Isabela, a Florida teen, was on a path that no one wants for their child. She and her mother had a crumbling relationship. Isabela refused to abide by her mother’s rules, exhibited blatant disrespect and had shown signs of violence to her mother on multiple occasions. Isabela attempted to run away from home, had a history of drug use and was ultimately, ungovernable.
Ungovernable, however, does not equate to a lost cause. Isabela and her family were introduced to LSF when she was referred to Oasis, one of the youth shelters we manage. Oasis embodies the LSF ideals, and understands that no child, no matter how difficult, is a lost cause.
While Isabela’s issues may sound severe to most, it is important to look at her as a whole person. Isabela knew that she was on the wrong path, she knew that her behavior and choices were a threat to her safety. She also admitted to struggling with her mental health.
However, understanding these issues and how to remedy them is not an easy task, and the staff at Oasis were able to stand by Isabela’s side while she took those arduous first steps.
At first, Isabela was angry. Angry that her mom would send her to a shelter. Angry, because she believed that she did not need any help.
In the short three-month duration of her stay at Oasis, Isabela did a complete 180. With the help of knowledgeable and understanding counselors, she was able to take a break from her day-to-day life and reflect on her actions that led her to Oasis, quickly realizing accepting the help being offered could change her direction. This transformation did not happen overnight, it required the constant support of a dedicated and knowledgeable staff.
Isabela participated in group and individual counseling while residing at Oasis and was given the opportunity to remove herself from the home life she was struggling to thrive in.
“I was able to realize where I was in life and take a break from that,” Isabela said. “My mother also got a much-needed break from my behavior.”
Since leaving Oasis, Isabela has continued to work on bettering herself. She went back to school, graduating with her GED. Isabela has since started classes at Florida State College at Jacksonville. She has maintained her job at Publix for over a year now and reports that she is no longer using drugs.
Her relationships with the people around her have improved as well. She and her mother are now in a better place, they are communicative, and Isabela has worked to change the behaviors her mother struggled to manage in the past.
Isabela shared, “I would recommend LSF to anyone else in need. The staff at Oasis were caring and always tried to help. They gave me someone to talk to and it was like having a mentor when I needed one. It was nice to be able to talk about not just the bad, but the good too.”
We are proud of Isabela not only for remedying the bad, but for continuing to focus on the good she can do and all the good that is still to come.
Our Oasis Center serves children like Isabela everyday with the goal of diverting them from entering the child welfare or juvenile justice systems. Isabela’s story is one of success, but there are many more kids and teens in the state of Florida that still need and deserve services like those she received at Oasis.
One of the biggest inhibitors to being able to provide these services to more children is financial need. We ask that if you see the value in changing lives like Isabela’s and have the means to give, that you will consider donating to LSF as we continue to facilitate this important work. Your contribution, whether it be financially or as a volunteer or virtual supporter, helps to make this work possible.
To learn more about our programs for children and families, like Oasis, visit https://www.lsfnet.org/children-families/
To donate to LSF for continued support of life changing interventions for people like Isabela, visit https://www.lsfnet.org/donate/
(Isabela is photographed above with one of her counselors.)