“I will never regain my lost childhood and nothing will make up for those painful early years of my life, but every day I’m living to my potential, working to make our community a better place, and helping to give the teens at Third Way Center a chance to follow in my footsteps.” -Brendan
Audience members who attended True Grit in 2014 were blown away by the remarkable story of Brendan, a former Third Way Center resident turned successful Denver Metro Realtor.
While working with Director Annie Eastman, Brendan was able to recount his life before, during, and after Third Way Center. During one of the shoots, Brendan experienced a sense of closure and a flood of emotions as he stepped foot into his old room at the Lincoln Apartments, a place he hadn’t been in almost 20 years. Here Brendan recalled how as a teen he could have never imagined a life outside of these walls, or a path that would take him where he is today.
Prior to entering our program, Brendan was like many of the hundreds of teens Third Way Center helps annually. Like countless others, he experienced abuse from an alcoholic father and attempted to escape by lashing out. Brendan turned to planning and committing crime, and soon found himself in the incarcerated. While imprisoned he was surrounded by other teens with similar stories. There they believed being locked up to be a more stable environment than their own abusive households.
Thankfully Brendan was referred to Third Way Center, where he was given the tools to understand the truth about the trauma he endured at young age and was given the hope for a brighter future.
Upon emancipating out of our program Brendan went on to join the US Army where served multiple tours in Iraq and Kuwait. He is now a successful Realtor and avid supporter of Third Way Center’s mission to offer truth and hope to high risk, mentally ill, disadvantaged and often homeless adolescents, and their families.
Today, Brendan continues to succeed professionally and, just last month, we had the honor of welcoming him to Third Way Center’s Board of Directors.
A Letter from Brendan
Originally Published on September 6, 2015
Third Way Center is not the place I would have voluntarily chosen as my home as a teenager, but it was the best place for me to be at one of the darkest times in my life.
I’m writing to you today, nearly 20 years later, asking you to join me in helping teens who are in that same dark place – by giving them the opportunity to change who their past has destined them to be.
My story starts with the trauma of physical and emotional abuse at an early age. To be fair, my parents had trauma of their own. My father was a Vietnam veteran who suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. My mother struggled with mental illness. Their personal demons made it impossible for them to provide me with the safe, stable home children need. I had no direction, no stability and no hope for something better. I was left to make my own self-destructive choices.
After I was removed from my parents’ home, no one in the foster homes and youth corrections facilities where I was placed asked about the trauma I had endured. Instead, the emphasis was on the mistakes I had made and encouraging me not to repeat them. In some of those places, I learned new ways to make my life more difficult from people who were in situations similar to mine.
Then I arrived at Third Way Center. I learned that I had the power to build a better life for myself. I was given the help I needed to overcome my trauma, learn new skills, and recognize the power I had to make better choices. For the first time in my young life, I could see new opportunities and new potential and most importantly a positive future.
Today, I am an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Army, a successful entrepreneur, business owner, and leader of the #1 Keller Williams Real Estate Team in Central Colorado. I give back as a community volunteer and member of Denver Active 20/30 Foundation. I have surrounded myself with intelligent, successful, supportive, caring people who have much in common with the person I am today. If it hadn’t been for the staff and programs at Third Way Center, my resume would read much differently. It’s terrifying to think where I may have ended up.
And that’s why I’m writing to you today – asking you to invest in hundreds of other teens who are in a dark place similar to where I was nearly 20 years ago. They are at that point in their lives where they can either believe their past has destined them to pain and failure or recognize they have the ability to build a successful future.
I will never regain my lost childhood and nothing will make up for those painful early years of my life, but every day I’m living to my potential, working to make our community a better place, and helping to give the teens at Third Way Center a chance to follow in my footsteps.
Please join me by making a tax deductible contribution to Third Way Center. Your gift helps young people today so they can help make the future of our community better for all of us.
The Bartic Group