What students have to say ...

When students complete their time within the Weekend Alternative Program, we have a brief graduation for them. Sometimes, they have some powerful remarks about their involvement in the program. Below are some of those remarks:

March 10

“Exactly 14 weekends ago I came to the Diakon [Weekend Alternative] Program; I was given 10 weekends. My first five weekends I was disrespectful, non-compliant, judgmental and had a lack of communication skills, I ended up failing those weekends.

“BuI I was given another chance to get myself together and come back with a positive attitude; my 6th weekend I passed, I came in with a positive attitude and did what I had to do to prove that I wanted to change and that I was going to try; my 7th and 8th weekends I also passed. I was opening up more in each group and giving staff a little more detail about myself so they could have a better understanding of other things that can help me.

“But my body language and the way I communicated with peers and staff was still off and I needed to work on that. My 9th weekend I failed. I ended up getting upset about a situation that I could have handled in a different way but I did not stop and think, which led to a poor choice that got me suspended from the weekend program.

“During the time of suspension I continued to work on my goals with respect, communication, body language, trust, self-esteem, and how to allow other people to talk before jumping to conclusions. I learned how to bite my tongue in situations. I learned to listen until someone is done talking before I interrupt with what I have to say, so there is no miscommunication.

“I learned to have more positive body language. I also learned to ask more questions so there isn't any misunderstanding and better communication. I learned to stop and think before every situation and realize the outcome and the consequences I would have for every negative action I chose to make. I learned in every situation some things are better left unsaid and that sometimes using ’I statements’ can help the other person feel less as if the blame is being put on them or feel bad about themselves.

“I learned that sometimes you have to give to get and sometimes you have to sacrifice everything to complete your goals. I learned that every choice you make you choose to make and there are always two sides to each choice, a positive and a negative and it is your choice whether you want to choose the positive or the negative. I've always chose the negative and it feels better to choose the positive!

“I feel I have gotten better with all of my goals and I notice an improvement in the way I act, talk to my peers and staff and the way I carry myself. Plus, I find it harder to get angry in certain situations I allow people to finish talking before I say what I have to and I make sure to ask questions. I would never have been able to do this without Diakon’s help. At first, I thought [the program] wouldn't help me and that I didn't have to change anything, but the program did help me notice the things I needed to change and helped me change them.

“No one wants to be here and at first I didn't either but you are here and it's no one's fault but your own. Every choice you made led you to the situation you are in ... you can look at [being in WAP] as I'm already here. I'm going to get it done and do what I have to do so I can make an improvement ... but you can't just do it just to do it; you have to do it because you want to! ... Why not do what we have to do ... [so] that you can have a better future. 

“I have been in 14 different places to RTF and 97 foster homes; I have failed at all of them and I did not last long and every home I was in I never wanted to help nor did I think I needed it or ever felt like I had to. I never wanted to try and I never felt good enough, [but] with the help from Diakon I am proud to say after 7 years of unsuccessfully being discharged and bouncing from place to place I have finally successfully graduated from a program.

“... I will continue to work on my goals and try to help others around me. I will continue to look at every situation in a different way and work harder and harder to make myself a better person. So no matter how hard your life is or how bad it may seem ... down the road you will be thankful for all the help you have gotten and ways you have proved yourself, as I did. I am proud of myself for doing so.

“My life goal [is] to finish probation without any violations, graduate from high school by not sleeping in school or getting physically aggressive or verbally aggressive, push myself to do better each and every day, and to find motivation and work so I can make up credits to graduate, then get a job and work during the summer to stay out of trouble and save for a car ... so that I can be independent, go to college and get my degree to work with kids who have troubles at a young age and share what I went through to help them.”