I used to love playing outside as a kid, and then at 9 years old I just stopped going out. I was being molested by a family member who was trusted to babysit me and my brother, and I thought my friends would be able to see the difference in me. He hurt me real bad and started giving me alcohol to stop me from fighting and crying. I couldn’t tell my mom and I just felt lost and invisible.
My mind started telling me that I was different than the other kids were and I started hanging out with a crowd my mom didn’t approve of. I didn’t care anymore. I started a life of drinking and drugging, never telling anyone what happened or that I was molested.
I became a stripper after high school and that led to becoming a prostitute and everything that comes along with that. I kept hurting others and myself over and over again. I walked through life like no one cared.
I felt all alone for 30 plus years of my life and never thought I would be a whole person again. But I knew and felt there was a better way to live, so in 2015 I went to Haymarket Center where I received treatment for drugs. Then I found out about St.Martin de Porres House of Hope where I went to therapy and lived for two years. Through a resource center there I found out about Growing Home and applied.
The staff at Growing Home helped me to do what no other program has done.
Growing Home has a great way of helping us help ourselves. They can take a person like me who thinks they are still invisible and have no more chances in life, and show them that with hard work and dedication, life can happen all over again for the better.
They gave me the skills to be honest, on time, responsible, detailed and dependable. Being responsible for plants and seedlings, and caring for them much like you would a child, gave me a sense of being needed. That sparked my self-esteem and boosted my awareness in my life.
I also went to a Kitchfix internship through Growing Home, and from both of these places I was able to get an interview with Shake Shack downtown. I have surpassed my 90 days there now, and everything I was taught in class I put in use. Now I aspire to become one of their cross trainers, and maybe even manager. I have also been clean and sober for 22 months now (two years in January!), and I’m moving into my own apartment.
I thank Growing Home for everything they’ve done for me. Most of all, it’s just a pleasure to know that people see me again, that I’m not invisible anymore. I hope my story helps someone else who struggles with the traumas of life or just doesn’t know where they fit in, to know that Growing Home can help.