Fourteen-year-old Georgia* loves all things art and anime. She hopes to become a fashion designer one day.

But focusing on herself and her passions has been difficult for Georgia because she grew up in a chaotic household, where she shared that she was physically and sexually abused. Georgia was removed from her mother’s care and arrived at Upbring New Life Children’s Center, our residential treatment program for girls ages 11 to 17, in September 2021. At the time, she was self-harming and had thoughts of suicide — expressions of her childhood trauma.

Georgia was nervous at first, but she soon embraced the sense of stability at New Life. She likes knowing what’s expected of her each day, and she’s doing well in school. Having grown up around farm animals, she loves showing the other girls how to care for the horses and chickens in the New Life barn.

Georgia is also learning important life skills like cleaning, cooking and baking. (She makes a delicious pineapple upside-down cake.) “I want to learn to how to do these things right,” she told us. “It’s a big coping skill for me.”

Most importantly, Georgia has begun to process her feelings about her family and rebuild her self-esteem. She acknowledges she’s still learning how to give and receive love, but as she put it: “I actually like myself, and I’m happier.” After New Life, Georgia hopes her journey to wholeness will continue with a loving foster family.

At Upbring, girls like Georgia have a safe space to heal from abuse and neglect. To learn more, visit New Life Children’s Center.

*Georgia’s story is true, but we have changed her name and used a stock photo to protect her identity.

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