2016 ANNUAL REPORT | 11 10 | HANNA BOYS CENTER HANNA STAFF BROOKE COLLEGE APPLICATIONS Plant seeds, water them, nourish them, protect them from the elements and then anxiously watch them sprout and grow. I’ve been at Hanna Boys Center for nearly 20 years now and that pretty much sums up what I do. I work with our boys to plant a garden of tomorrows that will bloom and blossom for years to come. What makes my work so special and rewarding is the relationships I develop. I help each boy learn about opportunities and options he wasn’t aware of. I coach him to be a better communicator, to build social awareness, to develop meaningful relationships. Some of them are eager and ready to put in the effort needed; some aren’t quite there yet — but I’m here for them all. And when it works, it’s amazing. I help manage a department called Follow-On. It’s a relatively new program at Hanna, although we’ve been doing much of this work for many years. It’s all about building bridges that will help our boys transition to the outside world — to college, vocational school, internships — wherever is next for them. Before we created the Follow-On department, a lot of boys would get lost after graduation. Revert to old behaviors and patterns, return to bad relationships and unhealthy environments. They would forget what they had worked so hard to achieve at Hanna and find themselves in trouble again. Follow-On gives them the tools and support they need to continue to soar, including college and trade school scholarships, career counseling, personal guidance, internships and life skills. I’m proud to have helped design this program and to do the exciting work of helping our boys move beyond Hanna. I started here as a youth counselor in one of our cottages. I made sure the boys were healthy, eating, getting to school, going to their sports activities, being taken care of and listened to. It was exhausting but enormously rewarding. But after 11 years I wanted to do more, which is how I transitioned into Follow-On. I think we are more effective with the boys when we respect and are honest with them, and some times that means getting tough too. They can feel when someone really cares about them and what happens to them. For our alumni, when they get lost or need help with redirection, it’s great that they always have the Follow-On team to come back to. I’m really excited about the future here. For seven decades, we’ve been helping about 100 boys at a time through our residential program; now, with the new Hanna Institute, we have an opportunity to help thousands of young people all over Northern California and beyond. I can see how the work we are doing with other community groups will directly benefit the boys living here, providing new resources and connections that weren’t available to them before. I feel blessed to be here. Playing a key role in helping our boys transition into healthy, successful young men is something that gives me enormous pride and satisfaction. It’s a big world out there and I want them to know without a doubt that Hanna will always be a place they can call home. This year more Hanna boys applied for colleges than any year in recent memory and the number of acceptances was also at a record high. Here are some of the schools our boys applied to thanks to the support of the Follow-On department.