Faith was born in Sierra Leone in the middle of a civil war. When Faith was 8, she and her family immigrated to Philadelphia to find a safer life for their family. She reported at a later age to a trauma specialist that she had witnessed extreme war atrocities.
Faith had behavior problems at home and school from about age 11. Chronically truant, she found her way into a life of prostitution. She became pregnant at 14, had an abortion, ran away from home, and was gone for over a year. When she returned home, she was extremely depressed and reported severe traumatization and victimization. She had lived a house with four other young females who worked as prostitutes and also danced in a club. In addition to the sexual exploitation and abuse, she was also the victim of violent and sadistic behavior, which led her to flee back home.
Faith had a difficult start at theVillage. Because of her prior traumas, she was very sensitive and reactive to the new residents and staff around her and trusted no one. Eventually, she began to trust a few people and was able to attach to staff. She developed a trusting relationship with her therapist and talked more about her previous traumas; she spoke more and more about her sexual victimization and said that what happened to her while she was on the streets “took away her soul.” Toward the end of her stay, Faith decided to transition into the theVillage’s Supervised Independent Living Program, fearing that if she went home, she wouldn’t get the support she needed to achieve her goal of graduating high school.
Faith initially tested limits in the SIL Program. She stayed out past curfew and missed life skills groups, but never missed school. Once more, she settled into the program and began to trust the staff. She was active in the SIL cooking and sewing groups, attended the Delaware County Alternative School and got a part-time job at a local supermarket. She persevered and received her high school diploma from the Radnor Area School District.
From her graduation to her discharge shortly before her 21st birthday, Faith worked with the SIL case manager to finalize her plans. She is currently sharing an apartment in the city with a friend and is still working at the supermarket. We still see Faith from time-to-time working in the store. She reports that she is doing very well and loves being independent.