“Stephanie”, 16 years old

Stephanie was referred to Voices by her probation officer, after a long history of reportedly running away. Initially Stephanie was hesitant about attending Voices groups. She stated, “Why do I have to come here? I’m [a]bout that life cause I got to take care of me, no one else will. My mother has used drugs all my life and I ain’t got no daddy.”

By the third meeting, Stephanie began to let down her guard. She shared that she was taken out of Myrtle Beach by men and that she thought that it was okay to offer sex for money in an effort to buy herself clothing, food, and pay her cell phone bill. She shared her story with the group and looked to her Voices sisters to offer her guidance on what she should do to stay on the right track. Stephanie attended weekly meetings at youthSpark, began therapy, and re-enrolled in high school even though she was two grades behind. She was motivated to complete her degree because she said, “Most people think I am just gonna drop out of school.”

Suddenly, Stephanie missed a few consecutive group meetings and her Voices sisters were worried about her. As a part of the program, each girl is paired up with a “buddy” so they have someone they can always reach out to. Stephanie had recently disclosed to her buddy she had started “working” again, which is why she was missing meetings.

She was motivated to complete her degree because she said, “Most people think I am just gonna drop out of school.”

She thought the girls would judge her if they found out and that she wouldn’t be allowed to come back to youthSpark.

Stephanie called youthSpark to check in and see if she could start attending meetings again. She was quickly reminded of the youthSpark motto, “Once a Voices girl, always a Voices girl” and was back in group the following week. She continued attending meetings the rest of the year and would often remind her peers that it’s okay if they get pulled back in and to not don’t give up. Stephanie has been maintaining a B average in school, goes to therapy weekly, and encouraged her mother to enter drug rehabilitation.

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