O.U.R. Aftercare Director Jessica Mass was not expecting anything unusual to happen on her taxi ride to an aftercare home in South America. After a short ride the taxi pulled up to the aftercare home, which was built to be very discreet. Right as Jessica pulled the door handle to exit, the taxi driver turned around and looked at her with tears in his eyes.
“I grew up here,” he said.
He began explaining his story. He was abandoned as a child and left to live on the streets. He was forced to take drugs, which led to a cycle of addiction and theft at a very young age. When he was seven years old, Child Protective Services found him and took him to the aftercare home that Jessica was heading to. “If it wasn’t for this aftercare home, I would have stayed homeless, at high risk to being sexually exploited and addicted to drugs,” he said. “Instead, I am able to have a healthy, stable family.” Because of this very aftercare home, his life was changed forever.
“It taught me how to be a good father, a good man, and how to protect women and children.”
After he graduated from the aftercare home, he was able to attend a university for some time. This experience helped him learn how to run his own business as a taxi driver. Now over 40 years old, he has a family of his own with a wife and three beautiful children. “Not only did this home change my life, but it taught me how to be a good father, a good man, and how to protect women and children.” At the end of sharing his story, he had tears of gratitude streaming down his face.
We believe in hope
People often ask if there is hope for children that have been through the worst of the worst circumstances – trafficking, abuse, drugs, neglect, etc. We say, YES. There is always hope, and this man is living proof of the positive difference that aftercare can make. O.U.R. was not around yet when this man was rescued, but this wonderful aftercare home was. Our Aftercare Team is invested in finding these quality homes and building relationships with them so that more survivors have access to quality care. We believe that aftercare literally rewrites these children’s life stories and allows them to reach their dreams.
High spirits and encouraged hearts
The beauty in this story is that after this tender moment, the taxi driver watched with tears in his eyes as Jessica and her team walked into this aftercare home with high spirits and encouraged hearts, ready to change more lives inside.
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