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Preparing for Life Essential to Robert

March 30, 2010

By W. James Edminson

Nineteen-year-old Robert has the skillet on the stove. He cracks two eggs into a bowl and swirls them around with a fork, whipping them before pouring them into the hot pan.

“I cook once a week in the cottage,” Robert says. “I like corn, and I cook hamburgers and hot dogs. Nothing too complicated.”

Robert lives in Bright-Brown Cottage on the Mills Home campus in Thomasville.

“I make mac and cheese from scratch,” he adds. “I cook good baked mac and cheese”

Robert is part of Baptist Children’s Homes transitional living service. The new service is helping teens like Robert prepare for the future. He is learning many of the skills he needs to live a successful adult life.

“I’m learning to budget my money and pay my bills,” he says confidently. “I used to spend everything I earned; now I am saving.”

Robert learned the hard way the importance of not spending all of the money he earns.

“You learn you can’t spend everything. You may need it!” he says. “It’s an important lesson – I wish I had learned it a long time ago.”

Robert credits using direct deposit as the key. “That helps a lot. I used to cash my check and spend the money. Now it goes straight into my account.”

Robert works part time, but his focus is on becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). He recently became a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).

“You have to be caring and patient to be a good CNA,” he says. “You do a lot of things to help people. You got to help them get up out of bed and sometimes you help feed them.”

Robert feels he is on the right track. He hopes to work in a hospital or nursing care facility.

“I have applied for some CNA jobs in the area, but nothing yet,” he says. “It’s hard to break into the job market.”

He attends the local community college in the mean time. He is meeting some class requirements before beginning the LPN program.

The Thomasville native has lived at Mills Home for three months. He moved from New Jersey when he was three to live with his grandmother.

“If I wasn’t living here, I would be struggling,” Robert says. “This is a great opportunity because I am learning how to be more independent.”

Robert values having a place to live and people who care about him. He credits his staff for helping. He feels he can talk to them and they listen.

“I have the help I need while I work to become the person I want to be,” he admits. “Being here is giving me the time I need to get ready to go out on my own.”

Robert’s Baked Mac & Cheese

8 oz. cooked elbow noodles
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheddar

Cook pasta in salted water until firm.
Empty into baking dish
Stir in flour & add pepper
Add milk & cheese
Bake in 350 degree pre-heated oven for 30 minutes