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AWARE Ink Newsletter

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Young man finds success as he transitions to adulthood with the help of AWARE

Updated: Aug 3


Success means something different to everyone. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time to get where you’re going. But if you stick with it, in the long run, you’re bound to achieve your goals.


Jean Lozard is one of those people who has found success during his time at AWARE.


He came on board when he was 11 years old and has been with us ever since. It’s safe to say that he’s made a lasting impression on everyone he works with.


“Everybody loves him,” AWARE Residential Service Director Jenn Wilhborg said. “He’s very charming to both kids and adults. He’s funny, caring and compassionate, and he loves music and dance.”


Jenn remembers the day Jean first came to an AWARE home. Unfortunately, the boy who is now a grown 18-year-old young man was in need of some mental health care after a failed adoption.


According to Jenn and AWARE Clinician Mindy Hayes, Jean was very anxious of the world and didn’t trust adults. He was always worried about when he would get fed and wouldn’t allow them to buy new clothes for him.


His anxiety, aggression and emotional outbursts made it hard for him to go to a full day of public school. He couldn’t go out in public. He couldn’t speak.


“He would only speak using Disney movie quotes,” Jenn said.


But as he engaged with treatment, attended speech therapy, occupational therapy and vocational rehabilitation, the scared boy who came to an AWARE home all those years ago has started to emerge as a confident independent young adult.


Success never smelled so sweet!


Proud of all that Jean has accomplished, Jenn and Mindy named many of his successes.


In May, Jean graduated from high school and received an outstanding student award. He is now working at Hardees providing janitorial services.


He’s been traveling a lot and taking part in Special Olympics. This spring he received second place in the softball long throw and track.


In June, Jean was discharged from his youth home as an adult and has fully moved into a new AWARE townhome with a new roommate. He even had the opportunity to name this new home, which he called Black Panther after his favorite superhero.


“Discharge was a big deal for him,” Jenn said. While his plan wasn’t necessarily clear, the day he learned he was going to be discharged, he exclaimed, ‘It’s finally my turn!’”


Jean received more good news as he was discharged from his youth home. A family happily chose to adopt Jean. This adoption allowed him to receive his Green Card as a full U.S. citizen. While he'll live on his own at the Black Panther home, his new family will provide support and welcome him home on holidays and birthdays.


Finally, Jean was nominated for AWARE’s Independent Spirit Award and accepted his award in person at the Corporate Congress Banquet in Billings.


As a person who has demonstrated substantial growth, faced major hurdles in his life and has overcome each one with overwhelming positivity, we all agree that Jean is well-deserving of the award.


Jean, we wish you congratulations and best wishes on your bright future!

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