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Helping Zeke gain self-confidence

At Step Up Ventura, we are fortunate to be able to serve children and their families

experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. Below is one example of how we help provide our children the skills and tools to succeed.


Five year-old Zeke has had difficulty getting along with others. After being in unstable housing, he has become possessive of toys and rebellious against rules. When our Step Up Ventura worker arrived on the playground one day, it had already been a rough day for Zeke. He had dumped sand on a classmate's head, pulled leaves off of a low-hanging tree branch and pushed a peer, each time being complained about by peers and reprimanded by teachers.


Appearing to be mad at everyone, Zeke was now busily shoveling sand out of the sandbox onto the sidewalk, something he knew he wasn't supposed to do. Our worker offered Zeke a choice to get the sand back in the box by himself or having help. Initially, Zeke protested loudly, telling the worker to "GO AWAY!"


Our worker stayed close by, gently talking about how frustrated Zeke seemed to be but also what a strong and capable boy he was. The worker assured Zeke that he was smart enough to figure out which choice was best for him. Eventually, Zeke chose to have someone help him and the worker assisted him in finding friendly words to use to ask for help.


Zeke got the big broom and with a little help, swept all the sand back into the sandbox. Our worker exclaimed, "You did it!" and Zeke smiled, pleased with himself.


At Step Up Ventura, we can see Zeke gaining self-confidence and the skills that will help him be successful when he goes to kindergarten this fall.

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