Oleksandr has been with us almost two years, and we are very encouraged by the amazing progress that he has made. This past Saturday, here on the Youth-Reach campus, we celebrated two milestones in his young life. First, he wanted to be baptized, and though the water in our pond is February-cold, he and Curt Williams braved the frigid water where he was baptized in the company of many friends and family. Then we returned to the Stage One home where the staff had prepared a wonderful meal to celebrate Olek’s graduation from high school.
Olek has overcome many obstacles in his life. Born in Ukraine and challenged by several health issues, he was adopted from an orphanage by an American family at 16 years of age. Less than a year later, due to the many issues related to his childhood and the hard work of adjusting to life in the States, he came to Houston and to Youth-Reach.
When he arrived, what struck us was his very limited English vocabulary and his near total negativity regarding nearly every facet of life. He could not imagine having a successful life and his pessimism had him paralyzed.
So, the fact that he has now completed high school is a beautiful testimony to the persistence and tenacity of the Youth-Reach staff and the willingness to learn and change within Olek.
He is a pretty determined young man, and our greatest battle was channeling that stubbornness into productive pursuits. Needless to say, we are very proud of him and we are excited to have a front-row seat to watch the next chapter in his life unfold.