Ali Afonja, COO of Family Restoration Services, was recently featured on the "What's Your Problem?" edition of the Hampton Roads Show. During this segment, FRS program participant Keith and his mother discussed how utiling FRS services, specifically the boxing program, has helped him avoid an ill-fated lifestyle after coping with the death of his older brother. Mr. Afonja reiterated how Family Restoration Services uses customized fitness plans, nutritional activities, therapeutic interventions and community partnering to curb negative attitudes and behaviors, ultimately changing the life course for many youth. Mr. Afonja also discussed other programs available to youth to help them explore their talents and dreams and to get them back on track to living a physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy lifestyle.
Karen Shelton and her family have been a part of the FRS family for a little more than a year and a half. Ms. Shelton has 3 sons, Malcolm Alex, and Makhale. Malcolm, 22 years old, is currently a senior at Kecoughtan High School. Despite battling with Angelman Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy, Malcolm is a happy and affectionate child with a wide variety of interests and an unsurpassed curiosity. Alex "Slick" Robertson, 16 years old, is an FRS participant who was referred to Family Restoration Services by the Family Assessment and Planning Team. Alex initially began working with FRS to help reach and maintain a healthy weight. Aside from fitness activities, Alex participates in the FRS Youth Media Arts program where he is developing his passion for music, specifically the drums. Alex currently plays the drums at New Bethel Cathedral Church of God in Christ. Alex is currently in the 11th grade at Phoebus High School. Alex's twin, Makhale "Rico" Robertson, is the keyboardist at their church. Makhale is in the 11th grade at Phoebus and plans to attend college and study music production. Ms. Shelton describes both of her boys as helpful and talented, emphasizing that both children are musicians, yet neither one has received any type of formal music lessons.
Mrs. Shelton expressed extreme gratefulness for how Family Restoration Services has impacted her and her children livelihood. She believes that both Alex and Makhale's have developed a sense of self-esteem and they are more outgoing, thus resulting in them developing and maintain healthy friendships.
Everyday I prayed for a family like this, that can hold me in times of trouble and truly celebrate when my mind is at bliss.
Everyday I have longed for people who will always be there for me, who would pick me up when I was down and be my walking stick when I could not see.
Everyday and every single day of my life I have searched for puzzle piece that I've been missing all this time.
Everyday I have ask for a family that I could actually call mine.
Everyday since the day I was born I've been robbed of a love that I can actually call real.
Everyday I have grown less and less able to express how I feel.
Everyday, every single day, a new tear formed from a wish that had yet to come true.
Everday was like night for me until I found you.
Everyday you were there when I needed you.
Everday you helped me do what I thought I couldn't do,
Everyday you helped me grow my wings and taught me how to fly.
Everyday you were my tissue when I wanted to cry.
Everyday you've help me to go against the odds.
Most importantly you've helped me grow closer to God.
Now everyday I have Joy because I have my family back.
Everyday I think of you because I have you to thank for that.
At the age of 16, my son fell into the trap that many young boys fall into such as drug use, being truant from school and generally getting into trouble. The only positive focus he had was boxing and the mentorship he got from Family Restoration Services. Not only did his boxing coach see his potential as a boxer he also saw someone who was going down the wrong path and headed to a life of crime and hopelessness. The staff at Family Restoration Services invested countless hours to guide my son away from drugs and also encouraged him to stay in school. Without the help of Family Restoration Services, I know I would have struggled to keep my son away from drugs. In my opinion, they went over and above what other agencies would have done. My son was surrounded with boxer's who have had similar experiences in their lives and this has seemed to have had a positive effect on him. Needless to say my son's boxing ability has progressed to the point that now he has a new found confidence that was not apparent before. This program doesn't just offer great boxing training, it also teaches common courtesy, humility and respect. This agency has really helped to turn my son's life around.
I am a single mother of two. Me and my children are overweight. With the demands place upon me daily its really difficult for me to make the healthiest food choices. We usually eat fast food and frozen foods. When my case manager first referred me to Family Restoration Services to work with their nutritionist, I was a little a defensive and I had no idea what to expect. To my surprise the staff at Family Restoration Services was kind and courteous. They helped me put together a grocery list that was not only healthier but also worked within my very tight budget. Family Restoration Services staff was able to talk with me and my children about our diets and make simple changes that has given us more energy and helped us to loose weight.. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Family Restoration Services for your time and support to help us be healthier. I feel better about the direction that we are headed in.
I have had the pleasure of collaborating and developing a program with Ali and Stephanie Afonja. Their fidelity and commitment to their community and the family's they provide services to is second to none. It is rare that you find two people who truly gets what it takes and does whatever it takes to mend and restore broken families. Their holistic approach to treatment and the diversity of their services truly sets them apart from the rest. They are able to offer a full array of wraparound supports. It is no surprise that they are emerging as one of the best child and family service agency's in the Hampton Roads Area.
It is truly a blessing to be able to work for such a great organization. Family Restoration is organized, respectful to its staff and sets high standards for its services and service providers. FRS allows different learning opportunities to its staff and takes every opportunity to appreciate staff efforts and competencies. It has been a pleasure to grow with this agency and I look forward to our continued growth. What I like most about FRS is that it really puts the needs of children and families first and develops plans of care that meets the need. They believe in the family structure and promote family and wellness in all aspects of the business. They even motivate us, the staff, to live healthier, and more fit lives. I have truly grown as a person, clinician and in my responsiveness to the families in the community which I reside. I thank God for the opportunity to provide a service through this agency.