Jessie witnessed her mother viciously attack her sister, nearly killing her.   A friend convinced her to reach out   for help. “Youth On Their Own   literally saved my life,” Jessie said.

YOTO staff informed DCS of the ongoing abuse, which prompted an investigation. “The DCS caseworkers didn’t believe me. Because my parents were above the poverty line, they assumed I was just a problem teenager trying to run away.” Jessie was eventually removed from her mother’s custody and placed in a group home after her mother admitted during a family therapy session to abusing her daughters.”

“When I arrived at the group home, they told me I was not allowed to bring any of my belongings. They handed me a bar of soap, a crusty towel that was no larger than a wash cloth, pointed me to a bed with filthy sheets and gave me a blanket to roll up and use as a pillow. ”

Jessie again reached out to Youth On Their Own. “My YOTO Student Advocate brought me food, clothing, hygiene supplies and a towel, all in a purple cloth YOTO bag. I kept the bag and looked at it every day because it reminded me that someone out there cared.” According to Jessie, “I was held accountable to do well in school. It was a hand up, not a hand out. Thank you so much for everything!”