Bethany’s Story Continues
Bethany is happiest when she’s at home in her apartment sipping tea, listening to music and creating beaded jewellery. It may seem unusual for a 20-year-old to be a homebody, but she explains she enjoys the serenity of her own space – serenity that was in short supply in her childhood.
“I came from a home where there was substance and alcohol abuse,” she explains. “I spent a lot of my childhood with no supervision and no parental guidance.” By the time she was junior high-aged, she had dropped out of school and found herself slipping into addiction. “Whenever my family was under the influence, they seemed happy. I wanted to be a part of that…it was my way to connect with my mom and not feel alone.”
At 13 she decided that she didn’t want addiction in her life and left home. “It was a tough choice,” she recalls. “All I wanted was my mom, but I knew it wasn’t healthy for me.” She couch-surfed with friends and eventually moved in with her boyfriend’s family. It was there that she found the stability to begin looking at what she wanted to do next.
“I heard about Kids in the Hall and went to check it out and the teachers were amazing,” she recalls. “I was still really shy at that point and I didn’t talk, but they engaged with me from the start.” Bethany not only got the skills she needed, but also the adult guidance she craved. “At that age, you need someone to show you right from wrong and they did that. That bistro was my second home. They were my reason to get out of bed each morning.”
Bethany completed her education as part of the program’s high school program. And when she graduated, she had staff members from Kids in the Hall there to cheer her on.
“Before, I would get so scared and nervous I could hear my heart beating…Kids in the Hall helped me learn how to make conversation and build relationships and friendships.”
Today, Bethany works in e4c’s offices and engages with people every day. “I get opportunities to do things I didn’t know I could do,” she says. “I keep amazing myself.” She’s also looking to the future and considering career paths that will allow her to help people living with addictions or dealing with other struggles. And she’s already accomplished one of her biggest goals – to have a home of her own. “I have my own four walls I can call my own,” she proudly proclaims. “I never thought that would be possible.”
She notes that her relationship with her mother and her family is stronger than ever, something she attributes to the changes Kids in the Hall made possible for her. “They really listened to my words and took it to heart. Kids in the Hall changed me and I helped change my family.”