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Kara: I’ve Made It This Far

I’m 14 years old and very artistic. I love art. I’m really smart in school and my favorite subject in school is math.

I was once sexually abused, and I’ve been in foster care ever since. I’m in a program because I run away a lot, but I’m working on it. 

I used to hang around with too many of the wrong people, but now I know how to focus on improving myself and getting better. Instead of screaming and yelling, I work with people and explain how I feel. I talk to the staff if I’m worried I’ll do something wrong, because I trust people to help me come up with a better way to deal with how I’m feeling. I care about my treatment, and I’m working to stop doing things that could possibly hurt me. I know how to advocate for myself and stay involved with my care, and that’s given me a lot of confidence.

Tom: Don’t Give Up, You’re Not Alone

In 1983, when I was 13, I was sent to live at a youth residency program. At the time, I wondered what I did wrong to be in this place. Today, I realize it wasn’t anything I did—it was the circumstances of the situation I was in. But thank God there was a place that went, “Yes, we’ll accept you.”

What I learned there and the love I was shown has impacted me so many years later. The strength I gathered from the people there, they probably didn’t know how much they impacted me. So what I have learned is: don’t give up, you’re not alone, and there are people who want to help you. This place is there for people like you. It’s what they specialize in, they repair families. They didn't advertise it like this, but it’s true: they’re in the saving lives business.

Angela: There’s No Way to Move But Up

When I was 14 years old, I felt very alone and didn’t think anyone could help me. I just couldn’t trust anyone. I eventually went to a mental hospital because I tried to kill myself. I was told I needed someone I could see weekly and provide me with the tools to cope with my depression, anxiety and anger. That’s when I was referenced for therapy.

When I met my therapist, things just started to click. She sincerely cared about me. Even if I didn’t have a session but still needed to talk to someone on the phone, she was there. I didn’t feel like I was just another client to her. The staff actually spoke to me, wanted to know about me, and listened to my concerns. You can tell that they really care here, and you can’t find that everywhere.