I am thirteen. My mother has never attended school and doesn’t know how to read. She has looked towards alcohol and prostitution for an escape. My going to school is not very important to her and there’s been years I have never went. I have difficulties with learning and I have several failed attempts to pass first grade. Some believe that maybe my mom drank when she was pregnant with me, which may be the cause of my learning disability. Now, not all schools will accept me. My chances of graduating are slim. This does not seem to be important to my mom. When I have gone to school, she isn’t there as most moms are, making sure I go when I don’t want to. There are so many people that come and go in our small tin roof, wood makeshift and dirt- floor home. I do not even know them all. Many of them drink and do drugs looking for a good time right in front of me. My aunt and two cousins sleep in the same one-room house. Because of not having good influences around me, I didn’t know what was a healthy way to communicate. Many times I would make inappropriate sexual gestures and touch myself in incorrect ways. 

Since I have been in the House of Refuge, there has always been food available for me and my younger brother. They have found a school that would accept me. I have tried to learn, but because of my mom's inconsistency of sending me, they no longer are taking me. Now the center is working on a special education school that will hopefully accept me. I do not have as much time to run around in the street like before. They intervened for me and talked to me about what is healthy sexual relationship and I don’t act out sexually as I did before. My mom, she’s very shy and doesn’t like to look people in the eye. She has been hurt and beaten down by life, that she has a hard time defending and expressing herself. The House of Refuge is giving her parenting classes and the psychologist has a weekly session with her and they also have parenting classes monthly. Now I’m a fun-loving and active preteen that loves giving hugs.