"How do you choose between the two people you love most?"
I was in fourth grade when my father told me,“Your mother and I are getting divorced and you have a choice,” he said. “You can move to Georgia with me or you can stay with your mother in Chattanooga.” I was devastated. How do you choose between the two people you love most? My world was being torn apart and I didn't know what to do.
My father finally convinced me that I should stay with him in Georgia for the weekend while I made up my mind. Well, the weekend came and went. Then a week passed and I was still with my father. School would be starting soon I heard him say. That’s when I realized I was permanently living with him. It was also my first lesson in the importance of making your own choices.
I didn’t get to see my mother again until I began fifth or sixth grade. That was so hard. Even then, I only got to see her and my brother twice between fifth and seventh grades. We had missed so much time together. It was like this big empty space in my life.
I was in seventh grade when I got one of the biggest surprises of my life. I found out that I was going to spend the holidays with my mother that year. I was so happy. That was also the year I told my mom I wanted to live with her and she agreed.
I was excited about coming back to Chattanooga, starting school and being with my mother and brother, but with new faces, new teachers, and the pressures of high school just around the corner I knew there would be hurdles. Then, one day a friend told me about On Point. She said they have teachers who come to our classrooms and talk with us about healthy choices, leadership and a direction for life. I decided to join.
After entering an On Point essay contest and tying for first place, I was encouraged to apply for the Teen Board and was accepted as a freshman. I couldn’t believe it! At last, I felt my life was truly turning around. I continue to live with my mother and stepfather and remain focused thanks to a very strong network of On Point members and our senior mentors.
I, like every other teenager, face pressure from my peers to take part in risky behaviors, but my presence and responsibilities on the Teen Board have kept me away from such temptations. I want to continue to be looked up to and respected as a Board member and leader.
I’m here to say that despite life’s hardships and tough times you can succeed. But it’s up to you. It’s also nice to have some help along the way—someone to be there when it feels as if no one cares. Thanks On Point. You made a difference in my life.
|Last Updated on Friday, 06 July 2012 09:34|