I grew up in BC with my parents. Although we have a loving family, in time, problems arose. Things came to a head when I was having problems at school and asked to enroll in an alternative high school program. My mom refused and was really angry, and things got so bad that I moved to Edmonton to live with my aunt and uncle.
Despite everything, I missed my parents desperately. When Christmas came, I begged to go home for the holidays. My mom thought that our relationship wasn’t ready and said no. The rejection hurt pretty badly. I became bitter, which was difficult for my aunt and uncle, and I started experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Eventually my aunt and uncle asked me to leave.
When I came to YESS I imagined the other kids being “street kids”—bums and thieves. But the other kids were just like me. I made friends and started to bond with the staff. There were rules to follow and chores to do, but I found that these were teaching me how to be an independent adult.
Being surrounded by supportive, non-judgmental staff changed everything. Within eight months I got a job, started saving money, and accessed Student Aid programs to continue my education.
Once the time came, I found it hard to leave YESS—it felt like leaving home all over again. But this time, I knew that I was strong and capable of success. And I know that if I need them, YESS will be there for me.
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