Girls who participated in the nationwide NGI listening sessions told us that they really want to hear from other girls about what has helped them. They need to hear success stories: how other girls made it and what helped them. They also want a place to share with other girls.
This page includes quotes from girls from cities, small towns, and all different walks of life about what helped them get through rough times and back on track. Their answers include people, activities, resources, and self-exploration.
“It was hard. I was the caretaker of my mother. What social workers don’t understand is that you don’t tell what is really going on because you know it will get your family in trouble. My mom used drugs all the time and I took care of my two little brothers and my mother. I never told because I knew my mom would get in trouble. And I felt so guilty. The social workers never tell you how they will help your mom. And I didn’t want to be taken away from my little brothers. All of the girls said it would help if we knew that our moms would get help—that our family wouldn’t just be punished. I thank my stepmom. She showed me that my life could be so different—that I could go to college. I have things I never dreamed I could have. I got out because I got pregnant; I wanted a different life for my baby and me. I just knew I wanted a life different than my family had. Adults need to understand that we feel torn. We feel guilty if we want a better life than our parents; we feel bad that our mothers are using drugs. We protect them. But we want a better life. Girls need hope—to know that their life can really be different.”
- “I don’t mess up here because I want to be there for my little sister. I have been in programs since I was 12 and a half years old. I was in a program when my mother died.”
- “When I needed help my grandma was there for me. She talked to me about my problems. We need people to talk to, especially elders.”
- “Talking with my counselor.”
- “A therapist let me know how to express my perspective.”
- “A therapist sharing things that could help.”
- “My high school principal came to visit with me when I was at the detention home. I couldn’t believe he knew about me or cared about me.”
- “My grandfather talking to me.”
- Becoming more involved in sports, school, and a good job.
- Stress release balls.
- Yoga, meditation, breathing
- “Positive distractions” such as sports, cheerleading, dance, and youth nights at churches that had fun things to do just for teens were a big help because they kept girls busy and engaged and did not give them a lot of time to sit around and think about trouble or think about their problems.
- Programs that are out of one’s environment and expose girls to new cultures/environments/things they haven’t seen before.
- “Changing schools, hanging out with different kids.”
- Changing back to the group they were involved with before getting in trouble or to a completely new group was one of the most helpful things.
- “Learn who cares about me the most.”
- “Stay focused about myself.”
- “Learn to grow.”
- “Looking forward to the future instead of looking back at the past.”
- “A plan—what happened last time is they just cut me out of the system and I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t know where I was going to go, what I was going to do.”
Activities and Resources
- “Having a hobby, keeping yourself busy – staying in contact with support systems.”
- A job
- “Spiritual program that involved going to the ocean/marine program.”
- Alternative learning programs with teachers who are very involved with students’ progress.
- “A structured environment—National Guard Youth Challenge—five-month residential program and got GED.”
- “Centers for safety—drop-in centers, but need ones that also provide places to stay/sleep. Just getting meals/showers, etc., was good, but still left on my own at night is really tough and led to bad stuff.”
National Crittenton Foundation
Compilation of stories from young women about their life experiences as younger girls and how they got help to turn their lives around.