The Unopened Christmas Gift

Nicholas Alahverdian portrait
Nicholas Alahverdian

December 1, 2019

By Nicholas Alahverdian

As I’ve grown older, my Christmases have become progressively better. Usually it’s the other way around. People tend to experience that magical feeling next to a tree decorated with glittery, beautiful ornaments best when they are young. But when one grows up in foster care, it’s a nightmare. 

I was a foster kid. Some would say orphan. Others would say “ward of the state.” It was a horrible situation, especially for me, because I would end up dealing with even worse abuse than most other foster kids because I reported the abusive practices of what was going on in the state social service system to my legislators and other state officials. But we shall save that story for another time.  Continue reading The Unopened Christmas Gift

Nicholas Alahverdian releases excerpt from “Dreading and Hoping All”

Excerpt from Dreading and Hoping All
By Nicholas Alahverdian
Copyright © 2019 by The Nicholas Edward Alahverdian Trust. All rights reserved.

More: Nicholas Alahverdian — A survivor tells the story of kid dumping

Once I reached Manhattan, I went to each of the major news networks and newspapers to speak with producers, receptionists, and researchers. I was armed with documents and proof of the corruption, abuse and negligence that was ensuing in the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families.

Nicholas Alahverdian Debate Championship Trophy
Nicholas Alahverdian holding his Urban Debate Championship Trophy in 2002

I scheduled appointments with producers from NBC’s Today show as well as The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News among other networks. Those were the two shows that confirmed my appearance during the first episodes of the New Year. The other appearances were to be solidified within the coming weeks.

I finished my work on Christmas Eve. Everything was sorted out, and I was excited. One of the producers bought me a hotel ticket for my final evening in Manhattan so that I didn’t have to sleep on the subway again.

I made my way back to Rhode Island with train tickets in hand — paid for by a television host himself — for the appearances in January. All I had to do was keep quiet and let Jeremiah (who bore an uncanny resemblance to Jabba the Hut) enjoy his Christmas feast. And then I would strike.

Unfortunately, Jeremiah had been tipped off that I was meeting with the press locally — WJAR (the NBC affiliate), WPRI (the CBS affiliate), and The Providence Journal had all done stories on me again — yet Jeremiah had no idea about the national news that was about to break.

Nicholas Alahverdian surrounded by Representatives and Senators outside the House of Representatives Chamber
Nicholas Alahverdian surrounded by Representatives and Senators outside the House of Representatives Chamber

And he wouldn’t, because he single-handedly killed the stories without even knowing they were going to be aired.

He had the power to keep me from contacting anyone after placing me in a secure facility in Rhode Island until I could be flown to Nebraska. I was literally Court-ordered to not leave the youth shelter and the staff were similarly ordered to not allow me to use the telephone, send letters, or leave the property. I was devastated.

Said another way, he proceeded to deem me a threat to myself because I was “not complying with my treatment” — that was always their go-to excuse when I arranged to have the truth about the abuse and negligence inherent in the DCYF and the Family Court illuminated in the press and the court of public opinion.

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Read the prologue of Dreading and Hoping All here

Read the first chapter of Dreading and Hoping All here

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Rhode Island DCYF: Nicholas Alahverdian and his Quest for Reform from Nicholas Alahverdian on Vimeo.


 

Continue reading Nicholas Alahverdian releases excerpt from “Dreading and Hoping All”

Dreading and Hoping All by Nicholas Alahverdian

Dreading and Hoping All

New: Exclusive to Medium.com — read the Prologue

Read the first chapter of Dreading and Hoping All for free on nicholasalahverdian.com or purchase the book on Amazon, Google Books, or the Apple Bookstore.

Nicholas Alahverdian
Dreading and Hoping All ©2019 The Nicholas Edward Alahverdian Trust

Excerpt from Dreading and Hoping All
By Nicholas Alahverdian
Copyright © 2019 by The Nicholas Edward Alahverdian Trust. All rights reserved.

No part of this excerpt may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. For information about permission to reproduce selections from this excerpt, please email the Nicholas Edward Alahverdian Press at neapress@protonmail.com

Chapter One: Hellfire in Florida

Hell is other people
–Jean-Paul Sartre

The first thing I remember is the brightness of the sun. The blazing, white-hot sun, and then being whisked into a luxurious lobby.  It was a welcome departure from the drab, impoverished climate of Omaha, Nebraska where I had spent the previous 24 months.  As I sit and attempt to remember the month that I was sent to this hellhole in Florida, my mind is simply drawn blank.  That’s how overmedicated I was.

Let’s move on.  It was in 2004.  I was 16 years old.  I flew from Nebraska to Sarasota, Florida with my DCYF social worker and we drove up the massive Tampa bridge.  I remember feeling Continue reading Dreading and Hoping All by Nicholas Alahverdian

A survivor tells the story of kid-dumping

Click here for the entire Nicholas Alahverdian News Archive

A survivor tells the story of kid dumping

By Bob Kerr

24 November 2002

The Providence Journal

© 2002 Providence Journal/Evening Bulletin. All Rights Reserved.

