When children and teens first come to the Mission with their families, they are often unsure about what to expect. Often they are fearful and withdrawn. But when they get to hang out with other kids and do things designed for them, they open up and their lives begin to change. Kimberly*, who is 13, wrote about her experience at the Mission. Here are her words:

When we first got the sign-up paper for the Teen Program, I read it and wanted to go because it sounded fun.

But when it was time to go for the first time, I didn’t want to come. But I went. I went inside and met new people and we started doing art. I love art, so I loved being there, talking to new people and doing new things.

Going to the program helped me to make friends and to be able to want to talk to people. At school I don’t really talk to people, but when I come here it makes me happy and I get to talk to people more and better than before.

The Teen Program also helped me artistically and educationally. It helps me artistically because we do art projects a lot and I get better at drawing and painting. It helps me educationally because I learn about new things. Interesting things that I wish I knew before.

When new people come to the program, I can give them examples and ideas of what to do here so they get used to it. I wanna give a positive influence. I would wanna get a job to earn money to help my mom with the house, but I don’t think I would be able to get a job at 13 so if I can, I would love to keep going to the Teen Program this summer.

Your gift today will make sure the Mission’s Youth Program stays open for kids like Kimberly for years to come! You can make a difference for vulnerable youth at trm.org/donate.