It is so easy to let things get worse and worse once you start.  You get used to this lifestyle, and before you know it, you’re in over your head. My problems really started in middle school.  I just didn’t care about anything.  All I wanted to do was party.  I started using drugs and ended up having serious problems with Xanax and Ecstasy.

When I was 16, I was arrested for 14 counts of theft.  I had been in jail for a few months when my parents found the Paul Anderson Youth Home.  Before I came here, I felt like it was too late for me.  I had already given up, but my parents refused to give up on me.  Anything good that has happened to me is because of them.  They are the reason I am here, the reason that I have changed my life.  But it wasn’t easy, for them or for me.

My time at the PAYH forced me to try to clarify what I believe and deal with spiritual issues in life.  When I came, I was probably what you would classify as an agnostic; I just didn’t care.  Now I know to think about the morality of my actions and the whole impact I might have.  It’s not just about the immediate consequences for yourself, or even what would happen to people directly involved.  The things you do can affect people for years.  Consider what you do, because your actions mean more than you might think.

After I graduate the program, I’m planning to spend a month at a language school in Paris with my father.  Then I will study business and hotel management at Vatel, an international business school in the south of France. It’s crazy to thing that I’m able to make all these plans now, but I wouldn’t have any plans to make if it wasn’t for the support of my family and the PAYH.

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