Have you ever experienced something that changed the course of your entire life? So far, I've had two of these experiences: the day my parents became incarcerated and the day I entered Project Avary.
At age five, my whole world flipped upside down. In what seemed like a split second, both of my parents went to prison and I went into the foster care system.
It was at this time I went into hiding. I was only five years old, and I already felt so much shame. I missed my mom and dad so much. I cried endlessly for them, yet I couldn't tell anyone what I was going through because I knew they would judge me. I felt so alone.
Then, something magical happened: I was introduced to Project Avary. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by other kids who had a similar experience as me. For the first time ever, I had adults within the community telling me that I could become something. I had a family again, and I no longer felt alone.
Project Avary taught me that my struggles and pain can become some of my greatest gifts.My pain has become love and my struggles have become strength. I can now say with sincere confidence that the cycle of incarceration ends with me!
When I think about my future, I'm so excited. I go to college next year, and it is my dream to become a social worker and to work for Project Avary. I want to give back the incredible gift I was given. I want to help kids with parents in prison know that they are not alone and that they too can break the cycle.
Through your support of Project Avary, you've given me direction, confidence, and a family. Without your support, I wouldn't be where I am today. Thank you so much!
During this holiday season, please continue your incredible support of kids like me by donating to Project Avary. By doing so, you're giving a voice to the forgotten and are building the next generation of change-makers. You're helping children break a cycle they've been told they'll never break. You're giving them the greatest gift they will ever receive.
With Gratitude & Avary Love,
Age 17, Project Avary Teen Leader & Junior Counselor