A Weight Lifted: Riley's Story



Riley* has experienced things no child should ever have to experience. She’s been hurt and her spirit crushed. In her mother’s words, Riley “carries a weight she won’t allow me to help with.”


“Riley has been sexually molested two times by men she was very close to,” her mother explains. “She’s seen her dad and I go through a very nasty divorce. Her dad took her from me and ran off when she was six. Her dad and I share custody right now and when she is with him she lives a less than ideal life... Although I am currently fighting for sole custody due to his recent incarceration, I still see her struggle. I see the pain and sadness in her.”


Riley’s mom admits the trauma Riley endured has affected her, too. “Now I worry about every single person that comes into my kids’ lives and what they may do to them. I question everyone that already has been in my kids’ lives and wonder if they have hurt them too and I just don’t know about it.”

Even for families struggling with this kind of insecurity, Youth Haven is a safe place. Despite all Riley has been through, her mom trusted us to properly love and care for her.

“I think Riley coming to Youth Haven would do her good,” she wrote to us. “To be around kids her age and away from everything here, and just have some time to be a kid. To not have to worry about life and have some weight lifted off her heart. She’s been more excited about coming to camp than for anything else.”

With the help of supporters like you, we welcomed Riley to our campus with open arms. She was able to get away from her difficulties and have fun with other kids in a place where she felt safe. She learned about God’s incredible love for her and that He has a special plan for her life.


After the retreat, Riley’s mom sent us this note: “She described this weekend as the ‘most amazing time of her life,’ and told her stories to everyone that would listen. She’s already talking about when she can come back for summer.”


Thank you for helping Riley and so many others experience God’s love in the midst of their hardships. You are a blessing!

*Name changed for confidentiality



From a foster parent:

"We are very new to foster care, but are trying to create a stable environment. For us, that means the ability to enjoy childhood with experiences like summer camp. We believe in the power of normalcy and stability, and we know how valuable the relationships are in healing. Thank you for all that you do for these children!"