How Old Are You?

Boys stick around

by Executive Director Wade Landers

It’s a simple question.

How old are you? 

The answer? Not so simple.

When boys first arrive at one of our houses in the Dominican Republic, they almost always answer with an older age than they really are—always trying to convince us that they are as close to age 18 as can be believed. 18 is the “magic” age. At 18, boys can choose to leave care facilities like ours at any time because they’re considered adults. They aren’t sure yet if they’ll like being in our home. Many have lived fairly independent lives, and have often been on the streets from an early age. They want to keep their options open. It’s understandable.

The longer they stay in the home, the more accurate the answer emerges. Sometimes, in just a matter of months, a boy’s age drops 2-3 years! They begin to realize that this is a good place. They aren’t in as big a hurry to leave as they first thought.

But even more important than how long they have been with us is how healthy they are becoming. The healthier they are, the younger they answer. We now have boys who actually try to convince us they are younger than they really are. They want to stick around longer, because this is more than just a good place. It’s becoming home. Here, they are not only safe. They are also growing into healthy young men.

Will you help more boys who need a safe, healthy place like Blackbox? Your donations are such a blessing, and we’re grateful for your partnership…because the story must change.

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