Helping Young People Recognize Their Gifts

Case Manager Leisa Walker explains how the Princeton-Blairstown Center (PBC) gives young people the opportunity to grow.

I’ve worked as a case manager for a young man for over three years, and together we have made great strides. This student came from an environment that taught him to be a survivor. He adapted patterns of thinking and strategies of behaving that allowed him to not only endure his circumstances, but to sustain his livelihood.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Princeton-Blairstown Center (PBC) affords students and staff an opportunity to grow. The challenges provided by PBC forced this student out of his comfort zone. At the same time, they encouraged him to re-evaluate his preconceived notions about himself. After spending two nights and three days at PBC, this student learned how the skills he acquired growing up can be tailored toward current and future success. I always stressed his strengths during our one-on-one sessions, but PBC provided an environment where he finally recognized his ability to identify a challenge, his capacity to think critically about a solution, and his gift to lead his peers to achieve a goal.

This student graduated this year, and secured a job at Water’s Edge Nursing Home in Trenton, N.J. He is currently on his way to a career in nursing. Although we cannot predict what obstacles this student will face going forward, I am confident that he will do well utilizing the skills fostered by PBC.