You are invited

“Who are you?”

I am Mrs. Yoho, the new Principal. I hope we have a chance to get to know each other, Elijah.

As we began the year, I got to know Elijah well. He was in Foster Care, and his sister was in a different home. Elijah was angry, trauma was a big part of this little boy’s life, and we were planning to do all we could to help.

Elijah came to seek me out daily (multiple times). We had a behavior chart in place, a check-in and connect system. Sometimes he would walk into my office and, with no words, just come over to get a hug. I had a box full of treats always for kids to get snacks from when needed.

Elijah would run from the school and be out of control. I understood him. His world was so frustrating for him. It was hard to determine what would trigger outbursts, but they would come. “I want to be with my sister.” I know you do, Elijah.

Elijah and I would be separated for a short time, but I always checked on him. I even had opportunities to check on his sister in another school in our district. Elijah changed Foster homes for the final time and was making gains. He found his way to middle school with me.

I truly enjoyed each day as he continued to gain. His personality was charming. My little Elijah was winning the battle and succeeding. I was so proud of him. We were able to have many conversations over the years, and his new family had decided to adopt him. He was so excited. We talked about how wonderful things were for him.

Building relationships is essential to helping students in dealing with trauma. Talking with them to find out what they need is critical in finding solutions. Implementation of a plan with key people involved secures success. Our team did an excellent job!

“Mrs. Yoho, my mom wants me to give this to you. We want to know if you could come to the courthouse to be part of my adoption. It would mean a great deal if you could.”

I know my mouth had to be wide open. I could hear my words in my head but could not speak; I was in shock. Finally, I heard myself say; I will come to be part of this day. What an honor!

We all gathered in the courtroom as the judge made it official. Elijah was officially the son and brother. The new family was all smiles, tears, and hugs.

As I watched, I thought, this is why we do all of the “extra” things, stay late, design plans, review data, and the list goes on. All of those details are essential, but it is the relationships that are critical—a treasured memory for me.

Thank you for being part of the solution daily. We have so many educators, families and organizations helping! Many blessings to each of you in your continued efforts.

Published by Brenda Yoho

Christian,Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Aspiring Author, Motivator, Survivor, Leader, Coach, Mentor and a service agent living a life of purpose. Started my career in education as a teaching assistant, moved into the teaching role, followed by administration serving as Assistant Principal, Principal and Director of Educational Support Programs. Over my more than two decades of educational experience I have served as the Illinois Principals Association Illini Region Director and most recently as a mentor/coach for principals. In addition, I have presented at their conferences over the years. In my final years in administration I served also as the Illinois Association of Title Directors Vice President and Treasurer. I am a survivor of an indirect hit of lightning and an almost fatal accident with a semi truck that hit the car I was traveling in with my family. My daughter, granddaughter and close friend survived as well! My injuries were the most significant leaving lifelong damages.

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