“Without Stanford Youth Solutions, I’d probably be in jail right now, or worse. But they stepped in and helped me change everything."
Ashlee escaped a life of instability, neglect, and abuse. Today, she exudes confidence and wisdom beyond her 20 years.
At age 16, her mother abandoned her. She did not know her father. Ashlee had no place to go and no family to care for her.
The rest of Ashlee’s story would not be possible without the generosity of Stanford Youth Solutions supporters. Through Stanford Youth Solutions’s Family Finding services, Ashlee rediscovered her father, who invited her to live with him in Phoenix, Arizona.
With her family’s support, Ashlee grew into a confident young adult with a keen awareness of her needs, her goals, and her feelings. Two years later, determined to succeed, she graduated high school early, got a job and an apartment.
“Stanford Youth Solutions is a great place for getting back in touch with family,” she says. “They listen to your problems and they help the family sit down, talk, and come up with a compromise… And you feel like you always have someone on your side.”
Today Ashlee has completed cosmetology school, and hopes to attend culinary arts school. But her true goal in life is to make a difference in the lives of other children as a youth advocate or a police officer.
“The best thing you can do for kids is be there when they first start having problems,” says Ashlee. “…Talk to them before they get into trouble; before they’ve done so much wrong that the system puts them away.
“Without Stanford Youth Solutions, I’d probably be in jail right now, or worse. But they stepped in, [helped me] settle the issues, and changed everything for me. I loved it there – I absolutely mean it.”