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Before coming to Star of Hope, Ty and her mom were living in an apartment together. Money was tight, but they were getting by, living paycheck to paycheck.

Ty said she thought everything was just fine. And from the outside, they did look fine. After all, they had a place to call home and were taking care of themselves.

But as a young teenager, Ty could not know what it was like to be a mom, working two jobs to pay the bills and keep food on the table. Ty was not aware of the anxiety her mom faced as she watched the bank account pulsate between just enough and scraping the bottom, praying the next paycheck would clear before the bills were due or the food ran out.

This is what daily life looks like for many in our community. One more family navigating the struggles of living paycheck to paycheck.

“When we first got to the Women & Family Emergency Shelter, I was real skeptical,” Ty said. “I didn’t think it was going to make anything better – because I thought we were doing fine already. We had a house, I had friends, went to school. I got to do what most teens do. But my mom said we needed a new start, to get back on track.”

When they first transferred to the Transitional Living Center, Star of Hope’s long-term recovery program for women and families, Ty tried to get a feel for what life was going to be like in this new place. After meeting the staff leaders for the teen program, she quickly began to settle in and get comfortable.

Coming to Star of Hope caused Ty to discover something about herself that she might otherwise not have discovered.

When new kids would arrive at Star of Hope, Ty found that she was able to connect with them and make them feel at home. She had a rare ability to empathize with others, to listen to their story and talk about their struggles.

The teen staff recognized this ability in Ty and began to rely on her as a trusted resource to talk with other teens, to work through their issues and help them along on their journey.

“When kids come here, I understand they’re upset,” she said. “So I can be their friend and show them how everything works here. And then they don’t feel so hopeless.”

“Star of Hope has helped me see myself. Being here has really challenged me, and it has helped me understand the kind of person I am. Now I’m excited to pursue an education in social work in the law enforcement area. I want to use the talents I discovered while I was here to help other people.”

Ty was able to work with a caseworker to find a college where she can attend after she graduates high school. She wants to continue building on the skills she discovered while trying to be a friend to the other teens at Star of Hope. Ty has a bright future ahead.

“I thank God for bringing me here, for challenging me and showing me how I can serve Him by helping others.”

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