HALO Founder Rebecca Welsh writes:
“Instead of going to dances and games and Central Dairy with friends, she spent her days and nights caring for a family member who physically couldn’t care for himself. She lived in a basement with him and couldn’t keep up with the demands of her classes. She was headed toward failure, so far behind at 19 years old, and still trying desperately to finish high school. She was 25 assignments behind. 25.
All the while, she knew deep down there was something more for her. So after reaching out to HALO, one day she packed up every ounce of her courage and a black garbage bag of her few things. She hopped on that school bus one last time and when class was out that day she was taken by a HALO house mom to her new world. It was a place where she had her own safe place to sleep, where she would never be screamed at, where she is not being told she is worthless and stupid, where she didn’t have to change someone’s bedpan, where she could live and rest and breathe and grow and become the girl she was meant to be. She made friends. She had her hair cut. She wore a beautiful dress, make-up and her first corsage to prom. And those 25 assignments? She nailed them. Then one beautiful May night she walked across a stage with her peers, her heart overflowing with self-worth as a her HALO Family screamed her name, and they then had a huge graduation party for her.
She came to us at a pivotal point, which is where we meet so many of the kids we support. They know deep down they are missing something, that there is something more out there for them but they just have never been given a chance. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone say, “They are too far gone once they are teenagers.” No, they are not. They just need to be in a place where they can experience the love of a family and are open to healing. They need to be told to listen to the voice inside them that is telling them they are worth more, they deserve more, and they never have to live the way they have again. Because that is the voice of truth.
Is it easy? No. It’s incredibly messy and hard and the things they have to heal from are unimaginable. Has it been easy for this one? Not for one second. But not for one second did we lose faith in her. It takes faith and perseverance on her part and on ours.
This one, this one has persevered. And we are bursting with pride and gratitude. This is perseverance at its best. #HALOHero”