Mila’s life didn’t feel like her own. At 15, she’d already experienced a lot of loss, including that of her family. And due to trauma she’d experienced, Mila didn’t know how to express or process her emotions well; she consistently felt fearful and hopeless. She would verbally and physically act out which distanced herself from people, impacting her ability to make friends, do well in school and create lasting bonds. As a freshman in high school, Mila was frustrated with her current and future options. She wanted more for herself, but she didn’t know how to get it.

Mila transitioned from Shelter Care into CFC to receive individualized support while her team developed a long term placement plan for her. It was Mila’s hope to transition into FCNI’s Transitional Housing Placement Program (THPP) to work towards independence. She was placed with a specialty trained Resource Parent and matched with an RS who would work with Mila at home and in the community. Mila was also matched with a volunteer FCNI tutor to help her do better in school. 

Her team really focused on creating a good routine which helped Mila feel safe and not overly scheduled. They also talked a lot about her goals and strengths. Namely, the team loved Mila’s outspokenness. In the past, this quality was treated more like an obstacle, viewed by some as Mila just being defiant. But CFC wanted to re-focus this quality into a positive strength that Mila could build upon. In team meetings, Mila was encouraged to participate, and the team supported her through it. Once Mila saw that she had a safe space to voice her needs and fears, her hopelessness turned to hopefulness—she saw the team as her team and more readily accepted their help.

In the past, Mila struggled to see her worth, but by re-shaping how she saw her own strengths—as real strengths not deficits—Mila really flourished in care. She is now preparing to move into her own apartment in THPP with the goal of one day becoming a journalist. She says, “I want to tell other people’s real truths, just like I learned to do.” In CFC, Mila learned that she didn’t have to be forever bound to her trauma, but that she already had the strength to rise above it.