05.26.2017

Realizing My Worth

By Victoria, High School Sophomore

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When I was six, my father was deported to Mexico. It was hard for my mom on her own with us kids, and she started dating someone who was abusive and got her hooked on drugs.  Sometimes she’d leave for work and be gone for a month at a time, leaving my sister and I in the care of our older brother. We did the best we could to get by on our own. When I was ten, the police came to our house. We found out later that my mom asked a friend to call the cops so that we could get taken into foster care. The three of us were moved to a foster home, and my sister and I were eventually adopted by our foster parents, Lanitta and Michael.

My Education Specialist Abby and I at Treehouse’s Champions for For Foster Kids Luncheon, where I shared my story with a crowd of 1200 people!

I probably wouldn’t be in school and striving for success if I hadn’t been placed with my adoptive parents. Growing up, my birth mom would tell me I couldn’t do  things, and I grew up thinking I wasn’t capable of much. But when I moved in with Lanitta, she signed me up for cross country. I remember telling her, “I can’t do that!” But she insisted. Then she signed me up for gymnastics and I thought, “I can’t do that!” but the voice wasn’t as loud because I knew I had someone who believed in me.

When I first met my Treehouse Education Specialist Abby, she had heard from my adoptive mom that I didn’t easily trust people. I remember at our first meeting Abby told me: ‘I’m going to work my way to earn your trust.’ Every week she showed up to meet with me. Her actions spoke louder than her words and I started to think, “This lady might be serious.”

Abby is kind of like my older sister. She holds me accountable and encourages me. Every week we meet to talk about school and life, and we set goals. Last year I was having a hard time turning in all my assignments, but I wanted to get A’s and B’s. Abby emailed me every night to remind me to get off my tablet and do my homework. By the end of the semester, my grades went up.

Treehouse has been supporting me and my sister since we went into foster care. We’ve shopped in The Wearhouse for clothes and school supplies. Little Wishes has paid for my sports fees. They even paid for me to attend a cross country invitational at Stanford for four days with my team. The trip inspired me to reach for even higher goals. It was the experience of a lifetime, and I can’t thank Treehouse enough.

One of my long-term goals is to become a nurse so I can help kids. I know it’s a hard thing to accomplish, but I like having to work toward something not everyone else can achieve. People all along the track of my life have encouraged me—my sister and brother, Lanitta and Michael, Abby, my sports coaches and Treehouse. They are all saying, “You can do this!” and now I believe them.

 

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About the Author

Victoria is one of the 600+ youth in the Treehouse Graduation Success program preparing to graduate from high school and pursue their dreams.


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