• Mariana13 Years Old

Mariana, just 13 years old, arrived in our home a few weeks ago after being trafficked for years by a family member, forced to see hundreds of customers against her will. After several years of terrifying abuse, Mariana found the courage to talk to her teacher who immediately contacted our Home Director to see how we could help Mariana. Our team immediately took on her case and worked with local authorities to bring her into our home so that she would finally be safe and free of exploitation. One of the first things Mariana shared when she came into our home was that she had “felt powerless” against her trafficker and all of the men he allowed to exploit her. 💔

Although Mariana feels safe for the first time in a long time and has loved making friends in our home, she still struggles at night with horrible nightmares of her abuse that often result in her wetting the bed. And as a 13-year-old, this takes a huge toll on her confidence and self-esteem. Mariana said to Kelle Sherpy, our Executive Director, that she was “so ashamed.” But we know her story does not end here.

All of the children in our homes receive one-on-one therapy and weekly group counseling sessions, but our home director and treatment team knew Mariana needed more help as she adjusts, so they made sure she was given additional one-on-one time. With this extra help, we’ve seen Mariana’s face and entire demeanor changed as shame and humiliation were left behind for freedom, hope, and love!

And just last week, Mariana stepped out of her comfort zone and performed at the Christmas program with her friends, singing and dancing and overcoming her fears! Although she was terrified to dance at first, afterward she said, “I’m so glad I did that!” Mariana truly has a beautiful voice and loves to dance, and we love seeing her shine. We are so grateful to cheer her on in her recovery! We do everything we can to provide the individualized therapeutic treatment every child living in our homes needs to live a future filled with freedom and hope. Healing takes time, and our teams do everything they can to provide the healthy environment our kids need to heal.

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