The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Good listeners

Lutheran agency mentors troubled youth in Virginia

"Scott is a great guy to hang out with. We throw a football, go to the movies and play basketball. [With him] I’ve changed a lot for good. I used to have a temper and I’m still working, trying to control it.” Brian, a 15-year-old in foster care through the Hampton, Va., office of Lutheran Family Services of Virginia Inc., was talking about Scott Frost, his mentor for two years.

Brian, a success story, graduated from the mentoring program (last name of foster children are omitted for their privacy). His foster family is in the process of adopting him. He’s made a lot of progress, Frost said, adding, “He’s worked on his anger and how to deal with it, and he continues to express his feelings verbally.”

Varney Goll (left) helps 14-year-old
Varney Goll (left) helps 14-year-old JB explore the library after the youth finishes his day’s classes. Goll is a therapeutic counselor for Lutheran Family Services of Virginia in Hampton, and serves as a mentor to give support, guidance and opportunity to young people like JB who need extra attention.
Another of Frost’s six clients, JB, said of his mentoring time: “[Scott and I] go to the Science Museum, we go to the park and the YMCA. We go to the library and read, and he helps me with my homework. He helps me with my behavior and my attitude.”

JB, a 14-year-old who has been in foster care for four years, has more work to do. His mother died and his elderly grandparents were unable to care for him. He ran away, was placed in detention and then in foster care. JB broke a neighbor’s fence and was placed on probation, but he raked leaves to pay for the fence. “He’s had plenty of barriers holding him back,” Frost said, “but he’s come a long way.”

After more than three years with LFS, Frost recently moved to another job as a classroom counselor with a nonprofit, Family Preservation Services. His successor, mentor Varney Goll, reports that JB is mainly polite and pleasant today. “As he grows older, he will have to take responsibility for his actions,” Goll said.

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Embracing diversity