When Lyla came to House of Hope in June 2016, her family was at a loss. Lyla never knew her biological father and had a strained relationship with her stepfather and mother. She was failing school, had run away on several occasions, provoked incidents with police, developed a social media addiction, and experienced several stays at outpatient facilities and overdose attempts. The final suicide attempt was the breaking point for her family.
You don’t have to dig through newspaper headlines to know that the youth in our country are in trouble. Study after study has shown that teen depression and suicide are on the rise everywhere in our country. The 2017 ROX Study of over ten thousand 5th-12th grade girls from various socioeconomic and racial backgrounds reported that confidence declines more than 25% between fifth grade and high school graduation. The study also revealed that over 30% of girls have been bullied online and that a whopping 75% reported that they’ve been asked to send sexually explicit photos to another person. The girls who spent the most time on social media were five times more likely to report that they were suffering from depression. The prevailing feeling among young women like Lyla is that they are just not enough as they are.
Human trafficking and systemic poverty are on the rise as well as an opioid epidemic that entraps more people each year. The more broken the family unit becomes, the more our society suffers from the impact of emotionally, spiritually, physically and socially unhealthy adults. Families must be equipped to teach their children how to be resilient and cope with emotional struggles, preparing them for a healthy and successful life. How can we come together as a community to support families and young people, restore hope and give people a chance at living the life that they deserve? How can we empower them to break free from the vicious cycles of domestic abuse, drug addiction, and self-harm?
Most girls that come to House of Hope are less than thrilled to be here when they first arrive. Lyla was no different. It took time but, as we worked with her and her family, we addressed her destructive thought patterns and behaviors as well as the ones that troubles her family’s dynamics. They learned how to communicate openly and effectively, how to practice forgiveness and heal the wounds that caused Lyla to act out. Together, we chipped away at the roots of her self-destructive behaviors. Lyla blossomed, becoming more confident in who she is, in her abilities, in her purpose.
House of Hope York PA opened its doors in 2012 as a residential home that brings hope, healing and restoration to hurting teenage girls and their families. Since then, we have helped over 200 people in our community transform their lives. House of Hope provides counseling, academic education, life skills training and spiritual guidance which helps the girls re-enter society as God-assured, purpose-driven individuals able to cope with the challenges and pressures of everyday life. The on-site school, Hope Academy, is registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Education and provides the teens with a formal education through a self-paced curriculum designed to meet each student at their performance level.
After fourteen months in the Residential Program, Lyla was able to return home to her family in time for her baby sister to be born. She went from a 1.5 to a 3.4 GPA and now has her first job. She plans to go to college after she completes school and will be officially graduated from the House of Hope program in April 2018!
House of Hope is unique in that it engages both the teen and their family in the healing process. Parents are required to participate in the counseling programs, attend parenting classes, and receive spiritual guidance. By counseling the girls individually, as well as their family unit, we help identify and address the issues keeping the family from nurturing a healthy environment. We are to here to teach girls how stand against toxic culture norms, and teach their parents how to support their children in becoming healthy, strong, empowered adults.