Our first featured piece is titled “Now I See,” by AY.
She wrote: “For a long time I was in the dark, but when I came to Bethany, my eyes were opened to so many more opportunities. Bethany is the flashlight I needed in Life.”

A few months ago, AY shared her story:

Taking Advantage of Change

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” – Tim Rohn

Some people think you change as you grow, others think you change when certain circumstances occur. Me? I believe you change only if you want yourself to change, no matter how much you grow or what opportunities are thrown at you. Change is hard, not everybody wants to change and change for the better is even harder. It took me a long time to realize that and being sent to a group home like Bethany Children’s Home helped me realize that a lot.

Growing up changing for the better was not implemented in my life, the survival of the fittest was; growing up with little to no support system didn’t help. I got rejected from my home at a young age and began to misbehave because I had no care in the world. I believed because of where I came from, I had no chance at success in the world. I struggled to find a place to stay so I house hopped as I grew up, got into low-life criminal activities, and didn’t care about my education in school.

Then, one day, I made a big mistake and in doing that, I got thrown into the system (ed: CYS – Children & Youth Services), and from there I went to my first placement. I hated that placement and so I misbehaved got into fights and tried to escape. Then after a few days, I got moved to another placement and continued to do the same. I was there for two years and from being there I changed a lot, but not for the better. It wasn’t until I got ripped out of that placement and into a foster home for less than a week and then moved to Bethany Children’s Home that I began to change.

Adjusting at this new placement was difficult for me. I misbehaved a lot and being the new kid again didn’t help at all. But after having talks with Team Members and spending more time at Bethany, I began to realize that maybe this place does care about their kids and wants them to grow.

I began getting close to the Team Members, slowly opening up to them and getting comfortable with my environment. I started going to art and sports groups to stay active on campus and it helped me cope with my detached feelings of being in a new placement once again.

It was a little rough in the beginning but as time went along my mindset began to change. All this time I was angry at the world for what it did to me, but being mad at the world wasn’t getting me anywhere and it took me this long to realize it. All the things that happened in my life made me stronger and now I would learn from it and do great things. I was grateful for all the things the world and Bethany had to offer: good food, a safe environment, understanding Team Members (especially supervisor), and many more opportunities to grow. Having gratitude for everything I had made me start to change for the better and take advantage of the opportunities Bethany had to offer me.

I even liked Bethany so much after I turned 18 a few days ago that I decided to sign myself back into the system. I was blinded by the thought of freedom and fun before that I was set on leaving once I turned 18, but with the healthy relationships I had with others, they expressed to me the many more opportunities I would have if I stayed at Bethany and it opened my eyes a lot.

Leaving Bethany would result in me going back to my old ways which I didn’t want to do and in staying in Bethany I would get to move up the level systems and eventually get a job and a car and still have a roof over my head and food to eat. How could I give all that up? So I began working hard to show that I did want to stay and take advantage of my opportunities, and now I am on the right path to success and keeping a positive outlook.

Many kids in Bethany who are new or old hate being at Bethany because they have to follow all these rules, and they are away from home. I understand it sucks to be in placement overall but if they realized all the great things Bethany had to offer, their mindset would change. There’s no need to struggle every day to find food or shelter, it’s provided to you. You get to be a kid and focus on school and sports, etc. Bethany even helps pay for sports and college; there are so many opportunities at Bethany it’s crazy and if kids knew all the opportunities they could have I feel that they would do much better at Bethany. Some kids believe that because of where they came from, they can’t be successful, but it doesn’t matter where you came from. What matters is who you choose to be. The advice I would give to other youth at Bethany is everybody has hard times, there’s no doubt about that, but it gets better if you choose to make it better and being in Bethany, you have a million and one opportunities to make it better. So, take advantage of the opportunities Bethany has to offer; some opportunities are only once in a lifetime.

 EDITOR’S UPDATE: AY shared this story upon her first several weeks of arriving at Bethany. Since then, she has graduated high school and has been accepted to a college. She has obtained a job in the community and is preparing to get her driver’s license. AY plans to study international business to make an impact on foreign countries’ child welfare systems.
She is just one of several youth who has made the decision to remain in placement beyond the age of 18 in order to receive further benefits toward being a productive citizen.