The Making of a Leader

As 2019 and our 28th year of ministry draws to a close, we hope you know how much we appreciate your continued support. Without it, success story’s like John’s* would not be possible.

John is a teenager in The Zimmer Home. He’s shown so much improvement and growth this year that we haven’t been the only ones to notice. A teacher and his football coach recently expressed some encouraging things we’d like to share with you. 

First, Dr. Lara Dieckmann, a high school English teacher at Harrisburg High School, nominated John for a Top Dawg award this fall. Top Dawg awardees are students whom a teacher wants to recognize for their strong character traits. She had this to say at the award ceremony:  

“John has been a wonderful asset to our classroom community this year. He brings such humor and heart wherever he goes. He likes to joke around, but his jokes do not sting. He is warm and loving, and I appreciate the kinds of conversations we have had in the short time we have known each other. He is real. And he is willing to talk openly about his experiences and his feelings. I feel I have gotten to know John well in the few weeks we’ve worked together, and I like so many of his qualities. He is a special person who has defied the odds to become a strong, generous, kind young man with so much potential. You hear a lot about grit and perseverance in education. How it’s important to cultivate and how it is the answer to what ails us. John could have told you that, and I am heartened by knowing that others can learn from his ability to weather storms and come out on the other side with dignity and grace. I am glad to know him.”   

John played on the Harrisburg Bulldog’s football team this fall. Harrisburg’s Coach Steve Hopkins, who was named the Lewis and Clark Conference Coach of the Year, said this at the end of the season about John’s participation on the team: 

“John didn’t decide to play in time to do our pre-season weightlifting and training, which put him way behind when he signed up in August. Yet by our first game against Paris High, he was ready to substitute on offense and defense. Due to a string of injuries in that game, he had to start on the offensive and defensive line, even though he knew less than 10% of our offense.  This made the first game a difficult experience for him. Then when he reported to our trainer that his head hurt, he was placed on concussion protocol, which meant he couldn’t play for two or three weeks until he was completely cleared to play again. As a result, he was not a starting player at midseason, but he was rapidly learning and improving.

Harrisburg RVIII football 2019 |

“It was at this point that something ‘clicked’ and I think he really bought into the team concept. The success of the team became more important to him than whether he got a lot of playing time.  He began to really learn our offense and I think he began to trust the coaching staff.” 

Coach Steve Hopkins

“The final weeks of the season, John became a part time starter on defense and a key sub on offense. On November 1st, we played and won our first ever playoff game. It was against Paris, the team that defeated us in our first game!  For John, defeating the team that had ‘knocked’ him from the lineup in August was a real thrill and he enjoyed it greatly.  For our team, we had a six win, five loss season. For our young football program, it was the first time Harrisburg had won more than two games in one season.  John was a key part of that, and he now understands the commitment he’ll need to make during the school year and throughout the summer to help a team reach goals.  He became a coachable and enthusiastic teammate this season and finished on an upward trajectory.  I’m really proud of him!” 

John’s Home Parents, Cody and Amanda Cox, conclude, “John’s success and progress has been wonderful to watch. He’s been with us off and on over the past three years. He was angry a lot in the beginning and struggled to open up or interact well. Since John’s return to us about a year ago, we’ve seen a great deal of growth! Now he is consistently able to hold conversations, establish eye contact and he’s more open to talking about his thoughts and feelings. For example, John was able to recognize and tell us that the anniversary of his grandmother’s passing was approaching and it was probably going to be tough for him. He was able to show emotion and accept hugs in return.  John is much more respectful now than he has ever been.

John has evolved into a leader in the home, not complaining about things that he isn’t excited about, while defending our parenting methods when newer children are being critical. His former behavior challenges in school are now mostly nonexistent. That was affirmed when he won the Top Dawg award for his character and good attitude in the classroom. It’s a blessing to see the changes that have happened in John’s life.” 

Cody and Amanda Cox, Home Parents in The Zimmer Home

THANK YOU for your support that has allowed our children to succeed and thrive throughout our 28 years of ministry!

*name changed for sake of confidentiality

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