The young man in this photo overcame several obstacles over the course of a few months, in part thanks to the help of a social worker in Van Buren, Missouri that worked with him to find housing, medical and dental care, and to ensure he could graduate in December.

Since the 2017 floods in Van Buren, affordable housing has been nearly impossible to find. When this student’s family lost the house they were renting, his family was forced to move 45 miles away from Van Buren. However, the student was working hard to graduate with his class and didn’t want to move.

After finding a safe place to stay, the social worker worked with the student to get him under a doctor’s care for a heart condition and help him meet the health guidelines to join the military. The student had an eye exam, which he had never had before, and discovered he had a blocked tear duct and needed glasses. The student was also having trouble with a tooth. Dental care is hard to find in Van Buren, but the social worker found a dentist 25 miles away who treated the student and pulled a back tooth.

Now that the student is healthy and can better focus on schoolwork thanks to his new glasses, he’s on track to achieve his dream of graduating in December and joining the military.

The social worker who worked to help this young man was hired by Whole Kids Outreach, with funding from a grant from the Midwest Early Recovery Fund, to support children and families affected by the 2017 floods in Van Buren, Missouri.