Student Opens Up About Childhood Trauma
As she entered her senior year, Jenny was on her own. Her father had been in jail since she was in middle school, and she chose to part ways with her mother, who often forgot to buy groceries because she was using drugs, during her sophomore year.
For most kids, leaving home at age 16 might mark the first bad decision in a string of unfortunate events. For Jenny, it was the opposite. She began living with a friend’s family. This came with several new responsibilities like being responsible for paying for all of her food and expenses, but it would prove to be a move in the right direction.
Unfortunately, student homelessness isn’t an isolated issue affecting a handful of students in our region. During the 2017-18 school year, roughly 7,000 homeless students were identified in the Kansas City metro area. Fortunately, there are people, like you, who make this work possible.
Jenny was successful in hiding her situation at school until the beginning of her senior year. After opening up to her counselor, she was referred to The Family Conservancy (TFC). In her first meeting with her TFC case manager, Jenny focused the conversation on her personal goals and didn’t want to discuss her emotions. She feared that by talking about her emotions, she would come across as weak.
After a few months in the program, Jenny began to feel safe enough to open up to her case manager. She recognized that she could not internalize her emotions forever. She began to discuss the difficult aspects of her past and present — some of which she had never shared with anyone before. Jenny and her case manager discussed the differences between healthy and toxic relationships and Jenny strived to reduce the toxic relationships in her life, and seek out individuals who supported her and made her feel confident.
Throughout her senior year, Jenny juggled a very heavy schedule. She was a full-time student, worked two jobs, and took classes to get a professional trade certificate. Her case manager ensured that Jenny had resources for food and clothing. Working together, Jenny and her case manager created a system that helped her successfully manage her very busy schedule.
By March of her senior year, with support and encouragement from her case manager, Jenny had been awarded over $55,000 worth of scholarships to a local university. As graduation arrived and her time with The Family Conservancy came to an end, Jenny said she was most proud of having a better understanding of her emotions and feeling more connected with them.
This year, TFC served 38 high school student experiencing homelessness. Of participating seniors who completed the program, 96 percent graduated — far exceeding average graduation rates.
You helped make this possible, and you can make it possible again with a donation today.