As Nicholas Alahverdian and I talked, he took in the view of the Rhode Island State House from The Journal cafeteria.

“You don’t know how much I love going in that building,” he says.

He loves the excitement of it, the reporters and the politicians. He’s been part of it. He’s worked for his state representative. He’s testified at hearings.

He wants to be a politician. And a lawyer. And a journalist.

Don’t bet against him hitting the career trifecta. He’s already been tested in ways few of us will ever know.

“I don’t think I’ve been harmed at all,” he says. “I think it’s all part of a plan that’s been assigned to me for upcoming events.”

He talks about the dark, uncertain part of his life as “boot camp.” It has taught him things and prepared him.

He’s 15, smart and articulate and almost painfully polite. He introduces himself with a handshake. He even said it was an honor to meet some of the people here at The Journal. He reads the newspaper. When he opens his backpack, a copy of David McCulloch’s biography of John Adams is the first thing he takes out.

He speaks from the other side of a lot of hard, cold statistics. He’s a kid caught in a cruel social shuffle that has left him with a heavy load of uncertainty when he desperately needs something solid and reliable.

His insistence on being all that he can be is remarkable.

After we talked Thursday afternoon, he headed for the bus stop and a ride to his latest group home in Providence.

At a time when he should have no concerns more pressing than homework and maybe the girl who sits two rows over in his Spanish class, he is forced to live his life in bits and pieces, never knowing how long he will be living or going to school in the same place.

There was a point in Nicholas Alahverdian’s nomadic life, when the Rhode Island social service system put him in a foster home in North Smithfield. It was probably the best experience he’s had, the closest he’s come to his ideal of home and family.

“I can’t tell you how loving this family was – how they accepted me into their home. They were so caring.”

He stayed there for two days. That’s all he was scheduled for. Then he went home to his real family for the Christmas holidays at the end of 1999.

Then he returned to a shelter in Woonsocket.

“It was decent for someone my age,” he says of the shelter. “There were caring people there. There were activities set up for us each night.”

As we talk, Nicholas Alahverdian sorts through a stack of notes he’s taken on his life so far. There are also copies of school grades and newspaper stories I wrote about his stepfather, a popular local performer.

It is amazing how matter-of-fact he is about it, as if every 15-year-old goes through this kind of jolting, disjointed life in which faceless people are making the calls on where he will live and where he will learn. He sorts through his papers, tells his stories and provides a stunning personal voice for all the stories about kids in Rhode Island who get moved around like pieces on a real-life board game.

Nicholas Alahverdian has been in night-to-night placement under the Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF). It is often little more than a couch to sleep on for the night, followed by a day of wondering where the next couch will be.

“It’s scary ridiculously scary,” he says. “There are punks in there, they took my sneakers, my clothing. I was threatened, assaulted. I saw kids hit each other with hockey sticks.

“You wake up in the morning at 5:30 and you go the DCYF building and wait to see where you’re going to go the next night.

“You’re not in school and I love school. You’re not associating with friends. You’re not treated decently. And how can your parents know where you are?”

In one sense, he knows it has to be this way. In another, he rails against the injustice of it and the self-defeating madness of dumping kids in often strange and frightening places.

The list of his stops on what seems a journey with no real destination is daunting. It winds through Coventry, Woonsocket, North Providence, Cranston, Providence, Narragansett and points in between. He has been to a bunch of schools, some of which insulted his intelligence with course work and materials geared to children 5 or 6 years younger. He remembers being assigned the book The Pokey Little Puppy when it seemed like something from his distant past.

Nicholas Alahverdian once addressed the Cranston School Committee on how he felt he was being unfairly judged on his past in his classroom assignment.

Now, he is attending Hope High School where he’s on the debate team. He’s living in a group home in Providence which he considers one of the better ones he’s been in.

“It’s like a challenge at Hope,” he says, “a challenge to help yourself learn.”

And through it all, he remains this delightful survivor who seems to have held on to a real sense of who he is and what he wants to be, despite the efforts of the state of Rhode Island to keep him forever on the move.

There is a great temptation to listen to his story and thoroughly enjoy his company and then ask him something like “How the hell have you gotten through all this with so much hope and determination?”

We’ll hear from him somewhere down the road. He says all that training he received in his own personal “boot camp” has gotten him ready. It’s gotten him ready for war.

“It’s a war with people who are trying to destroy kids’ lives,” says my new friend Nicholas Alahverdian.

The Undignified Departure of Bob Kerr and the Death of Journalism

bob kerr nicholas alahverdian
Bob Kerr

Over the past 24 hours, Rhode Island Public Radio and The Boston Globe reported that longtime columnist Bob Kerr was called into a conference room in the Providence Journal’s Fountain Street bunker-like headquarters and informed of his dismissal and the details of his severance package. The more than 43 years of impeccable journalism and commentary produced by one man and cherished by thousands of readers across Southern New England dissipated in ten minutes, merely a formality than an expression of gratitude or thanksgiving.

