Together, as part of the ACH community, we empower children and youth to find their voices, to look to their futures.

Caitlyn, a teen who stayed in our Youth Emergency Shelter, wants to be a writer. This is her story in her own words.

I was asked to share with you all today what I am thankful for. Now, a lot of things come to mind when I think of my crisscross life of mine. But something that really sticks out is the relationship with my two big sisters.

See, my life is kind of different from others; my sisters were my mothers. They are my heart and soul. They take the darkest nights, with the largest frights, and turn it into self-control. They always push me to be a better person and remind me life could always worsen, so be grateful for every waking moment.

The eldest taught me to carry myself with confidence and wear my heart on my sleeve. To never be afraid of being me even if society refused to let it be. That knowledge is power but to put it in the right place or it'd make me a coward.

And the youngest of my eldest two taught me that I am a woman, the strongest of the two sexes. That nobody, not even man, can make me feel less than human. That even though I don't come from much of a providential home, it does not define me. She taught me there will be temptations in this world more desirable than the apple dangling like death in the tree in the sight of Eve. But, to never conceive because pleasure will only be temporary. That the devil himself will send them in disguise as a sanctum, but later they will be revealed as desperation.

My sisters are built with productivity and ambition. They made planting seeds of knowledge in my mind their intuition. Being around them was a pleasurable fruition. They taught me how to love despite the unloving home I came from. And because they are big sisters, they tend to scare away all my potential soon-to-be misters.

They hold me to my highest and showed me to never be biased. You see, God could put the sun, moon and stars in my hands, and I'd still choose them. My love for them is unconditional. The frequency that radiates from their persona is my safe haven. They are teachers that God himself would send. When I fall, they don't pick me up, they give me the strength to do it by myself.

There was a short era in my life that I thought I was grown, so I ran away from home because I thought I could do it on my own. Little did I know I'd be beat by these streets, and there would be days I wouldn't eat and nights I wouldn't sleep because I thought temptation was something I felt impossible to defeat. 

So I ran to them for help, and instead of holding my hand like a baby and telling me, "it's gonna be okay" all along the way, they showed me time is the best teacher and facing my consequences will make me an open-minded seeker and that if I need any advice to "just reach her."

They showed me that through all these life hurdles I will become an ordain that society will fail to refrain because I will be impossible to contain. They helped me identify my intellectuality; they showed me being unique is my own personal formality.

Their love is my sanctuary. My sisters galore is a lot to endure, but they are what I am more than thankful for.