Monica faced some difficulties as a child, and during her teen years she made several bad choices which left her with few options.
The 16 year old brunette from Long Branch was faced with either juvenile detention or a group home.
“Not for one second did I want to come to the Faith program,” recalls Monica. “I expected bad food and a messy living environment. I also couldn’t image being away from my friends.”
Center For Family Services’ Faith program is a girls-only group home for 12-18 year olds. Set in a safe, home-like environment, Faith staff focus on the specific needs of each girl, rebuilding their confidence and spirit through extensive counseling and advocacy.
While it wasn’t easy, slowly Monica started to build close bonds with both the staff and four other girls in the program. Her homesickness faded and she began to focus on herself and her future.
“FAITH helped me see the importance of an education. Now one of my goals is to graduate high school. Before Faith I never thought I had a shot, I never went to school. But now I feel like it’s a real possibility.”
In addition to educational supports, Faith was able to help Monica work through her anger and reconnect with her family.
“When I was younger I didn’t have a good relationship with my family. Faith helped me see that my family was just trying to protect me. Now, because of Faith, I thank my family for what they’ve done for me. They’ve always just wanted the best for me.”
After a year at Faith, Monica was to move on and move back in with her family.
“Faith is a wonderful program. They saved me and showed me things I’ve never seen before. This staff will do anything for you to stay on the right path.”
In June 2016, Monica graduated from high school and is enrolled in college for the fall semester. She is interested in working in the medical field, possibly as a phlebotomist.
“My dad always said, ‘You have to get through the hard times to get to the good times.’ I have definitely learned that things don’t come easy but living at Faith has made me stronger as a young lady and stronger as an individual.”