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Feb 15, 2017

​Next steps After Imani

This month, Christian Ford will graduate from Imani House, one of our residential treatment programs that help youth between the ages of 13 to 18 rebuild their lives. 18 year-old Christian, a soft-spoken youth, has plans for his life after Imani. Like so many of the youth we serve, his journey in getting to where he is today was filled with many challenges.

It all began when Christian’s life took an abrupt turn—at age 10, his mother died. She had been sick for many years and Christian did his best to care for her. “I felt like any time I helped her, she would get better,” says Christian. For the next five years, Christian’s home life was unstable and at age 15, Christian was taken away from his family. He spent a few months in a couple of facilities before he was placed in Imani where, for the first time in his life, he was encouraged to talk about his feelings. Says Christian, “in the beginning, I was closed off, but after about six months, I began to develop a good relationship with staff and started making friends. I felt a sense of community. Imani is like another family. When my father died, Imani staff was there and helped me learn to express myself.”

After Christian graduates from Imani, he will live with a foster family and finish up high school at David Douglas in June. He then plans to go to Portland State University in the fall to study nursing and psychology. His goal is to become a registered nurse and later, an alcohol and drug counselor. “When my mom died, I decided that I wanted to help people, even if they may not heal, at least I’m moving them forward,” says Christian. And that is exactly what Christian is doing—moving forward, in a positive direction.

As Christian begins the next chapter of his life, his advice to other Janus youth is “Trust what your heart says and go with it.”

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