16-year-old changes life around Oasis Youth Shelter in Fort Myers

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FORT MYERS, Fla.-  “I never thought I’d make it this far. Thought I’d lose it along the line.”

For the last two months, 16-year-old Noah Powers has been living at the Oasis Youth Shelter.

It’s a temporary, emergency shelter, run by Lutheran Services, for kids 10 to 17 years old.
“They are truant, they can be ungovernable, not following rules at home, runaways, homeless,” said Shelia Dixon, a counselor at the shelter.

Powers was sent to the shelter, because he refused to go to school, among other problems.

“Substance abuse issues. He was staying in a van at his grand mom’s home, because he wouldn’t follow the rules at home,” said Patricia Gaudette, another counselor.

Counselors tells WINK News, they have a short amount of time, to get as much info as they can about all the kids who come in.

“There is always history involved and we have to get to the root of the cause of what’s happening,” said Gaudette.

The staff works to provide kids, and their families, with the right skills.

For Powers, that involved a lot of counseling alongside his father.

“I learned how to communicate better. That’s been something, be in touch with my feelings and communicate,” said Powers’ father, Roger.

“I’ve gotten out of it, it’s not really worth giving up on everything,” said Powers.

During their stay, the shelter works hard to make kids are comfortable.

“Get up, do hygiene, eat breakfast, do chores, go to school. Come home, get tutors twice a week,” said one of the counselors.

Powers got better at basketball and started attending Next Level Church.

He’s also attending classes to make up for the school he missed, and hopes to get back into public school next year.

“School is very important, and family is more important,” said Powers.

His father says “if you give up, you can’t grow up. We’re all becoming better persons for each other.”

Although a large majority of the kids who stay at the shelter are there because of problems at home, that doesn’t mean any family is eligible.There is a screening process, but if you think the shelter can help your family, call Lutheran Services at 239- 278-1140.

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