Comprehensive Juvenile Services, Inc.
1606 South "J" Street Fort Smith, Arkansas 72901 Phone 479-785-4031 Fax 479-785-5354
John L. Furness Executive Director
As a Caseworker, it is so rewarding to hear from a former client that you made a difference in her life; but the ironic thing is, she made a difference in my life. I began working with this young lady in 2014. She was referred by the Juvenile Court to CJS for casework counseling due to a FINS petition filed by her mother due to disobedience and running away from home and some alcohol use.
When I first met Ms. B, she was rather quiet, yet cooperative and compliant. Over the months during our casework sessions, while discussing issues that most teenagers find uncomfortable especially when it is focused on changes they need to make, I could see that Ms. B was “getting it”. I could see her “wheels turning” and oh, did they turn for the better.
Sometimes the best success is the success you see in yourself. I want to share an excerpt that Ms. B posted on one of her social media pages. These are her own words:
“Two years ago, I was in a bad place. Bad choice in friends, lifestyle, it just wasn't good. No one really and truly knows my story. After a year of struggling to get on the right path and becoming a better person, my heart stumbled upon this crazy opportunity. I met my recruiter, who convinced me to consider the army. No commitments were made right away, but it was definitely something I wanted to look into. After realizing the army was what I truly wanted, I went on a diet, lost the weight I needed. Pushed myself to go to every possible pt offered, worked out in my free time. I pushed myself to become something better.”
After graduating from high school with honors in May of 2015, Ms. B began her adult life by enlisting in the United States Army and went on to complete Basic Combat Training (BCT) and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) in Virginia in September of 2015. During the time that Ms. B was in BCT and AIT she and I kept in touch. I would send her letters and cards of encouragement. I wanted her to stay motivated and focused. I wanted her to remember that she had not been forgotten about and that she had people back home that cared about her and wanted her to be everything that she is capable of being.
Ms. B is currently a 92F Petroleum Supply Specialist. I am so proud of her and all of her accomplishments.
I also wanted to share the following status that Ms. B posted on Facebook the other day after I asked her permission to share her story:
“By far the best message I have received in a while. I have definitely been through some difficult times in my life since I was 16. And the fact that someone who has been there and really seen exactly everything I've been through and sees what I've become, it's crazy. Now she wants to share my story, that's even more crazy. & makes me so proud of myself.”
Thanks to the generosity of the Windgate Charitable Foundation, CJS was able to purchase clothing for Ms. B once she lost the weight to join the Army, and she enjoyed going, along with other CJS clients, on spring break outings which were generously funded by Windgate donations.
I am proud to share the story of Ms. B. She is the true definition of “SUCCESS”.
CJS Casework Supervisor
This story is evidence of a life changed at least in part by CJS services, and the role this client is now playing in changing the lives of others every day. Sherry was adopted as a young teenager by a prominent family; however, because she was an older adoptee, there were many adjustment problems. Sherry did not fit in well with the family, resulting in much family conflict. She was referred to the CJS Caseworker for assistance with the extreme conflict within the family. After working with the family on the issues of anger displayed by Sherry, it seemed the conflict was only growing worse as she progressed into the teenage years. The Caseworker then recommended to the family and the Juvenile Court that a placement be sought at the Girls Shelter of Fort Smith. Sherry was accepted at the Girls Shelter and did very well in the program. She worked on her anger and behavior issues and was able to successfully complete the program and graduate from high school.
Sherry set a goal for herself to work in a helping profession, in order to give back to others in ways she had seen others give to help her. She attended college and earned her bachelor’s degree.
Sherry now works very successfully as a DCFS Caseworker. She is described as honest, straightforward, and trustworthy in her work, always being an advocate for the children, and going to great lengths to do what is right for them.
And the best part of this story is that she and her former CJS Caseworker often share clients, working together to make a difference in the lives of these children – just as she learned from his work with her in her teenage years.