After separating from her husband and moving, Donice and her two boys, Walter, 15, and Landon, 11, were struggling. The boys were getting used to living in a single-parent household and were being bullied in their new school district. Walter confided in a school counselor, and the family was referred to the free short-term counseling provided by ACH's STAR Prevention and Early Intervention program.

 The family placed great importance on receiving counseling, even when they were shunned by family members and friends for attending sessions. And they didn't let other obstacles stand in their way. 

Around the holidays, Donice's car was stolen. The family had to catch rides to counseling sessions every week, but Donice said, "It was a job, but it was worth it." She added that she had never had to ask for help before and wasn't sure how she would make Christmas happen for her boys. However, when they showed up for their counseling session before the holiday, their counselor, Jessica, had presents for the boys.

"They [ACH] brighten a lot of my days personally to help me brighten my kids' days," Donice said. 

Because they invested time in counseling, they've now invested more time in their family. As a result of the counseling, the family started to put more activities back into their daily habits. They cook together once a week. Landon helps with the cooking--he wants to be a chef when he grows up--and Walter acts as taste-tester. They like to take time to sit and talk or watch a movie together.

"We have more family time," Donice said. "And I think it's helped us to get closer, a lot closer than we were before we walked through that door."

Read the full story originally published in the Fall 2016 issue of reACH magazine.