LifeSet participant, Katrina outside at sunset

At just 20 years old, Katrina had walked a rocky road for most of her life. Due to domestic violence and verbal abuse, she was removed from her biological home two weeks before her 18th birthday. Unable to process emotions from her past trauma, Katrina struggled with self-harm and anxiety. “Hurting myself helped me ‘re-feel’ things again, and I told myself I would rather feel something than nothing at all,” she said.

Alone and with no help, The Department of Children and Families referred Katrina to the Youth Villages LifeSet program which specifically helps transition-aged youth. This community-based, intensive program puts young people in the driver’s seat and steers them through the path of adulthood.

“From admission, Katrina was nervous, anxious and did not want to discuss her trauma from the past,” her LifeSet specialist said.

Katrina’s Specialist Provided Her Extra Support

At first, Katrina had difficulty opening up during her initial meetings with her specialist. Like so many young people who enter the LifeSet program, she did not have the tools necessary to cope. Her specialist stepped in and worked on coping mechanisms and trying to find safe housing for her. Katrina says now that she is not in a toxic environment, her anxiety attacks have eased significantly.

Katrina’s specialist also guided her through researching schools, signing up for classes and time management tips.

Today, Katrina attends Massasoit Community College and will transfer to a four-year college as a marine biology major. She has not self-harmed or had any suicidal ideations in nearly a year and hopes to get her own apartment and work at a dog rescue.

“My LifeSet specialist helped me to finally be on my own. She was a crucial support system when I had no one else for guidance.”
– Katrina

Kaitrina holding dog in her lapNow 21–years old, Katrina has successfully accomplished the goals she set with LifeSet, including getting a driver’s license, a vehicle and learning to ask for help from professors.

“Katrina can openly discuss her past trauma and has more self-confidence and excitement around her future,” her specialist said.

Katrina reached her goals with the help of LifeSet, and she hopes other young people dealing with similar challenges will follow the route she took through the program. “The hardest part is speaking up, but you need to not be scared because once someone gets there to help, it’s so much better,” Katrina said.

Want to make a difference in lives like Katrina? Click here to learn how you can support programs helping young people.

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