I know that Youth MOVE and PPAL are specified as a non-therapeutic group. That is because clinicians are not allowed to attend the groups or meetings. There is no therapy involved, yet they have helped me through a lot. They gave me a place to go when times were tough. I looked forward to going to the Youth Groups and attending the conference each year. That was possibly the only thing that kept me looking forward.
I’ve been home schooled for the past 2 years of my life because of issues with bullying. I remember being so afraid the first time Lydia and my sister Bella, also an intern, talked me into going to one of the youth groups. I hadn’t been close to kids around my age for awhile. I remember saying to Lydia that I was too scared and shy to be there. Their exact words to me were, “Oh good, you’ll fit right in!” So with that I went into that youth room scared out of my mind but came out a completely different person.
I started to get excited to go to group each week! If I missed one on my own accord I’d feel bad – like my week wasn’t completed. It gave me a sense of hope in myself. I thought I’d never get to go into a place with other teens and come out alive. Without PPAL I may never had been able to fully go to a place surrounded by people and actually feel safe.
I started my internship at the age of 13. I was glad I could be a help to the staff there. Lydia, Meri, Britt, Beth, Chandra, Pawel and others are all like a family to me. I’d gladly spend more time at the office than sitting around at home! I did simple things such as fold brochures, set up the room for group, make copies, clean up after group, and yet I was always thanked with so much enthusiasm. It was nice to finally have something to do and I actually felt useful for the first time in a long while.
The main way PPAL has helped me is the support they have given me. I was able to pick myself back up thanks to the support I got from PPAL and Youth M.O.V.E. I never could’ve accomplished so much without knowing that they were right there cheering me on. Also, another important fact is they provided a place to go to get out of my house. So to those whom it may concern, I do not go to the group for the pizza. I don’t even really like pizza. I go to see the family I have made there.
Ally C is an 8th grade student from Worcester, MA. She has been writing since a young age. Some of her hobbies include writing poetry and drawing. This is her first blog for PPAL.