The coolest thing I saw: A bird in Florida
If I could do anything, I would: Play basketball
When I grow up, I want to be: A professional basketball player
Something funny about me: I can make funny faces
Favorite Food Shrimp
The coolest thing I saw: The beach
If I could do anything, I would: Swim and play football
When I grow up, I want to be: A rapper
Something funny about me: I can make people laugh
Favorite Food: Chili
FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF THEIR FATHER, brothers Atlantis and Amir spent much of their young lives being shuffled through the foster care system. After years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of another family member, the boys had endured more pain than most. The brothers were eventually placed in the custody of their Aunt Juanita, who was committed to getting her nephews the help they needed.
At the tender age of six, Atlantis had already reached his breaking point. Even after being released into the custody of his Aunt, he continued to struggle with his emotions. He suffered from swift mood swings and sudden violent outbursts – usually without warning. By the time Atlantis and his Amir came to St. Joseph Orphanage, Atlantis had fully retreated into himself. Staff watched as he struggled to connect with other children. Participating in group activities proved to be too much, so his teachers began working with him one-on-one.
After months of encouragement and therapy, young Atlantis ﬁnally began to emerge from his shell. “Watching my nephew literally begin to bloom in front of my eyes is something I’ll never forget,” recalls Juanita. “I felt like I was witnessing a miracle.” Now 11-years-old, Atlantis continues to thrive. He participates in class, loves anything to do with construction, and continues to improve in school.
Like his older brother, Amir spent much of his early years battling his own emotions. When he was ﬁve, he often had a difficult time communicating with others. To those around him, it was almost as if Amir was living in another world deep inside his own head. The more he struggled to express himself, the more destructive he became. He soon stopped trying altogether – until he met the team at St. Joseph Orphanage.
Over the course of the following year, both the staff and his aunt worked closely with Amir to improve his reading and writing skills. Even when encountering frustrating setbacks, both sides refused to give up. “It was hard,” Juanita admits. “But any time there was a problem, St. Joe’s was right there, and we handled it as a team.” Although he still occasionally struggles to verbally articulate his needs, ten-year-old Amir continues to work hard and is looking forward to transitioning into Cincinnati Public Schools in the fall.