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(*Names have been changed to honor the confidentiality of youth.)

My New Year’s Resolution

This year I plan to change my lifestyle, because the past is the past and now I’m looking forward to my future. I plan to get my education and renew my mind, knowing that drugs and violence are not the only things in life to experience.

So I am going to start from scratch and use my intelligence, try to stay away from negativity, because when ever somebody like me wants to do right, it seems there is always someone trying to bring you down. But I’m strong now. I already know what will happen to me if I let anyone bring me down because when I was in Youth Guidance Center I had a wake up call and found out it isn’t worth going to jail for smoking weed or drinking alcohol.

I’m going to take one step at a time because most of the time when you rush your goals you get frustrated and give up. That’s why you need to take it slow and be patient.

This is the dawn of my new life, and I am ready to change so I can let people know that you can always change yourself and your ways, if you push yourself to do what you really want to do. - Bruce

Building Leaders

I, Melinda, have been in YTEC for a year now and I came to YTEC for a violation of probation and a dirty U.A. I was violating probation by using marijuana, violating my curfew and not following my mother’s house rules. I was on a road to destruction. I was hanging out with the wrong group of friends, cutting school and staying out late at night. I was going through mental and emotional problems; rebelling was my only cry for help. Substance use was my way to escape from all the problems. The last time I smoked marijuana I was violated and sent to YTEC.

This program has been one of the most amazing things that has happened to me. I now have been clean for one year and one month. I have graduated from high school and I have learned things about myself that I always didn’t believe about myself. I am now learning how to heal the pain within and positive ways to deal with my problems and how to let go of the past and move forward though life clean and sober, having fun and being a teenager again.

I am looking forward to college and I am now working in the Leadership Program at YTEC, with a bright future ahead of me. I believe that a leader is someone who was once in need and gives back to those who are now in the situation that they were once in, by using the things they have learned and that helped them. Being a leader helps me to stay focused and motivates me to continue to do the right thing as I move though life. I am looking forward to strengthening my leadership skills because of the feeling that it gives me; the feeling of being a leader is a strong and proud feeling to have. It gives me satisfaction within myself and nothing is a better feeling. Being a leader comes from within and showing others how to find the leader within themselves and helps them to do the right thing and that is what motivates you and helps you to continue to be a leader.

Recovering Dreams

My name is Jessica and I am 18 years old. I had a rough childhood. There were a lot of issues in my life such as sexual abuse, adoption, and death. I found an escape by using marijuana. Soon marijuana wasn’t good enough, so I turned to harder drugs. During my addiction I faced many more traumatic experiences and gave up hope for my future. The only goal I had was to get more drugs and I went to great lengths to get it.

After many years of my life revolving around drugs and many failed attempts at recovery, I was placed in a long-term residential treatment facility called Walden House. I was there for 17 months. The first 3 months I struggled to see that I was an addict and that I needed help. I soon realized that I was sick and tired of being tired. I worked through my issues and went to therapy on a regular basis. I developed a sense of who I am, and I realized my potential. They taught me the skills I need to stay on the road to recovery.

After completing the program, I went to work with the YTEC Leadership program. There I was given the opportunity to put to use the potential I realized I had. As I said before, I had given up on my future and my dreams. I never thought I would make it to college. Through Leadership, I am currently attending City College, maintaining two and a half years of sobriety and I have accumulated work experience and job skills that I will need for the future. My goal is to become a counselor and give back what was given to me.