Alicia was physically and emotionally abused by her parents. They abandoned her, and she went to live with her grandmother. While there, she was sexually abused by an uncle and a cousin. She repeatedly ran away and turned to prostitution to support herself.
Michael lost his father at a very young age and grew up surrounded by domestic violence. After Hurricane Katrina, he couch surfed until he landed at his grandmother’s in a crime-ridden neighborhood in Dallas. Instead of making a fresh start, he wound up in trouble.
These are just two examples of how youth in the juvenile justice system often grown up isolated, disconnected and let down by the adults around them. These kinds of traumatic experiences just add to the rebellious and impulsive behaviors typical of the teen years. When no one has hopes and expectations for you, why bother to have them for yourself?
At Youth With Faces, we connect youth with positive, consistent and caring adults. We show up for them, with respect and accountability – even when they don’t show up for themselves. We believe in their potential – even when they make mistakes. This teaches a powerful lesson about their innate value and abilities that can and does shift their expectations for themselves.