Hello, my name is Sarah and I would like to share with you a small part of me. I was at Maryvale for 9 months. I arrived at Maryvale when I was 15 years old, per the request of my probation officer because I was refusing to follow the restrictions and orders the court had given me. My probation officer decided to send me to placement for six months to one year depending on my behavior.
Before Maryvale, my life wasn’t the best. I was facing so many changes and my anger was triggered by many of life’s obstacles. My parents separated when I was 6 years old, and ‘till this day I can remember how hurtful that was. Other kids made fun of me, they would tell me that my dad stopped loving us. Those hurtful words made me feel it was my fault. I felt horrible and lonely; especially at nights. The holidays were very difficult because my mom would cry due to not having any presents for my brothers and me. Every holiday season seemed the same, I couldn’t remember the last time I received a present. Our birthday felt like any other day, because we knew my mom didn’t have money. I would cry myself to sleep hoping that all that was happening was just a dream; but that dream turned more and more into a nightmare.
My personality started to change, that little girl was gone and I was trying to grow up too fast. I was making choices that were harmful for me and that girls my age should not be doing. The school started calling my mom saying that my behavior was terrible. I had no friends, no one to express my feelings to. I felt I had to keep my feelings and thoughts to myself. Again, I believed it was all my fault.
Last but not least, I want to share with you one of my greatest gifts from Maryvale, my Special Friend (mentor). She has seen my bad side and my good side; and has always stayed by me. When I left Maryvale she committed to keep in touch with me. We talk and see each other, she is my Special Friend, a gift from God. I can’t explain how thankful I am to have my Special Friend, I now have someone to talk to when I don’t fully understand the world.
Thank you Maryvale for changing my life and giving me the chance to learn how to express my feelings. Thank you Junior Guild for all the fun activities! Thank you to all you ladies that support Maryvale and support us, the children of Maryvale. One day I will return to Maryvale to give back to those girls that are in the same place I was once in.
Today I am back home with my mom. I help my mom around the house, I don’t run away, I follow directions in school, and no more bad phone calls from school. My mom recently had surgery so my older brother and I have been helping in taking care of her and in whatever is needed around the house.
At age 14 I was arrested for the first time because I punched a girl and hurt her. I was put on house arrest four times after that, and was in Juvenile Hall three times; but that didn’t stop me. Maryvale, then came into my life and assisted me in so many ways. I am truly blessed to have found a placement like Maryvale because they taught me so much. I will carry with me everything I learned at Maryvale in my mind, heart, and soul. For the first time I felt loved and cared for. Every night my staff Monica would come in my room to tuck me in. She would tell me goodnight, give me a hug, and tell me “I love you.” Even the nights I drove Monica crazy she always showed me she cared and loved me. All my staff taught me the meaning of love and patience as I saw the way they dedicated their time to us. At Maryvale I learned self-control, respect, coping skills, and most importantly they taught me to love myself. I now believe in myself and I know that the choices I make will affect me in a good or bad way. I am thankful to God for all my staff!!! I honestly honor them for everything they did for me and admire each of them so much.
Britny found the Maryvale Angels website and connected with us via email in 2015:
"Hello, my name is Britny. I lived at Maryvale from ages six to eleven. I remember the Holiday Celebrations we went to every year and the others on campus. I remember them being some of the greatest times of my childhood and I wanted to thank you for dedicating your time to such an amazing thing. It was an escape from the hurt and confusion that such a predicament at a young age brings. I still have pictures from those parties and I could never express my gratitude for those few hours that brought such happiness to my young soul. I am sixteen now and I live with my dad in West Los Angeles. I was wondering if there is a way to involve myself in the organization this year. I don't have much money to give but I have plenty of time to spend helping with setting up. Please get back to me and thank you".
So excited to see that she is doing well and wanted to give back, she volunteered her time the day of the party. What an Angel, she was a positive influence among the girls, giving hope and hugs, putting smiles on faces and giving them a better understanding of their futures and the infinite possibilities of an amazing life ahead. We are lucky to have people like her in this world.
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