Hi, my name is Danielle.
I am 19 years old and I live in the Sasha Bruce Transitional Living Program, also known as TLP. I hope you all don’t mind, but I’ll tell you all a little of how I came to be where I am right now.
For a very long time I’ve had to deal with things such as depression and abuse. The situation I was in at home was no good at all. Since I can remember, I was getting yelled at every single day, being told that I was nothing and that i would never amount to anything. I was beaten sometimes, I stopped going to school, I wasn’t working, I was going in and out of the hospital because I just couldn’t manage. It was…difficult. I essentially gave up.
I got involved In a program called Young Ladies of Tomorrow, which is where I met a girl named Jasmine who worked for Sasha Bruce. When I told her about my situation at home, she got me an interview with a woman named Mercedes to get into the Sasha Bruce Transitional Living Program.
I procrastinated to complete things after the interview, mainly because I thought the abuse that was happening at home was my fault. But I learned that this wasn’t true.
Food denial isn’t normal. Threatening a kid every chance you got to throw them on the street isn’t normal. Calling someone a loser because you’re irritated isn’t normal, especially when that person is your kid. We didn’t know at that point, but my mom had serious mental health problems. Physical and emotional abuse were an everyday thing.
One night, I was physically assaulted—I was dragged out of my room by my hair, and the situation became very dangerous. I stayed up and cried and I didn’t know what i’d do because I knew I had to leave. I called Jasmine that night, and she told me I had to leave as soon as possible. The next morning, I was gone—and luckily they had space in the Transitional Living Program.
I remember the first morning I woke up in TLP. It was quiet. This may not seem like much to you, but to me it was phenomenal. It was quiet. No one was screaming at me, no one was talking down to me or insulting me. It was quiet, and I was safe, and I was so happy about that.
Currently, I passed two parts of my pre-GED! I work for Sasha Bruce in a program called POWER, which teaches sexual health, and teaches youth how to take care of themselves, and wellness. Man, I love it so much. I get to go out into the community and meet people. I get to be a resource. Every single day i’m out helping people in situations similar to mine. For example, just the other day, a very close friend of mine came to me saying she would possibly be thrown out by her mother, so I was very quick to refer her to the Drop-In Center. This program is impossibly important and the things it does is amazing.
I am so grateful for the opportunities and possibilities I have in my life right now. I have worth and that’s just something so amazing to me. I never would have found that out about myself. And I have all the people at Sasha Bruce, and you all, to thank for that.
Thank you for listening, and thank you for giving to programs like Sasha Bruce.