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Tabitha ready to start the next chapter

April 23, 2015

Tabitha

Tabitha expects good things to happen.

More importantly, she expects good things to happen to her.

“I think I’m ready to receive good things and accept accomplishments,” she said. “I’ve done a lot better for myself lately.”

Tabitha abused drugs with her family and grew up around them. She didn’t go to school, staying home to protect her younger sisters from the abuse of their parents. At age 17, Tabitha told a school counselor about her situation, and they were taken from the home. Her parents were recently charged and faced a sentencing hearing. Tabitha, now almost 20, was in the court room.

“I wanted to be there,” she said. “I wanted to be able to close the door on that chapter of my life.”

Her foster home was fantastic. There, she was allowed to be a teenager and received positive attention. She finished high school and entered Youth Villages’ transitional living program, YVLifeSet, where she began to thrive. She found a job, learned money management and got an apartment. She enrolled in college and would like to go into the social work field.

“When she first started, we went over those things youth face transitioning to adulthood,” said Audrey Covington, YVLifeSet specialist. “But the effects of her environment were still there. It was a big step for her to get out there and begin making a life. Tabitha needed consistency and needed to know she had support.”

Tabitha recently purchased a new car. She also maintains a job and full course load at school. She was also named a YV scholar, awarded to youth in the YVLifeSet program who receive extra support to attend college, provided they maintain rigorous academic and community service requirements.

“Now we’re focused on balancing all the different aspects of her life,” Covington said. “We still have to go over coping skills and work through her past. We also work on self esteem and maintaining healthy relationships.”

Tabitha has come a long way in just a few short years. She regularly visits her sisters, who were adopted by their foster parents. She reads a lot, and carries herself with more confidence and assurance.

“She wants to help younger people going through what she did,” Audrey said. “She’s gone from being a victim to learning how to be an advocate.”

“It’s cool to be a YV scholar,” Tabitha said. “Now, I feel like I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to. No girl should have to go through what I did, and want to be in a position to help those who have.”

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