A Teen Girl's Life on the Street


"I lost all this time to be a good mom," she said. "I should have done things completely differently instead of just worrying about my, you know, getting my alcohol. You know? I mean, that was number one priority, and it should have been my children."

She said she was simply selfish and she let addiction rule her instead of ruling it. Charlotte has since visited Taylor several times. They write to each other and make weekly phone calls, trying to rebuild their relationship.

Taylor said that she felt more free inside the prisons walls then she did on the outside, where it was a constant struggle for survival.

But she also has another definition of freedom. It's "being with my family and being able to be with them, and not get in trouble, and not do drugs."

Taylor found a second chance. In just over a year, she has changed the course of her life and reconnected with her family.

Inside the Oregon Youth Authority, Taylor's earned her GED and sobered up. At her graduation ceremony, with her mom in the audience, she gave a moving speech.

"I never thought I could do this, ever. Here I am. I never thought I could be filled with so many goals and dreams, here I am. I never thought I could pull myself out of the gutter. Here I am. One goal down and many more to go," she said.

Charlotte's eyes shone with tears during the speech.

"I am the most proudest mother in the whole entire world," she said.

Young and Homeless

Just last month, Taylor was released into her mother's care in Bakersfield, Calif., sober and with more dreams than ever. Taylor said she wants to be a forensic artist and hopes to be well on her way to that goal one year from now.

By then, she said, "I'll probably be in college. I'll still be with my family,"

But if things don't work out exactly how she wants them to, Taylor has a game plan: follow the rules her parole officer sets and "not mess up."

Messing up, she said, would mean returning to life on the streets.

"I don't want to live like that," she said.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 12780590.
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...