Betrayed by her family, Amanda once believed she had only herself to rely on. But she left Hays Shelter home knowing that her IYR “family” will always be here to support her into adulthood.               

A police detective showed up at our house one day, told me to pack my things, and brought me to Hays. I missed my mom before we had even left the driveway. This all started because I had been sexually abused by someone in my family, for years, before I found the courage to speak up. But they called me a liar. No one wanted to face it. Not even my mom believed me. There were hearings and interviews, trials, and evidence. By the time I got to Hays I thought there could never be a happy ending.

But I know better now. I’ve learned to not live with grudges—they don’t help. And I have more patience and understanding. I’m one of the oldest kids here, so the younger kids treat me like their big sister. They look up to me and I get to teach them things and I really love that. I’ve been learning about all the opportunities I have ahead of me and getting excited about the future. I’m going to apply for an IYR college scholarship after I graduate.

I’ll miss everyone here when I leave, but Hays has really helped me a lot and I feel ready to move on with my life.

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