An unseasonably warm December afternoon found Alex outside his apartment building with his football and tee, practicing his kicking technique. “I’m always working on my game,” he says. At 19 years old, Alex is the youngest person living at Team 3706. He moved in at the beginning of September and has been enjoying his new-found independence ever since. “I like it here,” says Alex. “I have my own room and I like my roommate. The staff here is nice.”
Alex is a junior at Hickman High School. He loves sports and was a member of the Hickman High School football team this past fall. While most other juniors in high school are worried about finding a date for homecoming, Alex was looking for a safe, secure place to live. After spending some time in various homeless shelters and with family and friends, he was referred to the Supported Living residential program at Boone County Family Resources where he has been thriving for several months.
“Never have I seen a service more profoundly impact an individual,” says Ann Tatayon, Alex’s Support Coordinator. “Alex now has the structure, stability and safe home environment that he needs to excel and grow and make a good life. The skills he is learning with staff through the Supported Living program have already helped him tremendously, as well as the social aspects of living in the apartment building. Alex has made friends and truly seems happy.”
When asked what he likes best about his new living arrangements, Alex replied that being able to make his own choices has been the best part. For example, he recently used his own money to purchase a brand-new video gaming system – something he has wanted for some time. “I used my money that I earned at my job,” he says
In addition to his sports and school, Alex has a part-time job at the University of Missouri through the Work Block program at Hickman High School. He attends regular school classes for part of the day and then completes his school afternoon by working in one of the dining halls on campus. He receives school credit for working in the community, along with a paycheck. Alex says he likes his job and hopes to continue working at MU in the future.
“Alex is very eager to learn new things,” says Karrie Mitchell, Site Supervisor at Team 3706. “He is full of energy and is always on the go. Additionally, Alex has made several new friends since moving in. It is exciting to watch him grow.”
With a bright future ahead of him, Alex is looking forward to going out for the high school track team this spring and attending some basketball games. He says his ultimate dream job would be to play professional football, but he would also enjoy coaching basketball or soccer. “I would be happy with either one,” he says. “But playing football would be the best.” Now that he’s receiving the services and supports that he needs, there is no doubt that Alex can tackle any obstacle that gets in his way.