A Life Transformed

A Life Transformed

If ever there was a compelling illustration of the profound impact your support can have in transforming lives, it would be embodied in the remarkable journey of a young man named JI.

Before 17-year-old JI came to us here at Omaha Home for Boys, he was easily influenced by negative peer pressure. He was quick to engage in fights, had a substance abuse issue and said he was simply “on the streets going crazy.”

JI admits that he was also disrespectful at home, often yelling at his parents and disobeying their rules. He was quick to react negatively when something frustrated him.

School was a cause for concern as well. JI rarely went to class and fell severely behind in the number of credits needed to be on track to graduate high school. He had only earned eight of the 49 credits required to graduate.

Faced with gun charges and rejection by other group homes, JI was referred to our Residential Living Program, and what a transformation this young man would end up making!

When JI first came to our program, he had a somewhat slow start. He sat in the back of the classroom at our OHB School, uninterested and unmotivated. Skeptical about completing the program, he questioned its purpose, but JI slowly began to engage in discussion and was motivated by the self-paced curriculum that allowed him to earn school credits at an accelerated rate. He also found the small class sizes and the 1-on-1 instruction at our OHB School to be particularly helpful.

“They really pushed me to get as many credits as I can before I leave here,” said JI. “The teachers are really helpful and I’m really thankful for that.”

Beyond academic progress, JI underwent a profound shift in attitude and perspective as well. He became a much more positive person and acquired the resilience to resist negative peer pressure, a skill he has already put into practice.

“OHB helped me change my life,” said JI. “I turned myself around, became a positive person. I learned how to deal with frustration and how to deal with change.”

Today, you will no longer find JI sitting in the back of the classroom. He’s right up front where he can ask questions and participate in activities. He has even grown to become a positive, encouraging role model for his peers, inviting those students who are hesitantly sitting in the back of the classroom to come up front and join him.

“The growth that I have seen in JI is amazing,” said Carla Andreessen, Education Director at our OHB School. “English is JI’s second language, which makes for an added layer of challenges, but he has never given up. He works really hard.”

JI set a goal to earn ten school credits at OHB. He has surpassed that goal and now stands on the brink of becoming the first in his family to graduate high school.

The transformation in JI’s life, altering the trajectory of his future, was made possible through the generosity of our friends and supporters near and far. JI, once facing a future in jail, now stands as living proof that a changed life is indeed within reach.

“If I hadn’t come to OHB I would probably be still in jail right now,” shared JI. “I wasn’t thinking that I had a future ahead of me, but I completely changed my life.”


Like JI, many of the students who come to the OHB School are severely deficient in school credits. However, once enrolled at the OHB School, they begin to thrive in the classroom, earn school credits and even graduate high school. These positive changes cannot be achieved without you!