It’s not surprising those around Ei’Terrian, or “ET,” describe his personality as infectious. His charisma and humor are noticeable within minutes of speaking with him.
As many do when asked about ET, Case Manager Destini Swain spoke about his enthusiasm and influence on those around him.
“ET is very outgoing and enjoys spending time with his peers and staff,” Swain said. “He’s a strong person who advocates for others and stands up for what’s right. ET sees the good in people and is willing to help those who need it.”
A dedicated athlete and subtle comedian, the 15-year-old came to the MCH Boys Ranch in January 2022. Even though many characterize him as a people-person, ET said he wasn’t expecting to find community so quickly.
“Coming to live with multiple people I didn’t know at all, I thought it was going to be really weird,” he said. “It was the opposite of what I thought. As soon as I got in they introduced me like I was family. I was not expecting that at all.”
ET credits the staff for treating him like family upon his arrival and helping him learn routines.
“Being new here, there are a lot of different things I’m not used to doing,” he said. “Staff helped me and guided me along as I got used to living at MCH.”
Home Parent Gregory Atterberry connected with ET early and has observed him evolving and adapting to patterns at MCH. Atterberry considers this a pivotal growth experience for ET.
“He’s opening up and learning to be comfortable being around different cultures and different people,” Atterberry said. “I think the true ET is coming out. He’s become more of a leader.”
Having played football in college, Atterberry and ET bonded over their shared love of the game. Atterberry encourages youth to pursue their athletic dreams because of the impact it can make on their lives.
“Sports made me a better person,” he said. “Being around different people and getting to travel is something I’ll never forget, so I definitely encourage the students that way.”
ET looks forward to playing with the MCH Bulldogs six-man football team in the fall, after participating in the brief spring season in May.
Matt Rodgers, the athletic director and football coach at MCH, expects ET to quickly become an integral part of the team due to his personality and experience.
“ET comes ready to work and learn every day,” Rodgers said. “He has an infectious personality and teammates congregate around him, wanting to be a part of what he is doing. Once he gets accustomed to how the team operates and what’s expected of him, he can be a tremendous asset and a great team leader.”
Work ethic and passion drive ET, and he hopes to pursue football professionally in the future, a goal he says motivates him even today.
Rodgers recognizes ET’s athletic talents and helps him and the rest of the team set goals and work hard to attain them.
“I believe ET can achieve any goal he has so long as he sets a plan and can be honest with himself,” he said. “I think he has a great work ethic and personality where anything is possible for him.”
ET’s dedication and leadership instills confidence in those around him, and the staff at MCH hopes to continue helping him pursue his goals. Until then, ET is interested in clothing design and also hopes to try his hand at comedy, per his friends’ suggestions.
With the support of MCH staff and the encouragement and training they provide, ET is heading into a bright future.
“MCH has taught me I can be different from the way I used to be,” he said. “People can change. This place is changing me in a really good way.”