2016 ANNUAL REPORT  |  5 4 | HANNA BOYS CENTER HANNA BOY LAGREG I never met my dad, but my grandfather, my Pa-Pa, was like a dad to me. He taught me about the blues and jazz. He took me out to Alameda to see the airplanes and warships. We used to do a lot of things together when I was little. I’m the only man at home — it’s just me, my mom and my four sisters. My Pa-Pa passed away in 2012. I really miss him. Before I came to Hanna, I was always the joker, the class clown. I would do anything to get attention. I started messing up, not going to school, smoking weed. I argued with my mom and sometimes would walk out and just not come back. Pretty soon my grades got so bad I was expelled. My mom found out about Hanna Boys Center from a coworker. It sounded like a good opportunity so I applied. To be honest with you, my first few months were rocky. It took me a while to realize that I had to want to change. The other boys here were trying to manipulate me and push my buttons. But the staff were really helpful in teaching me how to control my anger. One way I do that is by keeping busy. I’ve had several jobs on campus from washing pots in the kitchen to working in the Health Center to helping keep the equipment in the gym nice and clean. Then I got an outside internship working at the Sonoma Ecology Center. My boss saw how hard I worked and complemented me. Nobody’s ever done that before. I’m not going to lie; I’ve had some setbacks. One time I let my anger build up and got in a huge fight with another kid. I ended up in juvenile hall — for a month! That was the turning point for me, when I realized I really wanted to change. I was never going back there. When I got back to Hanna, I made amends with the boy I’d punched. But more important, I learned how to express my feelings in better ways. I’m confident that I have the skills to handle myself better now. I have to let my feelings out, and Hanna has showed me a better way to do that. Even my mom and I have a better relationship now. For the first time, I can tell her how I feel. When I visit home, I’m like the man of the house now, not a kid. I love my sisters, too, and want to be a role model for them instead of the messed up kid I was before. Of all the things I like about Hanna, I’m most grateful for the love. The time and the love the staff give you. Everyone. It’s amazing. “Of all the things I like about Hanna, I’m most grateful for the love.”