Student Stories



The first thing Immanuel said to me when we started talking was that he had a good life growing up. As he started telling me about it, the word “good” was not what came to mind. Immanuel spent the first nine years of his life living with his mom and sister. His mom was strung out on drugs most of the time, so they were left to fend for themselves.
CPS took Immanuel and his sister away from his mom when he was nine. From then on he was shuffled from one foster home to another.
The homes were a mixed bag. Some were clean and safe; others were no better than life with mom. At thirteen, Immanuel and his sister were adopted by one of his foster families. His new parents loved him. They spoiled him rotten; to the point that he did anything he wanted. “I thought I deserved anything in the world and it should just be handed to me,” he said.

Immanuel always did well in school and he was fairly even tempered until he was sixteen. At about that time he started to have a serious anger problem. This certainly wasn’t surprising given his history of abandonment. He was able to control his temper at school, but when he got home that was a different story. He would get into serious fights with his mom and dad. He was mad at the world. Immanuel’s solution was prescription drugs and drinking which only made things worse.

His mom got a flyer one day from a stranger that was literally a Godsend. The flyer promoted a Christian Ministry that helped people with problems like drugs, gangs, and prostitution. She called to find out about the program and they dropped him at the ministry several days later. Immanuel was furious at first. He thought he was going for a visit, not a permanent stay. Somehow he was captivated from the start. “I had tried all kinds of things and medications to straighten out, but I hadn’t looked to God. I gave him a chance and he came through for me,” he noted. The main focus of a day at the home was studying the bible. When Immanuel is at the home he prays, he does bible study, he participates in fundraisers like selling key chains or banana bread and he evangelizes. He still sees his mom and dad. They come to church on Sundays and he visits them every so often. After he kicked the drugs, the ministry found Fort Worth Can Academy for him. He only needed a few credits to graduate.

It was easy for him to meet people and to relate to them at Fort Worth Can Academy. Most of the kids wanted to change they just didn’t know how to change. His teachers made learning easier. His advisor knew him well and helped him out a lot.” Immanuel will stay in the home for a little bit longer. When he graduates he wants to go to college, but he really isn’t sure what he wants to study. He loves every subject except English. He confided, “I always thought I could get an education on my own, but having boundaries, having people in positions of authority and learning from encouraging teachers is really important. Gang life is only fulfilling for so long. There’s so much more to life and I want to explore it all.”


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