Helping Teenage Boys Find Their Path

The Barton family tragically lost their grandson to violence in 2010 when he was only 16. That experience left Jennifer more determined than ever to help children like her grandson not just survive, but thrive.

Love and understanding

“Sometimes, these teenagers, all they need to know is that somebody really cares about them,” Jennifer added. “What makes it easier for me is realizing that I was a teenager once. You just have to know how to talk to them and how to relate to them and understand where they came from.”

The boys she works with don’t always open up right away, but with patience and respect Jennifer and her husband Wilbert are able to earn their trust. They feel rewarded when the boys confide in them and they see them begin to reach their goals.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jennifer focused on teaching the boys in her home independent living skills, including exercise, nutrition and cooking healthy dishes such as shrimp vegetable stir-fry. With Jennifer and Wilbert’s support, they did well and supported one another in the difficult quarantine time.

Support that spans generations

Jennifer always hoped for a son. Now she’s had over 20, many of whom still stay in contact to wish her a happy birthday or introduce their own children.

“These young men, young boys, they want to feel like they’ve got a family. They want to feel loved.”

I got a real tender heart for teenagers, specifically boys, because things happen and, my husband and I, we like to try to deter them from a negative future, try to stop them from going down the wrong track. Jennifer Mentor Foster Parent

Become a foster parent

Children in our therapeutic foster care programs live with caring foster parents we call Mentors. Mentors give children more than just a safe home. They give them the loving support they need to heal and thrive.

Learn About Becoming a Foster Parent

Every person has the right to live well.

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