We help kids like Emily. At 13, she’s already seen more violence at home than most of us see on TV. She’s lonely, hurt, scared and has had to grow up too fast. She numbs her pain by rebelling and sneaking out. She’s sexting and getting involved with older guys, ultimately being used and exploited for her body.
Or there’s Michael. He’s 15, hangs out in his room, living in virtual worlds; isolated, depressed, in a downward spiral of despair. He’s withdrawn from his family, avoids school as much as he can get away with and doesn’t know how to fit in or be sociable in the real world. He ignores his parents, his chores and his homework. He’s starting to believe maybe the world would be better off without him.
Jacob is only 14 but already thinks the rules don't apply to him. He's defiant, disruptive and aggressive. The only way he knows how to cope is to oppose everyone around him. He rebels at school, failing most of his classes. At home, he doesn't listen to his parents, who are desperate to get help and feel as though they've exhaused all their options, and now don’t know where to turn.
Madison was sexually assaulted by someone she knew before she turned 18. She was told she wasn’t worth anything and the assault was what she deserved. Even when the abuse ended, Madison continued to believe the lies she had been told. The nightmares of the abuse continued and she began to act out. At 15, she became promiscuous as a way to cope, but the emotional scars became physical when she began using a razor blade to cut herself.
Hannah grew up in a household with an abusive father who regularly beat her mom. Until recently, Hannah had only witnessed the violence and the emotional scars began to form. At 16, Hannah ran away from home. When the cops found her sleeping on a park bench, they brought her back home. As soon as the police left, that was the first time her father hit her.