Crucial Moments Created a Turning Point in a Young Man's Life

Crucial Moments Created a Turning Point in a Young Man's Life

What makes a young man change? How does a rebellious, surly teenager grow up to be an open, friendly, and hardworking young adult?

For Chad Eagal, several incidents combined to give him a wake-up call and make him decide to turn his life around.

Like so many other young people that come to Youth For Tomorrow, Chad’s early years were filled with family disruptions that left him angry and suspicious of adults. His rebelliousness, fighting, and troubles in school landed him in one juvenile facility and then in Youth For Tomorrow. Once at YFT, he figured he’d play the game and go home in a couple of months. This was just to get him used to being in a family, he thought.

“After three months, I asked ‘when am I going home?’” he recounts. “They told me I had to complete the program, that there were more issues I needed to talk about. I didn’t like that much.”

He became rebellious again. He ran away, and he got in fights. He was locked up in juvenile detention center for a month, and was told that YFT would not take him back.

Then something happened that changed things. While Chad was appearing  before a judge, YFT’s  Director of Counseling  Terry Tinsley showed up.

“He told me he wanted me to come back. He said I had potential. I’d never believed that.”

On his return to YFT, Chad met with CEO Dr. Gary Jones. During the meeting Chad revealed that all his things had been taken by some kids.

“Dr. Jones said he would work it out. If I needed something, I should tell him. Although I wouldn’t admit it at the time, that really touched me,” Chad says. “He didn’t need to do that.”

“I started to look the world in a different way. I started thinking about where I wanted to be in five years. I wanted to graduate on time.”

He turned to YFT Guidance Counselor Jean Jones, who got him the books so that he could combine some of his classes and get caught up. “And she answered any questions that I had.”

Several other staff members also helped him. “Chris Gordon and Brandon Hoffman—they really had a big impact on me. They really had made something of their lives—they had nice clothes, a place to live. It means a lot to kids that are there to see that you can go from being troubled and having issues and turn yourself into a successful member of society.” “A lot of people haven’t grown up like we have and they try to tell a troubled teen that they’ve been there. I want to hear from some- one who really has. It makes a tremendous difference,” he says.

He remembers also Willie Washington, who introduced him to carpentry. Chad helped build a deck on one of the residences. He drove the tractor and cut grass and learned some skills that would help him when he left the youth home.

In 2005, Chad successfully completed the residential program and graduated from the YFT high school. He started working in landscaping and then in a remodeling business, doing basements, baths, and even a coffee shop. Recently he started working for Benfield Electric, doing maintenance and repair on home generators. He is busy and he loves his job.

Chad is now looking into going to school to become an electrician. He is applying for a scholarship from YFT. He will get help from the company he works for to find out exactly what he needs to know to achieve his goal.

He soon will be 25. “I’ve had a hard life. I pretty much had to grow up on my own. But I would not be where I am today without Youth For Tomorrow. The man I am today is because of the people at YFT and my parents. I made mistakes, but they said, ‘this is what you did wrong. You need to learn from it.’”

“I’ve been other places, and I would never recommend any other place. They might be okay, but they are not uplifting and caring like YFT. YFT is an awesome, awesome place.”

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