Gloria* arrived at a partnering children’s home feeling lost. Her home environment was tumultuous, and at a very young age, she took on parental responsibilities for her younger brothers. She carried this into her new home, not realizing it wasn’t required of her. She struggled to connect with others, wasn’t interested in school, and her grades reflected it.
A month after transitioning into the children’s home, Gloria was given the time to study, ask questions, and be a 12-year old girl. The results were reflected in her grades – she rose to the top of her class. “Gloria’s previous living arrangements didn’t allow for a lot of quiet space,” shared Lisa and Rick Bursey, Back2Back staff. “She lacked supplies and transportation to school. She prioritized caring for her brothers over investing in her own education.” Gloria needed the consistency of safe adults advocating on her behalf to be a child and a student.
It only took a few months before Gloria realized two important things about herself – she could do well in school, and even more, she wanted to do well. Back2Back staff rallied around her, “No matter what you want to do or study, we are here for you.”
Today Gloria is 18-years old, a young woman who uses her voice. Just three years ago, she went to Lisa and Rick and asked to transfer to a tech school with a more rigorous curriculum. “I want to study medicine, and this school will help me prepare for that future,” she told the Burseys, who immediately said yes and offered unwavering support.
Gloria is now a part of the Hope Education Program, and is the first from this partnering children’s home. She is studying nutrition, and has been part of the program since July. She set her path at an early age and has remained determined. She visits her brothers in the family-like environment she grew up in at the children’s home. Through her grit and determination, she’s leaving a legacy for the younger children to follow.
“When we discuss future plans with the other kids here, it’s never if I get to the Hope Program, but when I get to the Hope Program,” shared Lisa.
This is the power of advocacy and support at work in the life of a vulnerable child. It only takes one to bravely show those watching that they, too, can do far more than imagined.