"I've learned that I'm capable of a lot more, and I thank the staff for that because they expect more of me. They are always leading me in a positive direction."
- Student Jayvon Ewing
(L to R): Student Marcus Jacobs, Student Jayvon Ewing, All of the Above Hip-Hop Academy Program Director Jahshua Smith, and Highfields' Music Program Supervisor Russell Davis IV smile on stage before introducing Highfields' music and arts program at our Strengthening Families Breakfast on October 27, 2016.
Jayvon struggled in his life before coming to Highfields. He admits he hung out with the wrong crowd and was pressured into shoplifting. He had trouble following the laws of probation and was sent to a juvenile detention center. He went back and forth between different detention centers before the Judge referred him to Highfields.
"I expected a lot less from Highfields to be honest," said Jayvon. "All I had known was juvenile detention centers where there are a lot less privileges and you barely get to see the outside world."
Jayvon arrived at Highfields in August. He was immediately impressed at the opportunities he had at Highfields. He joined support groups which helped him change his way of thinking. His favorite group session on campus is called Mutual Support.
"Mutual Support is based on openness and trust in the group," he said. "You talk about problems that you have in your community, and then get feedback from your peers and the staff about how to handle it."
In addition to group therapy sessions, Jayvon also appreciates the opportunity to work on campus.
"I don't miss my chance to do work sessions," he said. "I'm in the Maintenance group and I started working in the kitchen recently."
Residential student Marcus performed an original spoken word poem titled "The Struggle" at Highfields' Strengthening Families Breakfast on October 27th. He is one of the many students involved in Highfields' music and arts program.
Thanks to a grant from the James and Kimberly Currie Foundation, Highfields has a new recording studio on campus, which includes a laptop, headphones, speakers, and a microphone to record songs. The majority of the students are excited about the opportunity to use the music studio.
Highfields' Residential Supervisor Russell Davis IV oversees the music program. He worked with Marcus while he was writing "The Struggle."
"It was eye-opening for me to hear about his past experiences," said Russell. "I think writing about it was very therapeutic for him."
"Looking back, I'm glad I was sent to Highfields," said Mike. "I do credit Highfields for helping me turn my life around."
Today, Mike is a 28 year-old happily married father of two. He has a steady job, a house, and a positive outlook on the future. He seems like he has life all figured out, but that wasn't always the case.
When Mike was 14 years old he was a rebellious teenager. He skipped school, hung out with the wrong crowd and disobeyed his parents. He was caught committing a crime of breaking and entering and was sent to Highfields.
Mike was a student in Highfields Residential Program for 15 months and during that time he learned how to make better choices.