Snippets of Student Stories

 
Angela, her sister and their mother,  were in a car accident as a result of an uninsured drunk driver. The two girls were not severely injured, but their mother may never walk normally again—and continues to undergo reconstructive surgeries. Angela’s father now works three jobs, which barely provides for their family. In addition, her sister battles a chronic illness and requires special care, so many household and caregiving responsibilities fall on Angela. She is easily frustrated, and prior to connecting with AACY,  her frustrations would manifest in violent episodes. Now, though,  Angela has made new friends and realizes that she is not alone. She continues to learn how to handle her struggles in a positive manner by discussing them, and seeking alternative options to violence.
 
 
Georgia’s mother contracted measles as a young adult, and her health declined rapidly when she gave birth to her daughter. She was hospitalized for a year afterwards and became paralyzed from the neck down. Georgia is now 17 years old and for the past 3 years, has been the sole caregiver for her mother, who has a gastrostomy tube and requires help with everyday routines. Additionally, Georgia maintains their home and finances. With all of her adult responsibilities, she needs extra support.
 
Alex is a local high school student whose father has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). At 15 years old, Alex helps with administering medications, his father’s exercise, and cooking diet-appropriate meals. He also manages most household duties, including cleaning, washing laundry, mowing the lawn, etc. After his caregiver responsibilities are taken care of, he begins his homework. It remains difficult for Alex to focus because even when he is at school, he knows what responsibilities he must face when he returns home.
 
 
 
Nick’s mother has been battling HIV,  and, over the past few years, her health has deteriorated. His father died two years ago, leaving Nickolaus—a 13-year-old middle school student—as his mother’s primary caregiver. He does the grocery shopping, cooks meals, cleans, and takes care of the laundry and other household responsibilities. More importantly, he tends to his mother’s medication and immediate needs to ensure her comfort. As a consequence, Nick has little time and energy for academics, sports, and socializing. After joining the CYP, and receiving tutoring at home, Nick has improved his grades and overall well-being. "I found out there are more people that do the things I do, and some do more," he said. "Now, I'm getting As and Bs, and feel more confident in school."
 
 
Before the CYP, Markyla had little time to be a typical 12 year old. She lives with her mother, brother, and ill grandparents. Markyla’s grandfather has cancer, and her grandmother has multiple physical ailments. Her mother works full time, so Markyla takes care of most household and caregiving responsibilities; she cooks, cleans, assists her grandmother in basic self-care, and helps her grandfather with his oxygen tank and medications. Through the CYP, Markyla realizes that she is not alone. She has found support among new friends and AACY staff, as she develops skills to better balance school, socializing, and caregiving responsibilities.