Tyler’s Testimony – Given at the Jasper Optimists Club Meeting– June 21, 2018

Hi, my name is Tyler, and my life was pretty tough in the past. Both of my parents suffered from an opioid addiction, and split when I was at a young age. My mom began seeing other guys, which led to her getting into an abusive relationship with an alcoholic man who constantly terrorized me, my sisters, and my mother. Child services eventually got involved, removing me and my sisters from the issue. I was placed with my great grandmother, who I stayed with for almost a year until dad and grandmother got me. At this point, I already had some pretty bad behavior problems, constantly getting in trouble at school and let my grades drop pretty badly. I got into pretty heated arguments with my dad because I didn’t do anything I was told. Despite this, we still cared about each other. He was basically my only friend. On November 10th, 2014 we got into the usual argument before I went off to school. This one was a little bit worse and I told him that I hated him before going to school. Little did I know, those would be the last things I would say to him before he died. I couldn’t help but to blame myself. I began cutting my wrists, debating suicide so much to the point where I’d literally be standing up ready to do it, and secluding myself from other people. I had this burning hatred for myself. I moved around a bit before my grandmother sought help from places like the Joy House. Once she did, I got extremely angry. She even had to call the police because I was threatening to run away or commit suicide. Soon after, we went to an intake interview at The Joy House. I had the mindset that this would never work and that I probably wouldn’t even get accepted. Once the interview was over, I went back home expecting everything to return to normal because there was just no way. Then I got the news I DID get accepted and would be moving in June 27th. I spent a little over a year there, and I’ll be honest, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. What I thought was going to be some place where they think they can just say “change” and it’ll happened turned out to be somewhere where you have two people known as the house parents, who genuinely care about you and your well-being, a counselor to talk to when times begin feeling tough again, and a school that wants to inspire you to get a good education, and are also there to talk to when you need them. They don’t seek to change you, they know they can’t. Being a Christian organization, they inspire you to make a change in yourself with the help of God. Since being there, my anger and sadness just feel nonexistent and I’m the happiest I have ever been. I have skills to cope with the hardships I am to inevitably face in the future, and no longer blame myself for my dad’s passing. My grades are so much better now. The Joy House Academy helped so much that I went through 2 years of school in a single year. I went into the 12th grade as a 15-year-old. I can graduate by December 2018. My relationship is much better with my grandmother; I can now hold a civil conversation with her and talk through things with her when I’m feeling a little down. My goal now is to help people the way The Joy House helped me by becoming a therapist. I want to just talk to people as a friend and let them know that they are not alone as I once felt I was. Thank you.

Tyler and his grandmother were a part of The Joy House program from June 2016 until September 2017. We are grateful for the work God has done in their lives and that they are willing to share his story with our supporters. Thank you, Tyler! We can’t wait to see what all God has in store for you.