Siaire Washington was a little kid with big problems. His parents had just split up, but there was much more.
“My mom had cancer around the time that my dad was in jail,” said Siaire. “My dad went to jail actually on my eleventh birthday.”
He remembers turmoil at school and confusion at home.
“I was gonna have more responsibilities at home and have to grow up kinda on my own,” said Siaire.
“He was probably angry, anxious and just kind of wondering how to make out different things and how life would probably turn out for him,” said his mother Marissa.
Marissa saw the stress and asked Siaire's pediatrician for help. He directed them to Odessa Brown's Mental Health Services.
Counselor Mark Fadool knew Siaire stood at a crucial turning point.
“A young kid in elementary school who's acting out because of all this pain,” said Fadool.
Importantly, the clinic puts no time limit on mental and emotional support for kids, seeing their young patients through whatever they face.
“Lots of kids are put in situations whether there's trauma, violence, drug abuse, food insecurity, housing insecurity, these are all the things we see every day here,” said Fadool.
With Mark Fadool, Siaire found a safe place to express and examine his emotions.
“He would just keep, would keep asking me to tell him about it, talk to him about, let my emotions come out,” said Siaire.
That outlet and the decision-making tools Siaire gained with Mark have turned into success at school and as a freshman football player at O'Dea. He's protected a classmate from bullying, built new friendships, and become even closer with his mom.
“She just keeps telling me that she's proud of me for getting on the right track and fighting even though all this stuff has happened to me,” said Siaire.
We asked Siaire’s mom Marissa what makes her proud. Her answer:
“Oh you're gonna make me cry. Oh you know just kinda how selfless he is,” said Marissa. “It's because he always thinks of other people before himself, and I love that about him.”
It could have turned out differently, Siaire knows that.
With Mark as a role model, he says he's learned an entirely new definition of manhood.
“You should speak your emotions, it takes a man to really tell somebody what he's feeling inside,” said Siaire.
“This transformation from him being labeled as a problem child to this amazing leader it's a real tribute,” said Fadool. “We believe, all of us, his family, myself, he's a leader, he has a lot of goodness yet to come.”
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