135 Years, 135 Stories title image
I Never Thought…But Here I Am Now

STEVONA, Massachusetts

When I was fifteen years old, I participated in something I shouldn’t have. I hung around the wrong group of people and had an “I don’t care attitude.” With that attitude it led me to do what it did and I would spend the next two years of my life at the Fay A. Rotenberg School. I entered Fay A. Rotenberg School in November and had no motivation to really do anything. I only went to school because I had to. I didn’t think about my future or where I will be in five or ten years. I just wanted to count the days down until I was able to go home. I had remorse of what I did but didn’t understand why going to Fay A. Rotenberg would help me change. I was a thick-headed kid and knew no one could help me or would accept anyone help for that matter.

While I was at Fay A. Rotenberg people from Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Corps (RFKCAC) and The National Crittenton Foundation came to talk to us girls. They wanted to know what our dreams where and how we viewed ourselves. I looked at them like “hello do you know what girls you are talking to.” Then they started talking about a success plan. I laughed this off because of the mindset I was in. I didn’t think I would be successful let alone even be able to hold a job, graduate high school or even attend college with my record. To me, I was a troubled kid, who no one wanted to help. That soon changed after talking to some of the people from The National Crittenton Foundation. They got me thinking, they made me gain a little confidence.

I realized, yes with my background I messed up but I still had a shot. I can still make something out of myself and do what I thought was impossible. I figured by starting to take school seriously my success plan would come in handy for the future.

Filling out my success plan was very interesting. Knowing that I was able to be whatever I wanted, I wanted to do everything from save animals, adopt kids and even work in an office building. I worked on my success plan with my clinician and would have input from my advocate. I would often reflect back and think about how I have never thought before of what I wanted to be, what I would do for a job, or even attend college. Working on this gave me the motivation, dedication and goals.

I realized my first goal would be to graduate high school. Something I never thought in a million years I would ever accomplish. I completed that in 2013. That was a proud moment for me and it made me realize that I liked school and wanted to continue on with my education. I surprised myself, and my family, and that gave me the guidance to continue onto my second goal.

My second goal is attend college and obtain a degree in Communications and Social Work. With obtaining these two degrees, I will be able to help kids like me. I see myself working with troubled youth. I want to make a difference in their life like the staff did at Fay A. Rotenberg School. I hope to attain a job at a program like Rotenberg or even have the opportunity to work at Rotenberg. I have already had a conversation with the Director at the Fay A. Rotenberg School and she said she would hire me without a doubt. Hearing this boosted my confidence.

My third goal is to then get my masters degree in Psychology and be a registered clinician. I would like to work with children and their families. I hope to do this in the community where I live now. I admire the people who have stuck with me and have shown me there is another way. While I was filling out the success plan I never thought goals where possible, and here I am now with three major goals that I’ve set to complete in a 5- and 10-year plan.

All through treatment at Fay A. Rotenberg School, clinician, advocate even just a regular staff member, would ask us “Who do you admire the most?” “Who do you look up to?” I started thinking who was there for me when times where rough? Who could I cry to or get a good laugh from? So I have chosen three people who I admire and look up to the most. They are my brother, sister and my boyfriend. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them.

My brother, who I look up to the most, is a positive role model and he is the only one so far to graduate from college with a degree. I want to follow in his footsteps. He has always had a vision for me to succeed and I want nothing more than to walk across the stage at a college graduation and look in the audience and mouth to him “I did it.”

My sister, who I admire a lot, is a single mom who is working so hard so her son can have a great life. She always puts people before herself and loves to give back. I hope to attain her attitude and dedication. She took me in after I left Rotenberg and made sure I was set with school, had new clothes and was already to start my first day of high school. She is my rock and I know that if anything were wrong she would always be there for me.

The last person I look up to is my boyfriend. He has been there through thick and thin. He always has that extra advice for me to go forward and stop looking back. He reassures me that your past is your past don’t dwell in that anymore, you have overcome a lot and there is only a positive future ahead. He keeps me focused and keeps me on track with school. He knows what I want the most and will attain it one day I just need to be patient. These are the three people I admire the most and respect the most. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them.

I once heard a quote “help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours” Les Brown. I came across this in high school and it really stuck with me because I believe it is true. I believe that since people at RFKCAC are helping me full fill my dreams I one day will be able to return the favor.

Stevona Story-RFKCAC