Eckert Youth Homes: Shaping Lives .... Building Futures
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Success Story

Shelby Arcand is a 23-year-old go-getter.  She works hard, laughs easily, and considers her 4-year-old son, Gavin, the most important aspect of her life.  When you visit with this independent, successful young woman now, you would never believe she was once a struggling teenager who resided at Eckert Youth Homes.

"At the time, I didn't see it.  I was oblivious to the fact that I had a problem with authority," Shelby recalled.  "I was at an age that I thought I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.  I wasn't concerned about school, and I didn't listen to my parents' advice or respond well to their discipline."

Shelby's troubles landed her in the Northwest Youth Assessment Center, followed by Eckert Youth Homes.  "I was mad, upset and hurt," she said upon learning of her placement.  "It was really very shocking.  It hadn't clicked yet that there would be consequences to my actions."

Shelby's "Aha!" moment came as she spent time with the Eckert Youth Homes' staff.  "I don't think I could ever thank them enough, even now," she said.  She credits Eckert Youth Homes' social service professionals for "giving it to me straight and telling me like it is."  The social service professionals helped her "snap out of the rebellious stage" that she was in and helped her realize that "it was time to put a stop to the selfishness."

While Eckert's social service professionals helped Shelby understand the cause and effect of her actions, its houseparents gave her the care and support for which she longed, but had a hard time accepting from her family. "The blame can't be placed on the parents or the children," Shelby said of struggling families in general.  "But for me, growing up in two different homes was very difficult.  Things weren’t easy for either of my parents, and there were more pertinent issues at hand than praise or appreciation."

Thankfully, the youth homes' houseparents were able to give Shelby the emotional support she needed.  "They were always very supportive," Shelby continued.  "I don't know if it was just their personalities, but that made it great . . . just the fact that you were recognized.  It wasn't just about fixing the mistakes or bad decisions you'd made; it was about focusing on the positive.  When someone is praised for doing good things, they want to continue doing good things!"

Shelby uses many of the life lessons she learned at Eckert Youth Homes in parenting Gavin.  "It's the little things like showing him gratitude, praising him for his achievements, and having that one-on-one time that will help us have an amazing relationship in the long run," she explained.  Her experience at Eckert Youth Homes also helped strengthen the relationship she has with her father, stepmother and mother.  "Things are great now," she said.  "We have a normal, healthy relationship and are able to talk openly about the tough times we all went through while I was that rebellious teenager."

In looking back at the time she spent at Eckert Youth Homes, Shelby concluded, "It truly is the best place troubled youth can go to receive help, whether they are rejecting help that's being offered at home or their parents are at a loss as to what to do.  Not only are the staff and atmosphere welcoming, but you gain so much more than life lessons—you gain a family."

**Although Eckert Youth Homes normally does not identify former or current residents, Shelby has graciously consented to share her story because she firmly believes in Eckert Youth Homes’ mission.**

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