Emily grew up in a single-parent household. As the only daughter, she desperately sought affection and attention from her mother, who she looked up to. Sadly, this was not a reality for Emily: instead of receiving unconditional love and support, she was the victim of physical and mental abuse her entire life. One day, her mother decided she didn’t want to be a parent anymore, and she kicked Emily and her younger brother out of the house.

“I never really had any stability,” says Emily. “All I ever wanted my whole life was for my mom to be there for me, accept me, and love me.” From time to time, she tries to return home to seek her mother’s love and approval… but every time, she is forced to leave once again.

When Emily found out about YOTO, she was overjoyed! Through her good grades and attendance, she earns the maximum stipend amount each month which helps her buy food for her and her brother. She also receives hygiene items from YOTO’s Mini-Mall and checks in regularly with her Student Advocate. “Without YOTO’s support, I don’t know where I’d be,” says Emily. “The guidance and care I receive from my Student Advocate and School Liaison are invaluable…. it’s what I have been missing my whole life, what my mother couldn’t give me.”

A senior in high school, Emily is on track to graduate this spring. She has aspirations to join the Armed Forces and eventually become a police officer.