Mike Zagare

Blog Repost from

Graduation from an aftercare home is a big step for survivors. It is their chance to celebrate how far they have come and look forward to the future with hope. On one Saturday in South America, a group of survivors woke up excited to walk at their own graduation that day! 

The O.U.R. Aftercare Team showed up at the home early to help with preparation and to provide support to the survivors. While setting up was in motion, it began pouring rain. Soon rain started to seep through the doors of the house. To prevent flooding, everyone banded together to put sandbags in front of each door. Luckily, their quick work prevented flooding! 

Although this situation was solved, heavy rain still pounded outside, making it very dangerous for friends and family to travel to the aftercare home for graduation. The aftercare home decided it would be best to cancel the graduation that day. 

With heavy hearts, the survivors accepted this unfortunate news. 

A few minutes later, loud music began blaring. Everyone looked up to see Brianna (name changed) with a big smile on her face. Following Brianna’s lead, everyone started laughing and dancing to the music. These kids were determined not to let the rain and cancellation dampen their Saturday! 

These kids spent hours playing games, taking pictures, singing, dancing, and laughing. Partway through, there was a knock at the door. It was one of the boys’ moms who decided to come anyway despite the event cancellation. In a quiet moment, Stewart’s mom gave him a hug and told him how proud of him she was for reaching his goals. They hugged each other with tears in their eyes, and it was clear how much they loved each other. 

Brianna’s smile and Stewart’s emotion represent so much more than just those moments. Brianna came into the aftercare home addicted to drugs because of her trafficker, and did not feel like she had any worth in life. Stewart was only thirteen, new to the aftercare home, and really shy. The loving people in the aftercare home instilled a new kind of confidence in them – a beautiful confidence that helped them fight for every day. Together, they are learning how to take the good and bad days and live them to the fullest. 

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