Before Crossroads for Kids, I think most people thought I was a “good kid.” I got good grades and didn’t really get into trouble. But there was a lot going on beneath the surface. My mom was struggling with personal issues, which made my life chaotic and I never knew what to expect at home - I felt like the mom and was just trying to figure it all out on my own.
When I came to Crossroads for Kids, I tried to hide like I did in school but it didn’t work. The staff knew what I was doing because they saw it every day and they pushed me out of my comfort zone. I didn’t really like it at first; I wanted them to leave me alone! But they kept trying to bring me around and they did; they showed me that adults could be trusted. For the first time, I felt understood and it was a like a load being lifted but was also really scary. When I finally broke down and told my story, I was shaking because I was so angry and I didn’t even know that I had those feelings.
Crossroads’ year-round programs helped me stay happy when I went back home. I still got to see my new friends and counselors and didn’t feel like I was on my own again. My Crossroads weekends were my “me” time where I felt I could do things for myself and my future. They gave me the opportunity to go on college tours, to participate in community service projects, to get help with my homework and to interact with my peers.
Entering Crossroads for Kids’ staff-in-training Apprentice Program was one of the best decisions of my life. I bonded with kids who struggled with the same things I had gone through and I became their role model. One camper in particular was attached at my hip, an eight-year-old boy named Brayden. He was really angry, a little hyper and looking for guidance. We became fast friends and he taught me how good it felt to be there for someone. I knew I would never forget him, but I had no idea the effect I had on him. On the last day of camp, he spotted me from across the parking lot, ran, and gave me one of the biggest hugs I’d ever had. In that moment, I realized that I could make a difference in other people’s lives the way that Crossroads had changed mine.
Today, I am preparing to enter my freshman year at Tufts University and am so excited to share this next step in my life with my Crossroads family who have been there helping me decide what schools to apply to and supporting me at every major milestone.
After nine years with Crossroads, I have learned that life isn’t about the cards you’ve been dealt: It’s about how you use them. Though my experiences do not define me, they certainly motivate me. Crossroads for Kids has shown me that life is there for the taking; all I have to do is ask for help and be open to whatever is going to come my way.