”
Daniel says that he’s learned to make better choices, like “hanging out with the right crowd instead of the wrong one.” Drew says that he can tell his son is becoming more confident. “I’m hoping that shows up in his ability to stand alone instead of with the crowd who may not be making the best choices.” He can also tell a difference in his son’s sense of responsibility. “Daniel’s integrity has improved; times where he would try to skirt the truth or be a little deceptive to stay out of trouble, he’ll own up and say, ‘Yeah, I did it.’” Daniel’s growing maturity has been a huge part of the trust that the father and son are rebuilding together.
Daniel really enjoys the food and fellowship part of Y-CAP, as well as his time volunteering at a local senior center. Drew enjoys the peace of mind—knowing his son is in a safe, nurturing environment. “Programs like this give parents a help-mate,” Drew says. “To know that Daniel is in a safe place that he’s going to go after school and that he’s around adults who are going to echo the things that I’m telling him allows me, my wife, and the rest of our family to heal and to gain that trust back.”
Learn more about the Y’s Community Action Program.