For as long as Mariah could remember, she was a high performing student athlete, who loved expanding her knowledge and playing volleyball; often dreaming of going to college and aspiring to become a fashion designer.

Her dreams were quickly derailed when a social worker showed up at her door to take her into DCFS care as a result of her mother’s mental health concerns and instability. For years, Mariah tried to keep her home life a secret; hoping nobody would notice the bruises and scars from her mother’s outbursts. A teacher had caught on and made the call to get Mariah into a safe environment.

Mariah cycled through a few different placements before arriving at Youth Emerging Stronger. Because of all the transition, she had fallen behind in school and was emotionally distraught. YES Staff allowed her time to settle-in and surrounded her with a loving and supportive environment. They quickly obtained her transcripts and helped her get back on track with her education so that she could still graduate on time. In addition, Mariah began regular individual and group therapy to process through her years of trauma and abuse.

While at YES, Mariah completed high school, enrolled in community college, obtained a full-time job and served on the YES Youth Board.

Now in the YES Aftercare Program, Mariah keeps in constant communication with staff and continues reach for her dreams. She has entry-level position with a top swimwear designer, launched her own clothing line and self-published a book!

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