Esther Stephen watched the young man who’s lived in her home, as her foster child, for a number of years. She sees his eyes soften as he cradles her new daughter, a gentleness comes over him, and Esther smiles to herself, knowing when the young man is around, her daughter will always be safe and well-cared for.
Akin* is a young man transformed. HIs biological family environment has not been the healthiest option for him, and as a result, he has lived with a Back2Back staff couple for many years. When he first arrived at their home, he was easily described as stubborn and inconsiderate. Recently, the couple welcomed a baby girl and with her birth, they’ve seen a complete transformation in Akin.
“He has grown in responsibility by leaps and bounds,” shared Esther. “He takes care of his baby sister so well and takes it upon himself to learn everything he can to help care for her.” Akin helps with her feeding schedule, he checks on her at her daycare, located at the same school he attends, and they have developed a sweet bond; the baby never cries when she is in his arms. Staff have also noticed this softening in Akin and attribute it to the felt-safety he experiences at home and the newfound love he has for his little sister.
“I trust Akin implicitly when he helps with our daughter,” explained Esther. “I know she will always be safe and looked after when he is around.”
Another young man has recently undergone emotional changes after a transition from living with his bio family to staying with a staff couple. Obi* attends an alternative education program at Great Oaks Academy, Back2Back’s new trauma-informed school, in Nigeria. When he first started, he was staying with his mother and grandmother, and staff saw he was struggling.
“We realized very quickly Obi was staying out late into the night, making poor choices, and we knew he needed a fresh environment to help reset him,” explained Swanta Zakka, Back2Back staff. Bitrus, a tutor with Back2Back and safe adult who has taken time building relationship with Obi, decided to invite the young man to live with him and his family.
Bitrus’ six children welcomed Obi as if he was a long lost brother, and the changes in the teen can’t be overlooked. Obi fits right in with the family, connecting with the children and especially growing in relationship with Bitrus’ oldest son. They influence each other in school and in their social lives, making wiser decisions and considering their futures above all. Having a father figure in his life and siblings who both look up to and challenge him has made all the difference.
This is the power of safe adults in the lives of teens both impressionable and growing – felt-safety allows for monumental change and growth in teens from hard places. Please join Back2Back in prayer that these young men would continue to grow in confidence and peace.