Ashtynn knows she and her 1-year-old daughter are at the Mission “for a reason”

Ashtynn and her daughter Emerald, who is 15 months.

Ashtynn and her daughter Emerald, who is 15 months.

After a couple of difficult situations, Ashtynn had convinced herself she couldn’t trust people to stick around if she opened up to them. She had been let down too many times.

When a history teacher noticed she was cutting herself and tried to help her, other kids started rumors that they were sleeping together. “We just had conversations, and I felt like he really cared about what was going on,” she said. “When the rumors got to the principal, he stopped talking to me. He did his best in class to not even look at me.”

After a year of sessions with a kind and effective therapist, Ashtynn—a young teen—was surprised when it ended. “I had been comforted in a way that I hadn’t been before,” said Ashtynn. “She helped me stop self-harming when I had trouble expressing how I felt. But when she said she didn’t think I needed therapy anymore, and we wouldn’t have contact anymore, it felt like I lost someone who I had opened my heart up to completely.”

Ashtynn suffered a nervous breakdown and depression during her childhood. She was bullied by classmates, changed schools often and spent nine months in a shelter with her mom and sister.

So when Ashtynn arrived at the Mission’s Home Again shelter, she was hesitant to open up to people. Eventually though, she broke down to her case worker. “She said I could talk to her about anything, but I was skeptical,” Ashtynn said. “But I did open up, and it was the best thing I could’ve done. It helped me on my walk closer to God.”

Ashtynn and her 15-month-old daughter, Emerald, have been at Home Again for more than four months now. “The first night I was here, I cried,” she said. “I was in a place where all these people were sleeping, but it wasn’t my home. But, in a sense, it is home to me now.

“My relationship with God has grown so strong. I want to seek Him more. I’m hungry for answers. I know I was sent here for a reason. God wanted me here.”