The flame kindled by Kerr for so long was extinguished, Continue reading The Undignified Departure of Bob Kerr and the Death of Journalism

A Survivor Tells the Story of Kid Dumping

A survivor tells the story of kid dumping

Bob Kerr, ProJo, Nicholas Alahverdian
Bob Kerr

By Bob Kerr

24 November 2002

The Providence Journal

© 2002 Providence Journal/Evening Bulletin. All Rights Reserved.

As Nicholas Alahverdian and I talked, he took in the view of the Rhode Island State House from The Journal cafeteria.

Nicholas Alahverdian, State House
RI State House

“You don’t know how much I love going in that building,” he says.

Alahverdian loves the excitement of it, the reporters and the politicians. He’s been part of it. He’s worked for his state representative. He’s testified at hearings.

He wants to be a politician. And a lawyer. And a journalist.

Don’t bet against him hitting the career trifecta. He’s already been tested in ways few of us will ever know.

Nicholas Alahverdian State House
Nicholas Alahverdian

“I don’t think I’ve been harmed at all,” Nicholas Alahverdian says. “I think it’s all part of a plan that’s been assigned to me for upcoming events.”

He talks about the dark, uncertain part of his life as “boot camp.” It has taught him things and prepared him.

He’s 15, smart and articulate and almost painfully polite. He introduces himself with a handshake. He even said it was an honor to meet some of the people here at The Journal. He reads the newspaper. When he opens his backpack, a copy of David McCulloch’s biography of John Adams is the first thing he takes out.

He speaks from the other side of a lot of hard, cold statistics. He’s a kid caught in a cruel social shuffle that has left him with a heavy load of uncertainty when he desperately needs something solid and reliable.

RI, Rhode Island, torture
Nicholas Alahverdian

His insistence on being all that he can be is remarkable.

After we talked Thursday afternoon, Nicholas Alahverdian headed for the bus stop and a ride to his latest group home in Providence.

At a time when he should have no concerns more pressing than homework and maybe the girl who sits two rows over in his Spanish class, he is forced to live his life in bits and pieces, never knowing how long he will be living or going to school in the same place.

There was a point in Nick’s nomadic life, when the Rhode Island social service system put him in a foster home in North Smithfield. It was probably the best experience he’s had, the closest he’s come to his ideal of home and family.

“I can’t tell you how loving this family was – how they accepted me into their home. They were so caring.”

He stayed there for two days. That’s all he was scheduled for. Then he went home to his real family for the Christmas holidays at the end of 1999.

Then he returned to a shelter in Woonsocket.
“It was decent for someone my age,” he says of the shelter. “There were caring people there. There were activities set up for us each night.”

As we talk, he sorts through a stack of notes he’s taken on his life so far. There are also copies of school grades and newspaper stories I wrote about his stepfather, a popular local performer.

It is amazing how matter-of-fact he is about it, as if every 15-year-old goes through this kind of jolting, disjointed life in which faceless people are making the calls on where he will live and where he will learn. He sorts through his papers, tells his stories and provides a stunning personal voice for all the stories about kids in Rhode Island who get moved around like pieces on a real-life board game.

He has been in night-to-night placement under the Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF). It is often little more than a couch to sleep on for the night, followed by a day of wondering where the next couch will be.

“It’s scary ridiculously scary,” he says. “There are punks in there, they took my sneakers, my clothing. I was threatened, assaulted. I saw kids hit each other with hockey sticks.

“You wake up in the morning at 5:30 and you go the DCYF building and wait to see where you’re going to go the next night.

“You’re not in school and I love school. You’re not associating with friends. You’re not treated decently. And how can your parents know where you are?”

In one sense, he knows it has to be this way. In another, he rails against the injustice of it and the self-defeating madness of dumping kids in often strange and frightening places.

The list of his stops on what seems a journey with no real destination is daunting. It winds through Coventry, Woonsocket, North Providence, Cranston, Providence, Narragansett and points in between.

Nicholas Alahverdian has been to a bunch of schools, some of which insulted his intelligence with course work and materials geared to children 5 or 6 years younger. He remembers being assigned the book The Pokey Little Puppy when it seemed like something from his distant past.

He once addressed the Cranston School Committee on how he felt he was being unfairly judged on his past in his classroom assignment.

Now, he is attending Hope High School where he’s on the debate team. He’s living in a group home in Providence which he considers one of the better ones he’s been in.

“It’s like a challenge at Hope,” he says, “a challenge to help yourself learn.”

And through it all, he remains this delightful survivor who seems to have held on to a real sense of who he is and what he wants to be, despite the efforts of the state of Rhode Island to keep him forever on the move.

There is a great temptation to listen to his story and thoroughly enjoy his company and then ask him something like “How the hell have you gotten through all this with so much hope and determination?”

We’ll hear from him somewhere down the road. He says all that training he received in his own personal “boot camp” has gotten him ready. It’s gotten him ready for war.

“It’s a war with people who are trying to destroy kids’ lives,” says my new friend Nick.