Vasti - a Jubilee REACH Site Coach at Lake Hills Elementary - got to know Bryan - a 3rd grader at Lake Hills - last year during our AM program at the Jubilee REACH Center. This school year, Bryan started climbing things and acting generally unsafe. At first, Vasti simply observed him, but eventually it became a problem. Instead of reprimanding Bryan, Vasti had a heart-to-heart with him, asking him why he was behaving that way. When he finally opened up to Vasti, she realized that Bryan was using climbing to cope with his emotions. He said that no one understands him, that he doesn't know his father, and that he wishes he was a normal kid with both a mom and a dad.
That’s when Vasti shared her story with him, being vulnerable and crying. She told him that she understands the pain and confusion and questions that come along with not knowing your father. She spoke of her dad, how she didn't know him for many years, and was only now building a relationship with him. She said she’s still learning how to cope with that, too. She shared that one of the most painful moments in her life was when she graduated from 5th grade and her dad didn't show up, and hasn’t shown up for any graduation since. She said she’s wanted to give up on him, but she's hoping that he shows up at her college graduation. Bryan started crying, and thanked Vasti for sharing her story with him. He now knows he can open up and talk to her.
Vasti still talks with Bryan on a daily basis about both of their feelings. He’s recently expressed that he doesn’t get to spend a lot of time with his mom, and he wishes that his mom would climb with him. Vasti took this opportunity to make a deal with Bryan. She told him that if he went a whole week without climbing anything, he could go to the rock climbing gym with her, and she would also invite his mom to join them. Bryan made it through the week, and the three of them went rock climbing. He loved it, and Vasti said it was wonderful to see the smile on his face when his mom saw how he excelled at climbing.
Now, thanks to Site Coach Vasti, Bryan received a scholarship through the City of Bellevue to rock climb for free at the South Bellevue Community Center anytime he wants. Vasti loved Bryan, she listened to what was important to him, and channeled what was becoming a dangerous activity into something safe, supervised and positive. Vasti is exemplifying the Jubilee REACH way!