Peyton has known nothing but struggle and hardship from the very beginning: at a young age, she was removed from her home by the Department of Child Safety because of her mother’s substance abuse issues. She always did what she needed to do in order to survive, staying with friends and distant family members for short periods of time, until her stay was no longer welcome. After hopping from couch to couch for consecutive 3 years, Peyton – now a high school student – finally got the beacon of hope she’d been waiting for: a friend told her about the YOTO program and how she could receive assistance in exchange for good grades and attendance. She met with her School Liaison and instantly knew felt at home. Aside from the basic needs support that YOTO provided, the greatest impact for Peyton was how welcoming and comforting YOTO staff and volunteers were. She never felt out of place and knew that she could always rely on YOTO when she needed it the most. After Peyton graduates from high school in 2017, she plans to get a job and attend college with the goal of becoming either a doctor or a therapist.

In Peyton’s own words: “I am very thankful for Youth On Their Own. It is so helpful to know that I can walk in every week to get food, clothing, a bus card, and the monthly stipend that I earned through my good grades. I didn’t have a lot – or the ability to get what I needed – until Youth On Their Own came along.”