Horizons for Homeless Children: Christopher and DeJa

(NECN: Leslie Gaydos) - At first glance you would never know 5-year-old Christopher and his 4-year-old sister DeJa are homeless.

Their smiles, like the faces of all these children, mask the circumstances that brought them here in the first place.

“The family came to us to Horizons for Homeless Children in Sept. of 2013, while they were residing in a domestic violence shelter in Boston,” said Shelly-Ann Dewsbury, the children’s family advocate.

“When they initially started it was a little challenging because they had been out of child care for a little while, so their transitions were a little difficult, particularly for DeJa. Nap times were hardest for her, especially when that light went off, because of past experiences,” said Dewsbury.

DeJa was also aggressive with her friends and needed a lot of one on one time. Now she’s assertive.

DeJa is a little girl who knows what she wants and she's not afraid to tell you what she wants.

When Christopher arrived at Horizons, teachers noticed that he didn’t know how to engage with his peers.

He would play alongside them but not necessarily with them.

“Christopher, we are encouraging him to talk to his friends, use words, talk about how he feels to his teachers and his classmates. And they are both extremely verbal,” said Dewsbury. “They have made significant progress since they have been in our center.”

They like being here and they enjoy the camaraderie that they have with their friends and classroom teachers.

“It lightens my heart to see that they have a place where they feel comfortable. A place where they know no matter whatever else is going on around them, whatever else is happening in their life, outside of horizons, they know when they come here, that they are loved, that they will be fed, they will be clothed they will be comfortable and that they will not be hurt, that this is a safe place for them,” said Dewsbury.

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