Connecting Youth to Employment – Kaleb & Brian

Connecting Youth to Employment: Kaleb & Brian

At 17, Kaleb was shot as he was walking in the North End of Hartford. Peacebuilder Brian Evans met Kaleb the day of the shooting in the emergency room. While the hospital staff dealt with Kaleb’s medical trauma, Brian focused on the emotional trauma. Kaleb recov-ered from his physical injuries but healing from the emotional trauma he suffered proved to be more challenging.

Living with trauma is living in a constant state of fear; your brain is in a continuous “flight state.” Trauma equals fear that won’t turn off. Think of being on a roller coaster; you are constantly looking for the next scary turn, big drop, or even an upside-down loop. Now imagine if you were on that roller coaster 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Would you have the ability to learn? Would you have the ability to grow? Would you be able to make appropriate decisions?

Kaleb’s fear led him to access a gun for protection, which led to his detention in the Man-son Youth Institution. While Kaleb was in the Institution, Brian kept connected to him. They slowly built a trusting relationship.

Kaleb attended weekly life skills classes and restorative circles. Brian used a form of Cognitive Behavior Theory specifically designed for high-risk youth.

Upon his release, Kaleb continued to work with Brian developing the skills he needed to live a productive life. Here is how Kaleb describes the relationship:

Ever since I’ve known Brian, he has been a big help to me and a lot of other youth. He is a father figure to the kids and also a mentor that gives guidance. Brian helps me understand the conse-quences of my actions; he helps me see the good you can get out of things rather than the bad. Even outside of the group, Brian has been one call away for me, and I’ll forever appreciate him.

We always talk about understanding, how to be better, and right from wrong. We also talk about real-life situations and how they can lead to success or failure. Brian has helped me become the man I am today and is helping me become the man I want to be in the future.

I am training to be a machinist and already have a job where I will be earning good money and be able to help support my family.

Read more about how COMPASS Peacebuilders help Hartford’s youth