Dakota’s Story

Dakota’s Story

My name is Dakota, and I’ve attended the Crossing since October, 2017. Growing up, my life was filled with abuse, watching my mom slowly kill herself with alcohol and drugs, and watching my brothers rob houses to provide for our family. My mom was constantly in and out of jail.  During those periods while she was in jail, my brother and I didn’t have a constant supply of food. My mother was so hooked on drugs and alcohol that they had become the most important thing in her life. Her kids no longer mattered as much as her drugs did. She was never sober, and neither were her boyfriends. I remember watching her get beat up so terribly and I couldn’t do anything about it. I also had to watch my brother get in constant fights because he was in a gang. There was always violence everyday whether I saw it in the streets, watching my mom get beaten or seeing my brother fighting. I never stayed at one school as I always moved around. At one point, I couldn’t even attend school because my mom was hiding me so CPS or the cops couldn’t find me and take me away from her. When I was 7, my mom was arrested and went to jail and had left me at her friend’s house for the night. The next morning, I woke up and my mom’s friend told me that we were going to enroll me in school. After being rejected to be able to enroll at a handful of elementary schools, one finally accepted me. After 30 minutes of sitting in class, a police officer came in and took me out of school and drove me to the CPS building where I was put in foster care. After a few months of supervised visits with my mom, she failed to get custody of me and her rights were signed over. I ended up getting adopted in 2009, and I’m so grateful for the wonderful life my adoptive mom has been able to provide for me. Despite the loving home and support I now had with my adoptive mom, I started acting out at school and getting into unnecessary conflicts with people that would result in fighting. Because of my childhood and situations I had to endure, I found myself living a life full of anger and a diagnosis of PTSD. I started smoking weed in 8th grade which then turned in to selling it once I started high school. I ended up getting arrested for selling weed at school and getting expelled which led me to the Crossing.

Being at the Crossing has made my faith in God stronger than it ever was. I’ve always struggled with trying to follow God and having faith in Him. I felt very welcomed here ever since the time I came to enroll. All the staff have big hearts. They’re not only here to be your mentor but they care about you and want to help not only with school work but with life after the Crossing as well. I also really enjoy the Job Training Program.  It has helped me realize that I really can be someone successful when I go out into the adult world. I am the CFO of the ETC Pallet Team where I do the invoices and all the finances and attend business meetings with our local board every month. We’re actually leading the micro business and it’s so empowering.

I believe that I have been brought to the Crossing for a reason and for that, I will be forever grateful as they have shown me in such a short period of time that I don’t need to continue living a life of constantly being in trouble and getting in trouble with the law. I have learned to channel my anger in a healthy way and have gained a new family who loves and supports me with everything I am working to achieve.