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Sommer's biological mother and ​father were addicts who would ​often leave her and her siblings alone or with strangers when they went out looking for drugs. At one point, her father overdosed on heroin and slipped into a coma. Another time, he aimed a gun at her mother and fired, narrowly missing her. Such were the horrors of Sommer's everyday life. When Sommer first came to Boys Town, the idea of a safe, supportive family was just an abstraction. Today, Sommer is attending college, studying psychology with the intent of ​returning to Boys Town to help ​other kids in need.


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I heard my dad come in, and he's like, "Where is she? Where is she?" My grandma said, "You're not taking her." He came into the bathroom. He made me get out and put clothes on and put me in his truck.

We probably drove for like a half an hour. There was police after us. Then they all stopped us and my dad was arrested. I was put in the cop car. They took me to this foster home.

I remember him being in bed a lot. There would be people that would come and go up to his bedroom and then they'd leave maybe an hour later. I found out that he was on heroine. One day, he and my mom were arguing about something and she was standing by the side of washer and drier. There was a laundry basket on the floor next to her. He had brought out a gun and he was pointing it at her. He fired and he missed her and hit the basket that was next to her.

My grandma was the one that called the police on my parents. She knew that my dad would try to take me. The people who at first came into our lives when I was six and my brother was ten, they were our foster parents for about two months. Then they came back into our lives when I was 12 and he was 16 and they were our parents.

A therapist that I had once told me the reason that I couldn't connect with my parents who adopted me was I had reactive attachment disorder. You just can't get close to something. My mom and I couldn't get along. We just couldn't do it on our own. It got really bad where we wouldn't talk for months. If we did, it was just an all out brawl. I was excited to be able to start something new. He had explained to me, "You live with all of these people and they are all the same age. There's a lot of fun." I was excited for it. I was excited to maybe get away from the conflicts I was having with my family.

Kyle and Jodi just made it really homey. And I had all of these girls that were all so welcoming. They came from the same situations that I did. They were very accepting.

When I was a sophomore, I became a student ambassador. I was on staff for ROTC. I was on student council as a sophomore. Then as a junior, I was the Color Guard Commander and still a student ambassador and on student council. I was on the yearbook. I was editor for the yearbook. Then as a senior, I was a vice mayor. For a while, I was actually secretary and then I became vice mayor. I was the Cadet Corp Commander for ROTC.

Before I came to Boys Town, I was really independent or I tried to be really independent like I don't really need anybody. Since I've been at Boys Town I have accepted that I wanted to be a part of a group.

My major is psychology. My goal is to be a therapist. I want to come back and work for Boys Town to help kids who are here. I'm very lucky now.

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