Young Men Program, Springfield
For all of us in Roca Springfield, Jovani is truly a special soul. Born in New York into an abusive home, Jovani was placed in foster care at a young age. After years of involvement with gang violence and multiple incarcerations, he needed to get away. Jovani moved to Springfield for a fresh start but ended up spending time in jail again for breaking and entering. After he got out, Jovani met Roca.
Not long in to the program, Jovani and his youth worker, Melvin, got into an argument. Jovani pulled out a knife. They spent the day sitting down to talk about the real issues behind his actions.
“It helped me learn who Melvin is now as a person. It helped me learn who I am as a person. I really wasn’t in touch with the emotional part of me,” Jovani says. A key to that, Jovani said, was Roca’s use of CBT – a Cognitive Behavioral Theory curriculum Roca developed to help participants learn about their feelings, thoughts, and actions. “In CBT we mostly spoke actually about anger. It helped me pinpoint when I get mad and how I’m going to control that.”
Jovani ran into trouble again around the time his daughter was born. But seeing her motivated him to work toward a better version of himself. Since coming back to Roca, Jovani enrolled in school and has been working in culinary. “They never gave up on me. They always pushed me to do better,” Jovani says of Roca.
“The person I was, it wasn’t who I wanted to be. It wasn’t who I was supposed to be. Roca helped me figure that out and see that for myself with my own eyes.”