From the outside, you can’t help but notice the bright purple door and warm glow from the windows of Second Story for Teens in Crisis (SSTC) on Gallows Road in Northern Virginia. That cozy optimism extends inside, where important work takes place. One by one, teens like “Sandy” come to SSTC to find a safe haven, where they can step back from their complicated and challenging lives to receive necessary counseling and support, and begin on a better path forward.
For many years, Sandy experienced abuse right alongside her mother. Her father’s violence in the home took a serious toll, both physically and mentally. Even though her father eventually left, the pain Sandy and her mom felt remained and negatively impacted their close bond. They started to fight and eventually it got physical. At that point, they turned to SSTC for support.
First, Second Story provided Sandy with a safe place to stay and crisis-focused counseling. She revealed that she had been contemplating self-harm and her counselor provided coping tools. Then, both Sandy and her mother participated in family counseling sessions to deal with their past experiences and work on improving their relationship.
Within a short time, Sandy was able to return home safely. She and her mother continued their joint counseling sessions and felt ready to move forward in their lives, leaving the violence behind.
SSTC offers a temporary safe haven for young people ages 13 to 17, like Sandy. They can stay for up to three weeks at a time and receive individual, group, and family counseling, as well as assistance with their education. Staff and counselors help the teens achieve goals set for themselves relating to improving relationships at home, processing emotions productively, and coping with past trauma. Second Story’s goal is always to reunite families whenever possible and safe.
To learn more about Second Story for Teens in Crisis, as well as Second Story’s other programs, join us for a virtual Open Door Session.
“Sandy’s” name, image, and identifying details have been changed to protect privacy.