Sean’s Story

NOTE: As of Feb. 29, 2024, Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC) has rebranded to Landmarks for Families. Our nonprofit, community programs and residential services remain committed to cultivating thriving youth and families in this new chapter.

From ‘At-Risk’ to Academic Success

16-year old Sean* came to CYDC more than a year and a half ago, the victim of neglect and alleged sexual abuse at the hands of his father. In foster care since he was 9, Sean’s mother had also struggled with drug addiction.

Sean playing Jenga with his mentor Zach Siegel in the Bakker Career Center.

When Sean first arrived at Charleston Emergency Shelter, the North Charleston High School (NCHS) junior was failing classes and labeled an at-risk student. At one point he was actually threatened with expulsion at school. Fortunately, Sean acknowledged his mistake and wrote a letter of apology to a school panel which allowed him to remain at NCHS.

With the encouragement of staff and a strengthened resolve, Sean seized this second chance and began to turn a corner. He brought up his grades, not only passing, but eventually making A/B Honor Roll. Now he is one of the top performers in his grade.

A ‘Positive Role Model’ to Other Kids

Residential staff describe Sean as displaying good leadership skills. He completed CYDC’s Leadership for Life job readiness and life skills training program, and was hired at Cici’s Pizza, where he has been employed for nearly a year.

Sean is dedicated to his job, working full-time during the summer and on weekends during the school year. He will drop everything to come into work when called in on his day off. Sean also takes initiative to wash and dry his uniform.

He’s generous and thoughtful, bringing home pizza and desserts from work to share with the other children. Sean even offers to buy things for staff and share his money with the other kids. On one occasion, one of the children in shelter couldn’t find their $10 allowance and Sean went into his own wallet and gave them $10.

“That’s the kind of person he is,” says CYDC Activities Counselor Pamela Chamberlain. “He’s really a positive role model with these kids. He’s like a big brother to the younger children.”

Sean’s mother has also turned a corner, and he currently sees his mom on weekend visits and is transitioning to return home and live with her, hopefully in time for the holidays.

Please donate to CYDC today and help us transform the lives of more youth in foster care such as Sean so we can give them the opportunity for a brighter tomorrow.

***UPDATE Since this blog post originally ran on November 23, Sean has been reunited with his mother in time for Christmas!!!

*Not his real name


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CYDC is now Landmarks for Families!

For more than 230 years, we have guided neighbors toward stronger, hopeful futures and now we’re evolving too. We’re grateful to enter this new chapter with you. Welcome to Landmarks for Families!