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Because of group care, we have hope ... we have opportunities

It's a good feeling to be here. They don't hit us to make us listen. They talk to us and try to understand us. I don't like all the rules, but I know they're meant to protect us, so that's OK. I feel safe here. I feel like I have a chance to escape my pain. I feel like I can dream and that maybe, some day, I can be a mom. Maybe I can even be a really good mom. --J

I was pregnant with my second child when I first got here ... I had already lost custody of my first child. My life had been so instable already ... I used drugs, I ran away a lot. I didn't think anyone really cared. Until I came here. I haven't run away, I've stopped using drugs. I've given birth to a beautiful baby and I even regained custody of my older child. I've been taking parenting classes, and the staff is helping me transition to an independent life with my family when I turn 18. --M

I've been through a lot. My father abused me, my boyfriend beat me up. When he punched me when I was pregnant, I knew I had to run. If I didn't have Transitions, I don't know what would have happened. The staff really cared about me. They taught me how to take care of myself and my baby. I didn't know I was supposed to take vitamins or go to the doctor when I was pregnant. After my son was born, they helped me learn how to take care of him, like how to hold him and how to comfort him when he cried. But they cared about me, too. They helped me earn my GED and enroll in college. Now I'm on my own, and I know I'll be OK. --T

It was scary sometimes to live with my mom. Most of the time, I had to be the mom to my little brother, too, because he needed someone to take care of him. It was too much to handle. But it was really scary when we got removed. I didn't know what was going to happen. But I ended up here, and it really changed my life. People really cared about me. They helped me with my homework, and they encouraged me to keep trying. They celebrated my birthday with me. They took me to Universal. And they helped me work on my relationship with my dad, which meant the most. I'm really grateful. --S

Jan and Julie, as shared by our staff at Hacienda Girls Ranch:

We welcomed Jan and Julie in the middle of the night. Ages 14 and 11 at the time, the girls had experienced years of turmoil and abuse,
and they had just been removed from a family member’s home after suffering yet again. Both were filled with anger and grief; Julie expressed her pain through acting out, while Jan became very withdrawn.  Neither was interested in participating in activities with the other girls, extra-curricular activities at school, or mentoring or tutoring opportunities.

Though the girls were initially resistant to accept help, they eventually began to trust the staff at Hacienda, which had become their source of stability and safety.  Hacienda has become the one stable home that consistently accepts Jan and Julie with love and support.  They have come to
learn that they have people who love them and that they can count on. 

Jan and Julie have been with us for more than 2 years now and they are flourishing.   Jan, now 16, allows us to see her beautiful smile and she has become  the “Betty Crocker” in the house, often preparing treats for her peers or cooking alongside staff preparing dinner.   Jan is very artistic and compassionate.  She is a good friend to others in the home and is always willing to help out.  She still has a shy side to her, but only
around those she does not know well.  Jan participates openly in her counseling sessions and has formed very strong relationships with certain staff in the home; she relies on our staff to deal with the normal teenage issues of school, peers and relationships. She is also participating on
a recreation softball league and has greatly improved academically. 

Julie, now a teenager at 13, has turned out to be quite the character.  She is very playful in the home and cared for by those peers she once drove crazy.  She is quite the singer and entertainer.  Last semester, with the help and frequent encouragement of staff, Julie participated in her school chorus and the entire Hacienda staff was there to hear her sing at her winter concert.  Julie is a sweet and sensitive young lady who
has begun to face a new set of challenges as she is attending middle school.  Julie continues to work closely with her therapist and her mentor.

At this time, Jan and Julie’s  future is unknown, as the courts will ultimately decide their living arrangements.  However, the maturity and growth these two girls have shown while at Hacienda will certainly lend well to their futures. 

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