05.24.2017

‘In the Face of Adversity, He Never Gives Up’

By Laycee Weier, Treehouse Educational Advocate

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This school year, I had the pleasure of working with Marcus, a 17-year-old junior in high school. Marcus is a very talented athlete and excels on his high school’s track and field team. He is fortunate to have many adults in his life who love and care for him, like his friend’s parents who recently opened up their home to let Marcus stay when he needed a place to live. Marcus’s aunt Jamie also is very involved in his life—both as an advocate for him in school and as his chauffer to many after-school activities.

Recently, I got a call from Jamie asking for support with an issue Marcus was facing in school. Due to lack of credits, Marcus’ school would not let him participate in the spring track season. It was understandable that Marcus was behind in credits. Before attending his current school, Marcus had been incarcerated, in and out of group homes, and on the run often. He also had learning disabilities which made school even more challenging. With his new placement at his friend’s home, he was finally attending high school for the first time.

I decided to meet up with Marcus to learn more about the support he needed. Immediately, I was inspired by his tenacity. He told me he would do whatever it took to make up the credits he needed and that he would work very hard to be able to participate in track. Sports were a huge motivation for him to stay focused on school, and I saw how important it was to him that he participate. Beyond joining the team, I told him I wanted to see him catch up in credits and earn his diploma. He agreed and I got to work.

I started attending Marcus’ school meetings with Jamie and advocated that he be able to participate on the track team. I even wrote a letter to the school board on his behalf. In part, it read: “Marcus left his group placement because he felt unsafe. He went on the run because he felt he had nowhere else to go. During this time he was not enrolled in school. However, school was important to him, and he attempted to log in to his online courses to finish them. Marcus has proven in the face of adversity, he never gives up. He works hard to accomplish passing his classes despite learning challenges. Sports are Marcus’ motivation to continue his hard work in school.”

A short while later, Jamie called me to share some great news. The school committed to working with Marcus to to get his credit situation worked out and granted him permission to participate in track. Marcus has some work to do to make up his credits, but he now has a plan for graduation and the motivation to get there. I am so proud of Marcus. I plan to attend one of his track meets to see him in action!

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About the Author

As a Treehouse Educational Advocate, Laycee Weier, MSW, collaborates with schools, social workers, foster families and youth in foster care to resolve difficult issues and remove barriers to kids’ school success. Prior to joining Treehouse she worked with high school youth at an alternative high school helping at risk students stay on track to graduate and worked with foster youth as a practicum student at Children’s Administration. Since 2009 she has participated with her local Juvenile Justice Center as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). Laycee has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Social Work which helps her to bring a unique set of skills to advocacy.


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