Hopeless to Happier than Ever – Renan’s Story

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At 16 I was somebody’s mistake and at 17 somebody’s regret. At 18 I was somebody’s problem, being tossed from detention center, to group home, to foster families like it was a game of hot potato. At 19 I was turned into a monster. I hated moving back and forth. I hated the instability and most of all I hated myself and who I’d become. I wanted to end the cycle and finally break the circle I was trapped in, but getting there was going to be tougher than I realized because I was at the end of my rope with little to no hope.

These are the words penned in a letter written by 19-year-old Renan when he recalls his harsh life as a teen, years that were marred by uncertainty, upheaval and trauma. As a teen, Renan was repeatedly let down, hurt and disappointed by the adults in his life. All of this led Renan to have extremely low self-esteem and made it difficult for him to trust adults.

In trouble with the law and serving jail time, it seemed Renan may never be able to break the destructive cycle he was stuck in. Thankfully, he was referred to a place that would help him write a much happier ending to his story. Renan moved to Jacobs’ Place, Omaha Home for Boys Transitional Living Program, in April 2016.

At Jacobs’ Place, Renan had to overcome many challenges, but he was determined to succeed. Renan’s low self-esteem hampered his ability to find employment, but as his self-confidence grew, so did his job prospects. He began working two part-time jobs and learned how to budget his earnings.

Jacobs’ Place also helped Renan develop many critical life skills needed to become a self-sufficient, productive adult. He participated in numerous training classes on employment, money management, personal wellness and goal setting. He even completed over 100 hours of volunteer work and saved more than $1,000.

All of Renan’s accomplishments are truly remarkable considering his traumatic past, but the fact that he was able to finally form a positive relationship with a trusted mentor may be the most impactful part of his time at Jacobs’ Place.

“Jordan [Renan’s Transitional Living Specialist at Jacobs’ Place] never gave up on me. That’s something I’ve never had,” said Renan. “I feel like without him, a lot of this wouldn’t have been possible. I’m so thankful to him for helping me open these doors and find myself amongst my own wreckage.”

Today, Renan is a happy, healthy, productive member of society residing in his own apartment. He has maintained steady employment for over a year, earns a living wage and is being considered for a leadership role in management. Jordan is thrilled to report that Renan’s self-esteem and self-confidence are off the charts.

“Renan has changed so much since arriving at Jacobs’ Place,” said Jordan. “Now he is so outgoing and has a terrific sense of humor that he never wanted to show anyone before. Renan is truly a success story and an example of what we hope to accomplish here at Jacobs’ Place.”

Today, there is no sign of hopelessness in Renan’s story. Today, he writes:

I was able to pick myself up and better myself thanks to Jacobs’ Place. Jordan made sure I kept myself in check. He vouched for me when nobody else would. Katasha challenged me to be honest with myself and Bailey and Jordan taught me everyday life skills that I would’ve never learned. I came here and I got it some how and it really stuck and it worked. I’m happier than ever. I’m really proud of myself. Thank you so much, Jacobs’ Place.

Are you inspired by Renan’s story?

At Jacobs’ Place, we meet countless young men and women who have no hope, but just like Renan, their stories can include a new, more optimistic chapter. You can help write that chapter.

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