Parent Letters: A New Persepective from an Ombudsman Employee (Camden, Ga.)

Date: May 24, 2013

I want to take a few moments to tell you about my son Trey (Roy Michael, III). Trey is 16 years old, is in the tenth grade, and has struggled academically since he was in middle school. He did okay academically, but was barely passing most classes and standardized tests.

Now I will be the first to admit that Trey also has a tendency to be rather lazy and unmotivated, and does not always apply himself. He’s heard the “it’s not that you CAN’T DO as much you don’t WANT TO” lecture from me and his mom many times. For several years we attributed this attitude to just being a teenaged boy. However, as he entered high school, the increased social and academic pressures exacerbated his struggles. He wasn’t doing badly academically, but was barely keeping up. If it were not for band and the numerous benefits of being involved in such an organization he probably would have fared much worse.

At end of the first semester of his sophomore year (December 2012) his impulsiveness and immaturity led to a situation that resulted in his a one semester placement with Ombudsman at our Camden South center. Initially, he was not happy with this, but slowly came to realize that it was actually a blessing in disguise. Everything about Ombudsman fit his needs to a tee; the schedule, the lack of socialization pressure, the increased help and attention from teachers, the ability to work at his own pace, I could go on and on. All of that, combined with a wonderful staff who truly did everything they could to help him be successful, led him to the decision that Ombudsman was not only good for him, but is where he wants to stay until he graduates.

The only problem with that is the fact that music is his life and passion. As his dad I would naturally say that he is an incredible drummer, but as a musician myself and veteran music educator, I can honestly say that he is truly amazing behind the drums. He not only demonstrates great skill, but has an understanding and perception of emotion in music that is common only in the most talented individuals. With all of that being said, he plans to return to his home school for the upcoming Fall semester (so that he can participate in marching band), but will then return to Ombudsman in the Spring of 2014. We like to think of it as “the best of both worlds;” a “win-win” situation.

As an OES employee for seven years I have witnessed many times over the effectiveness of our program in helping struggling students be successful. I began my school counseling career in an alternative school and quickly developed a love and passion for helping at-risk students. Over the past 5 months I’ve witnessed this from a new perspective: the parent of an OES student, and can truly testify to how Ombudsman does much more than just give students an alternative route for completing their education; Ombudsman changes lives. Trey’s report card for this semester is the best he’s ever had. He earned a total of 6 credits (one of which was credit recovery of a course he did not pass 1st semester), and his self-esteem is higher than it’s been in years. Because of Ombudsman, my child has joined the ranks of thousands of other students across the country who have found new hope for their future.

– Mike Rainey


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