Carly’s father was incarcerated and her mother was never part of her life, so she lived with her grandparents since she was an infant. Her grandfather struggled with alcoholism for many years, but eventually his addiction spiraled out of control. On repeated occasions, he tried to have sex with her. Her grandmother – who was on mood stabilizers and battled with her own mental illness – couldn’t protect her granddaughter. Carly lived in fear and shame until her grandfather eventually left and her grandmother passed away.

Carly is a junior and now lives with her boyfriend – one of the only sources of support in her life. Since hearing about YOTO from one of her teachers, she regularly uses services – from her monthly bus pass to receiving emergency gift cards to shopping at the Mini-Mall. More than the material support, Carly said she appreciates having the attention and guidance from YOTO staff and volunteers. “We can come to YOTO and have someone to actually talk to,” she said. “The staff is friendly, and they actually WANT to help. Even the items are incredibly helpful, especially since some days I have nothing.”

Since being in YOTO, Carly’s grades have shot up – from F’s to B’s! She is back on track to graduate with her peers in 2018. Her ultimate goal is to someday raise a family in a better, more loving household than she grew up in.