Brittany* was 15 when she was referred to Extended Hands of Hope by a caseworker from Jefferson County’s Department of Human Services. She had been in and out of jail since the age of nine, had a history of running away, and was grades behind in both math and reading. On top of this, her severe depression was fueled by drug and alcohol addiction.
It took Brittany about two months before she allowed the Extended Hands of Hope team to help her. She struggled with the structure and process of the program, refusing therapy and every service offered by her caseworker. Her trauma was so deep that she even rejected personal hygiene and would gnaw on her own hair because of nervousness.
Eventually, Brittany began substance abuse treatment, counseling and therapy. She took a shower for the first time in months, and attended Extended Hands of Hope’s licensed, on-site school, Forward Learning Academy. She successfully made it through every phase of the program, and by the time she finished, she was re-enrolled in school, applying for jobs and reunited with her mom. Brittany also continued therapy after she left and regularly attended substance abuse support groups.
Had Brittany not come to a trauma-informed facility like Extended Hands of Hope, she would have been presumed defiant by the courts and ended up in jail, back under control of a pimp, or dead. Extended Hands of Hope protects young girls like Brittany who have been recovered from sex trafficking and exploitation and provides them with safe homes and a strong support team to help them heal and develop long-term survivorship skills. By fostering a trusting and supportive environment, these young girls are able to move forward into a new beginning.
Join us October 4 for a panel discussion with Extended Hands of Hope and other experts to learn more about what is being done in Colorado to protect our vulnerable youth. Register here.
*Brittany is a fictional name used to protect the identity of the survivor.