Holly: Restoring Relationships

“Twelve years ago when I was in the 7th grade, my parents went through a divorce. I was angry with my mom. During that time it was very hard for me to find outlets to express what I was going through and the type of emotions I was feeling.

It was suggested that I talk with the Youth First Social Worker at my school, and that was the first time I was exposed to what Youth First was all about. The Youth First Social Worker let me know that her office was a safe place to express what I was going through. After I sat down with her, I immediately knew I could trust her, that she was unbiased and wasn’t there to take sides. She was there to listen and help me.

We had one-on-one sessions for a few months, and then she thought it was a good idea to bring my mom in. My mom and I had not talked for several months, but the Youth First Social Worker had given me a journal for writing down my feelings to communicate with my mom. This was the start to renewing our mother/daughter relationship.

We continued meeting during my 7th grade year and into my 8th grade year. The social worker helped me see that I could have a relationship with my mom again. She bridged the gap and became a person I could lean on for advice during my parents’ divorce.

She was a smiling face in that dark time, that listening ear. There were days when I was just in tears in her office. There were also times of laughter and anger. But when I walked into her office, she just allowed me to step into what I was feeling and not bury it. I knew I would be received with gentleness, unconditional love, and a gracious heart, and she always let me know that it was ok to feel the way I felt and to take it one step at a time.

When my mom came in, she was received in the same way – with a bright, warm smile. I knew nothing would leave those four walls. This counseling setting was the one that worked for us.

Being at that critical age, I could have gotten involved with the wrong friend group, drinking, drugs, or an unhealthy relationship, but because of this outlet for my emotions, I could remain true to myself and not get anything involved with anything like that.

If I didn’t have this experience with a Youth First Social Worker, there is no way I could have the relationship with my mom that I have today. My mom needed to know I had forgiven her so she could forgive herself, and my parents were able to eventually get remarried to each other.

Today I am 25 years old and recently changed careers to start my own business. This will give me the flexibility to volunteer for organizations like Youth First that helped me and so many other kids. Giving back and servant discipleship is very important to me.

Congratulations, Youth First, on 25 years of supporting and restoring kids and also reconnecting them with their families!”

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