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Breaking the Cycle

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One of our program graduates recently applied for -- and received -- an Idaho Youth Ranch scholarship. Her application letter told the story of a courageous transformation, made possible by so many generous IYR donors and community partners. Anna came to us struggling against tremendous obstacles, but she is now on her way to college with a clear life direction.

Anna grew up with family members who were addicts, became homeless and then was sent to live with relatives. She had to move multiple times, did poorly in one school after another, got into increasingly more serious trouble—until she found the Idaho Youth Ranch through Hays Shelter Home.

Thanks to her time at Hays, she found the motivation and support she needed to believe in herself and focus on her schoolwork for the first time in her life. Her grades soared and she graduated from high school with pride and because it was an accomplishment she hadn’t believed she would ever be capable of.

“The biggest accomplishment for me was breaking the cycle my family had created for me,” Anna wrote in her application letter.

During her sophomore year in high school, Anna discovered a talent for accounting and passed a tough test that only a few experienced junior and seniors were able to pass. “My grade was so close to 100% that the teacher hung it on the wall because he had never given a 100% grade in his class. This achievement helped me choose accounting as my career.”

After describing her education and life goals for the scholarship committee, Anna closed her application letter with a powerful promise to herself.

“These are my goals and if I do not accomplish them I know I could be stuck living in a trailer park with my dad the rest of my life. This is quite a motivator, a scenario I cannot let happen. I know I’m better than that. Eventually, I will have my own family and they will not have to go through what I’ve had to go through. Getting to that point is my ultimate goal, breaking the old chain and beginning a new cycle in my family history, starting with something no one else in my family has ever done:  graduating from college.”

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