Maxine Nelson had always put family first, so she didn’t think twice when it came to deciding that she and her husband would become the primary caregivers of their 10-year-old great-grandson, Da’Kendrik.
Da’Kendrik was nearly alone in the world. His mother passed away when he was 6, and his father was never really involved in his life. His grandparents were also deceased.
The Nelsons did the best they could to raise Da’Kendrik, but when Maxine’s husband passed away, it caused tremendous financial and emotional hardships for the 83-year-old and her great-grandson. She also lost her home of 40 years to foreclosure, and she and Da’Kendrik found themselves without a permanent place to live.
After seven months of living in substandard housing, the family’s plight eventually came to the attention of Boys Town Central Florida and Family Consultant Janae Moore.
Moore’s first order of business was to contact local organizations that could help Maxine and Da’Kendrik find permanent housing. Then, Janae helped negotiate a reasonable rent. Meanwhile, a helpful neighbor, Chloe, contacted friends, families and churches about supporting the family with basic funds so they could get back on their feet. She also recruited people to move and unload the family’s belongings that were in storage.
Besides helping with everyday living necessities, Moore addressed Da’Kendrik’s special needs by meeting with him weekly and teaching him the skills he needed, such as proper manners, staying calm and keeping promises.
Moore also took special pride in helping Maxine acquire health insurance for Da’Kendrik, who had never been to the dentist and had begun having toothaches.
As she built trust with Da’Kendrik, Moore could see him begin to show social improvement. She arranged for a counselor to work with him on coping with the loss of loved ones. She also suggested enrolling Da’Kendrik in swimming lessons, so Chloe signed him up and took him to the local YMCA twice a week.
For Moore, seeing the progress Maxine and Da’Kendrik have made makes her job worthwhile.
After all, keeping a family together is a beautiful thing.