“I had a lot of issues,” Shawna, a 15-year-old former resident of The Village Network’s girls’ residential home says. Though she’s more comfortable looking out the window, she makes an effort to keep eye contact with those listening to her story. Shawna has faced trauma, specifically physical abuse from family members. As a result of the trauma, she developed severe depression and inflicting harm upon herself. A caseworker suggested that she stay with The Village Network and complete therapy.
Shawna lived at the girls’ home for 5 months, and has now successfully graduated from the program. Her teacher says, “Shawna has grown tremendously. She has gained confidence and she is a great example for the other girls.”
She credits much of her growth to staff at the TVN residence. She says, “This is a place I feel comfortable. Everyone who works here is helpful.” She also says that, “having the other girls around helps,” and it has taught her how to better interact with different kinds of people.
During her stay at the residence, Shawna said she found a new coping skill: writing. “I discovered that I love poetry and now I use it as a coping skill instead of my old negative coping habits.”
Because of Shawna’s progress and behavior, the staff rewarded her with important leadership roles. Shawna served as a host and mentor when a new girl arrived to stay at the home. She gave them tours of the house, introduced them to the other girls and helped them get situated in their surroundings.
In warm regard, Shawna says, “I will definitely miss the staff. They just want you to get better.”