Before coming to Eckerd Kids’ Short Term Residential Program for Boys, Bobby was staying out late, talking back to his mother and not being as successful in school as he could have been. He was unwilling to do any school work, especially any reading.

Bobby’s teacher at Eckerd encouraged him to read, and he read approximately 15 books during his time at the program. After going home, he started to accept his mother as the authority figure and began showing her more respect her. His state of mind changed to a more positive one, which influenced his choice of peers.

Bobby is now taking basic courses at Forsyth Tech. He is pursuing a degree in nursing and is handling the heavy reading load well. Bobby is currently living with his older sister and is helping raise his niece along with his own child.

Bobby says he wasn’t ready for change when he started the program, and it took him a while to get used to it. He now believes it is helpful for youth to overcome obstacles from their pasts. He says the Eckerd Kids program helps build teamwork and discipline and helps youth create a more healthy living environment at home.

He says, “Freedom is definitely a privilege, and there are rules to be followed.” Eckerd Kids helped Bobby start making better decisions, become more respectful to adults and accept the answer “no”.

“The staff helps you to stay on top of your school work,” he said. He hated reading before coming to the program, but eventually developed a love for it. He gained an understanding of how important his freedom was to him, and he felt the school really helped him with transitioning back to school after leaving.

To the youth currently in the residential program, Bobby says, “No matter how hard things are there, overcome your weaknesses and build strength.”