When “Marley” was very young she moved to the U.S. to live with her father. She had grown up with her mother, but things weren’t safe at home. She had been experiencing sexual abuse for a long time, and her parents decided together that moving Marley to live with her father was the best way to keep her safe.
Marley wanted the abuse to stop too, but it felt like her life fell apart when she moved away. She missed her mom. She knew the new man she lived with was her father, but he felt like a stranger. She didn’t know English well, so she had a hard time making friends. Her peers began to bully her. Before long, things were as bad as they had been at home: her father began physically abusing her.
When her father kicked her out, Marley knew she should be upset, but she wasn’t. She felt…relieved. She hoped the abuse she’d been experiencing in various ways for her whole life would finally end.
It didn’t take long for Marley’s relief to turn to anxiety. She had no home and looked for a new place to stay almost every night. She bounced around between the few friends she had, and sometimes even stayed with strangers.
Her teachers began noticing strange things in Marley’s life: she was always tired, falling asleep in class. Sometimes she came to school wearing the same clothes for several days in a row. Sometimes they saw her putting an overnight bag in her locker. They reached out and encouraged Marley to apply for Second Story for Homeless Youth.
Marley connected with a Second Story case manager, and found a room to rent with Second Story’s help. Marley even developed a relationship with her landlord, who was eager to support her in any way she could. Marley worked part time while finishing high school, saved money, and bought her own car. Our case manager also connected Marley with a counselor who began to help her cope with the years of abuse she had experienced.
Between the abuse and the language barrier, graduating from high school seemed like an unattainable dream of Marley’s. Everything changed when Marley’s teacher told her about Second Story. She found counseling, support, and encouragement, and this year Marley is a high school graduate!