Being Different and Enjoying It

The memories I have from when I was young all come from conflict. My mom and dad were never together. My mom was never home and every few years she had a different boyfriend. I was the middle child, but felt like the oldest. My older brother was schizophrenic, and my older sister lived with my aunt, so I was the only one home that could care for my younger siblings. Despite that, we never shared a special bond. They always let me know that I was “different.”

I had a hard time surviving school. I was bullied and lonely. I was surrounded by people I couldn’t trust who spent their time smoking and drinking. I started having suicidal thoughts.

Through the help of Urban Family Ministries, I moved in with a kind man named Dan. He could tell I wasn’t doing well and he had me spend two weeks at Pine Rest. I returned to school, and the depression returned as well. Dan thought that sending me to The Potter’s House would help, and in the middle of my eighth grade year I transferred schools.

People there were friendly, and it was weird to me. Every time someone walked toward me I wanted to say, “Get away from me.” I thought they were a little nosey. I made some friends but still struggled. I began spending most of my days sitting in Mr. Booy’s office, reading and talking to him about how angry I was with God and my family for putting me through so much trauma.

One of my greatest struggles was always feeling different. Things changed when I came to The Potter’s House. It’s a diverse place. Being here I saw that differences were celebrated and now I enjoy being different.

When I tell my story, many people ask, “How are you not in a gang or on drugs?” My answer is, “I don’t really know.” I believe being heard has been key to my healing. The Potter’s House is a good place to be when you’ve hit rock bottom. The people here are like trampolines, they bounce you back up.

This year I started researching the effects of child care in impoverished communities. I took a childcare class at KCTC, and I am a childcare worker at Roosevelt Park Ministries. Even though I love working with kids, my dream is music. I write lyrics and play guitar. I am fluent in Spanish, and incorporate that into my music. I have been accepted into Adrian College and I plan to study music there this fall.

We thank God for all He has done in Dearis’s life. We are grateful for the generosity of folks like you, who alot us the opportunity to serve students and their families, bouncing them out of discord into harmony.