The right environment helps teen take control of life

Sunday, December 16, 2007

There's no place like home. But Michael Brown, 17, believes he has found the next best thing.

Drinking heavily by age 12, Michael saw his life spiraling out of control. As a teen, he faced charges of vandalism, theft, and breaking and entering. He'd seen the inside of a courtroom too many times.

The Department of Children's Services stepped in and decided what Michael really needed was a home-like environment that would encourage balance, structure, nurturing and love. In August 2007, Michael went to live in My Friend's House.

My Friend's House is a residential group home operated by Williamson County Youth that began its operation in 1988. It currently houses seven boys ages 13-17. My Friend's House is a comprehensive treatment program that fosters self-esteem and confidence and encourages teens to achieve their highest potential. The ultimate goal and purpose of My Friend's House is to reunite young people with their families.

"I feel safe here, and it's a great feeling to know people here are rooting for me to succeed," Michael said. "It truly has become my home away from home."

Michael attends programs and classes such as conflict resolution, family dynamics, anger management and alcohol and drug abuse group therapy.

"I made some really bad decisions," Michael said. "But living at My Friend's House has taught me to accept responsibility for my own actions and that I am in control of my life and my destiny."

My Friend's House Executive Director Patty Martinez has seen many positive changes in Michael.

"He stopped blaming others. He is assuming leadership roles. He has a great attitude and long-range goals," she said. "He can and will make it happen."

source: The