"Resilience means making a delicious meal with whatever you have in the fridge."
“[Resilience] means finding a way - no matter what you lack – to accomplish your goals. Resilience means making a delicious meal with whatever you have in the fridge,” responds WhyTry’s June 2016 Resilience in Action Award recipient, John Robertson, when asked what resilience means to him personally.
Robertson is Program Services Director for The Florida Network of Youth and Family Services, a not-for-profit association that represents individual agencies across the state. The Florida Network works to connect troubled youth ages six and older and their families with valuable resources including counseling, youth development, family strengthening, as well as safety, housing, and support.
“I serve the caregivers of our 29 member agencies by connecting them to each other and expert resources wherever I can find them, like WhyTry,” says Robertson. After meeting with WhyTry founder Christian Moore in 2015, the Florida Network added the program to its growing list of resources. “I have met many kids who can succeed no matter their circumstances and many who fail despite being surrounded by support. Why Try is the only program that comes close to teaching us what those intangible assets are that make the difference.”
Robertson began his journey in family services in 1998 when he worked as a life skills educator at Capital City Youth in Tallahassee, FL. He then moved on to serve as a trainer for the Southeastern Network of Youth and Family Services and spent ten years traveling to emergency shelter programs, advocating nationally for runaway and homeless youth, before joining the Florida Network.
“[Resilience education] is important to our youth because when it is not included in the conversation, all of our time will be spent talking about rules and negative behaviors and not teaching youth how to become happy and successful people,” explains Robertson. He has spent nearly twenty years encouraging youth to better their life circumstances through resources provided by both him and his associated organizations.
In a 2015 annual report, the Florida Network proudly indicates over 17,000 youth were served through the resources provided by the Network. This includes youth with risk factors listed as challenges at school, family conflict and instability, and engagement in risky behaviors. While the Florida Network has contributed greatly to the success of Florida’s at-risk youth, WhyTry is excited to recognize John Robertson and the work that he has also completed for the families in his area.
“The majority of my career has been spent recognizing the work great youth care workers do every day. It was a nice surprise to be on the other end of that!” says Robertson.
If you would like to nominate someone for the WhyTry's Resilience in Action Award, please follow this LINK.