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Erica’s story: A journey toward hope


Erica had no parent to lean on, no place to call home. 

When her mother's parental rights were terminated, Erica was placed in the care of a relative. The stay was short. Soon, Erica's bags were packed and she was sent off to another relative's home. Again, her stay there proved temporary.

Nothing in this young girl's life was permanent, except the ever-present feelings of loss and insecurity. 

By the time Erica turned 17, she was out of relatives and out of options. Warily, she moved back in with her mom, who was sharing a home with a friend. It wasn't an ideal situation; the family faced many challenges and had few resources.     

Eventually, Erica and her mother were referred to Boys Town North Florida's In-Home Family Services® program for support and counseling. Boys Town Family Consultant Millie Kilpatrick made weekly visits to their home, listening to the women's concerns, offering encouragement, and teaching life skills they could use to relieve the stress and uncertainty in their lives. 

EricaMillie also helped make one of Erica's biggest wishes come true – a party for her 18th birthday. Erica celebrated with her closest friends at a local eatery, and the carefree evening provided a sense of everyday normalcy the teen desperately craved.        

Despite the many disappointments and disruptions she endured at home, Erica remained a diligent student who kept going to school and working hard to maintain her status on the academic honor roll. She never lost hope and always believed the future could be much different than the past.

Her optimism (and hard work!) was eventually rewarded.

Today, Erica balances her academics with an afterschool job while living in transitional housing. She continues to develop independent-living skills that will ensure her future is secure and successful!