Vince’s View: Akia’s Path to Faith and Football

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Faith and football are two things which describe Akia’s life as a running back for the Waller Bulldogs.  He is a senior this year and strives to balance sports, a part-time job and homework. Life before Boys and Girls Country was chaos for this young man. “I was skipping school, failing my classes and getting into fights.  There are 182 days of school, and I spent 112 days on In-School Suspension (ISS).  Things were so bad I was failing gym class,” says Akia.  Life was not easy when he first came to BGC. He was defiant and angry, but our counseling services provided the help he desperately needed.

The beautiful thing about Boys and Girls Country is that things do not stay the same. We want to see our kids thrive and achieve new heights. Akia has wonderful Teaching Parents, Steven and Adrianne Madden, who have walked with him through the valleys of his journey. They are the constant mentors in his life.  According to Akia, “My Teaching Parents keep it real with me.”

People often thank Boys and Girls Country for “changing the lives of children.”  Truthfully, we do not change anybody.  We give children the opportunity and resources to make changes.  We provide a safe and secure environment where Teaching Parents can help guide and mentor young lives.  Akia has made these changes, and we celebrate his many victories.

Akia’s Christian faith has also inspired many of his peers as he attends weekly Bible Study at BGC. He has volunteered at several youth events and has been asked to share his testimony at a youth retreat in December.  Akia plans to step up and share how the power of God has changed his life! He will remind his fellow students, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). Before coming to BGC, Akia was considered a “runner” or a “flight risk” because he ran away from home many times. The good news is that he is still a “runner.”  But, he is now running to Christ and running to pursue his dreams as a young man filled with hope and purpose.

Thank you for standing with Akia with your generous support. His story starts with your financial gift which gives us the opportunity to help children from families in crisis.  My five year-old son, Lucas, recently earned two dollars for completing some chores around the house.  He was excited and anxious to put the money into his empty wallet.  One hour later he came back and gave me the two dollars.  I said, “Lucas, what are you doing?  This is your money.” He said, “Dad this is for all my friends at Boys and Girls Country because I love that place.” I cannot think of any better way to describe Boys and Girls Country – a haven for children built by friends who love this place.