When 17 year-old Marco* came to Your House South, StarVista’s home for runaway and former foster youth, he was struggling with a myriad of issues: the loss of his parents, abuse and abandonment by his subsequent caregivers, and conflicting feelings regarding his sexual orientation and identity. Toughened by years of trauma and betrayal, Marco protected himself from further hurt and disappointment by building a wall of isolation.
Unwilling and unable to process the untold circumstances that led him to Your House South, Marco initially refused to talk. But his counselors remained consistent, offering him support, safety, compassion, and a place of trust. Gradually, Marco began to see that others in the program were dealing with similar challenges and that the counselors had no other objective but to help.
Through individual therapy, Marco began to open up about the loss of his parents, and feeling unloved and unwanted. He also began exploring his identity, including his sexual orientation. With the support of his fellow residents and staff, Marco learned that trust was necessary to establish meaningful relationships with others. His first step in allowing that trust back into his life was to come out in group therapy. It was a pivotal and seminal moment of healing.
Just over one year later, Marco reached out to update his counselors on his progress. He proudly informed them that he is now attending community college and is in a healthy, trusting relationship. Thanks to the support he received from the staff and residents at Your House South, Marco’s past will not define his future. In fact, his future is now looking much brighter than he’d ever imagined.
*Names and identifying features have been changed to protect client confidentiality.