I met Wesley shortly after he had graduated from a job-training program for youth living in New York City's public housing projects. Wesley had done so well in the program that the program had hired him as a team leader. However, he struggled to replicate his work-place successes at home.
An only child, Wesley had recently lost both parents. His father, to whom he had been particularly close, had died unexpectedly of a heart attack. His mother had had a catastrophic stroke and was bed-ridden in a state-run nursing home, unable to move or speak. Neighbors had broken into and ransacked the public housing apartment that he had shared with his mother prior to her stroke, making the apartment uninhabitable. New York City's public housing agency would not repair the apartment and Wesley did not have the funds to do so himself, so he spent most nights with a girlfriend. In addition, Wesley had recently been charged with felony assault after a late-night sidewalk altercation. Although he had a strong claim of self-defense, his public defender had failed to interview him about the facts of his case.
Yet, Wesley was most concerned about providing his sons with the same nurturing parenting that he had received. He spent almost every weekends with his boys trying to be the best father he could be.