I will never forget the look on Maya’s* face as the head judge stepped forward to congratulate her with a hug. It was a flush of emotion; surprise and disbelief, mingled with joy. The judge asked about Maya’s plans for the future. Maya smiled shyly and said she had decided to go to a private school to learn American Sign Language. The judge and the rest of the court audience applauded her dreams and took a few minutes to honor her dismissal from the court system. If they only knew that this was just one of many dreams for the future. If they were only aware of the great difficulties she experienced along the way… the victory would have tasted even sweeter to them.
Like many of our clients, Maya grew up having to make hard choices. She had to struggle with choosing between family and personal safety, feeling misunderstood, mistreated, and continually overlooked by caregivers, and intense emotional difficulties. Maya was referred to Lifeline’s Phase 3 Independent Living Program for assistance in developing independent living skills and for added social support. She desired so badly to be on her own, but lacked the confidence and skills necessary to make it. Maya also found it difficult to trust authority figures in her life, and had little respect for them.
During her nine-month stint in the program, Maya blossomed into a young adult who took initiative instead of asking questions, set and accomplished goals rather than being paralyzed by the big picture, respected the rules instead of rebelling against them, and opened her heart to an “authority.” She honed her desires into a specific plan for the near future, but also talked about her many long term dreams to work overseas in India, counsel abused children, and even buy an old house and fix it up. She knows who she is, what she wants, and she’s running forward. All Maya needed was someone to come alongside, show her the love of God, and give her the wings to fly. May God be praised for working through Lifeline to bring Maya to such a place of celebration!
- Written by an Independent Living staff member
*Name and picture have been changed to protect confidentiality
“ I don’t understand why and how you and your staff love us so much, but I’m sure glad you do...I’ve never felt so
empowered in my life… You give us hope without even knowing it.”
- Single mother of five
From pain and misery to achieving goals and pursuing dreams.
Hope found after a turbulent
start to her life.
Sam grew up in abusive and drug-addicted family, bouncing around to different family members until he was put into foster care at age 13. He eventually ran away and was then brought to Lifeline's Pierceton Woods Academy residential facility. Now he has graduated high school a year early, has dreams to go to college, and is involved in a daily Bible study. He attributes his success and restored relationship with Christ to the support and encouragement of the Pierceton Woods staff.
It is stories like Sam's that keep us motivated and working hard day after day to keep serving families and teens, even when it is challenging.
Watch more of Sam's story >>
At just 9 years old, Mariah* had been in 13 placements prior to her current foster home. When she was 6, she was removed from her family’s home after severe physical and sexual abuse. With such trauma so early in her life, she was struggling to fit into any home as she lacked social skills, had difficulty trusting people, and often acted out inappropriately. In essence, she was“stuck” developmentally at the age when the trauma occurred.
Lifeline was asked to work with Mariah’s foster parents to provide a home that could turn things around for her. Thanks to training that Lifeline Therapist Jessica Peachey had received, she was able to quickly identify issues related to an attachment disorder for Mariah. Jessica worked with the foster parents on Mariah’s need for stability, consistent routines, empathetic listening, and time invested in her as a person, as well as their need to keep calm and non-emotional during her outbursts.
The foster parents are so grateful to have practical guidance that’s catered to Mariah’s specific needs and as a result, she has begun to thrive! She is now 10 years old, doing much better in school and having healthier family interactions. She now smiles, maintains eye contact with others, and has replaced some of her anxiety with feelings of being relaxed and comfortable in her home. While she still struggles in these areas, Mariah has made progress. With continued love, support, and consistency, she’ll reach her goals—thanks to specific training and tools geared toward helping kids with attachment disorders like hers.
*Name and picture have been changed to protect confidentiality.
"It made such a dramatic impact on my life to see men and women of integrity who do right because it's right. That means everything to a kid who's seen nothing but bad..."
- Former Lifeline Resident