CAREGIVING YOUTH PROJECT
Nick’s mother has been battling HIV, and, over the past few years, her health has deteriorated. His father died two years ago, leaving Nickolaus—a 13-year-old middle school student—as his mother’s primary caregiver. He does the grocery shopping, cooks meals, cleans, and takes care of the laundry and other household responsibilities. More importantly, he tends to his mother’s medication and immediate needs to ensure her comfort. As a consequence, Nick has little time and energy for academics, sports, and socializing. After joining the CYP, and receiving tutoring at home, Nick has improved his grades and overall well-being. “I found out there are more people that do the things I do, and some do more,” he said. “Now, I’m getting As and Bs, and feel more confident in school.”
Before the CYP, Markyla had little time to be a typical 12 year old. She lives with her mother, brother, and ill grandparents. Markyla’s grandfather has cancer, and her grandmother has multiple physical ailments. Her mother works full time, so Markyla takes care of most household and caregiving responsibilities; she cooks, cleans, assists her grandmother in basic self-care, and helps her grandfather with his oxygen tank and medications. Through the CYP, Markyla realizes that she is not alone. She has found support among new friends and AACY staff, as she develops skills to better balance school, socializing, and caregiving responsibilities.