I’ll start by saying thank you to those of you who have helped me along the way.

I’ve been helped by many people in many ways. I tell myself a lot it’s the little things that count and it’s true. When in the moment it’s often hard to see the big picture or the main point clearly. For someone who has struggled with depression that’s a lot said. Oftentimes things are easier said than done, but it’s up to us to keep going and keep fighting for change and to be happy with who we are. We don’t need to change who we are to please others, and I finally realized that. I was so obsessed with how those around me saw me and the need to fit into a social group, but success is about breaking the stigma and standing out, to be noticed, to be different. It’s ok to be different and it’s ok to be not liked, because in today’s world wanting more for yourself makes you different from everyone else.

I was born in Pensacola, Florida but had moved away in 2012 when my sister’s passed away. Life wasn’t easy without them. Sometimes to this day I still mourn their death. I moved back to Pensacola this year in June. Things were different because it was amidst of a pandemic and I haven’t been here in years. I left everything behind when I moved back home. I only knew one place to go, which was my godparents’ house. I’ve been blessed to have them. They love me unconditionally. After being in Pensacola for a few weeks, I thought about looking for work and applying for college. For a while, I had felt loss as I was still battling depression and social anxiety. A good friend of the family had spoken to me about an outreach program for teens in similar situations as I was in. She had got in contact with them and scheduled a meeting with them to talk to me. I was introduced to Mrs. Cowen and Mrs. McQueen who has helped me tremendously along the way. The both of them helped me apply to college, even though I decided to wait, and get accepted. They’ve helped me get out of my comfort zone and meet new people and how to build a relationship with someone. So I thank both Mrs. Cowen, Mrs. McQueen, and the entire Street Solutions Outreach team.

Although I changed my mind about college I still plan to attend, but at the moment, I plan to go into the U.S Navy. I’m only postponing college for basic training. The Street Solutions team has opened doors, possibilities, and let me see that my life is just as important as anyone else’s is. I’m grateful for the resources that they have given me and I wish every teen who’s struggling with something or needs help with anything knew how caring and supporting Street Solutions has been to me and the opportunities they have to offer. While working with them I earned my phlebotomy certification and my food handlers certification. I will continue to use the knowledge I have learned from them to grow as a person and spread love, peace, and support throughout the world to the best of my ability. I hope that anyone who reads this, that’s struggling with something, speak up and speak out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help because it’s out there. Other people may be closing doors on you, but maybe you’re not knocking at the right door.

Live life as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever – Mahatma Gandhi.