Kaitlyn’s Story

If you asked Kaitlyn years ago about how her experience at SCO’s Madonna Heights would help her grow, she wouldn’t have had an answer. Kaitlyn’s painful childhood meant being in and out of hospitals, group homes, and residential programs starting at just 8 years old. After her 16th birthday, she arrived at SCO’s Madonna Heights campus feeling angry, defiant, untrusting, and alone. Her struggle persisted – until everything changed for the better.

According to Kaitlyn, every single person she encountered at Madonna Heights made her feel human, loved, important, safe, and secure. She thrived for two years living on the Madonna Heights campus with a new support system focused on helping her achieve her personal, emotional, and academic goals. Today, Kaitlyn is overjoyed to use her life experiences to help guide the next generation of young women as a Youth Advocate at Madonna Heights.

Kaitlyn’s journey gave her the knowledge and insight to show people that no one is alone, to encourage them to advocate for themselves and to guide them on the path to finding their self-worth.

“Knowing my story can influence the story of another young girl which inspires me to give back,” said Kaitlyn.

 

 

 

 

Shalini’s Story

Shalini is a young woman who knows exactly where she’s headed. A chance experience tutoring young children as a high school student while in SCO’s foster care program ignited her passion for teaching, and now guides her every step.

With a razor-sharp focus on achieving her goals, Shalini has mapped out her immediate and long-term plans. First, she’ll graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree in early education. And then it’s off to graduate school to earn her master’s in teaching. A few years ago, these might have been considered lofty goals, but with the right supports in place, Shalini is well on her way.

Shalini was placed in SCO’s Foster Care program after the death of her father 9 years ago. While safe and well-cared for by her foster family, she was angry and worried about the future. “I needed a team to support me and advise me, and give me the right tools to succeed,” she reflects.

And a team is exactly what she received. SCO provided the resources, services, and guidance she needed to become her best self. During high school, a team of education and mental health specialists helped Shalini overcome obstacles and helped her to realize she “did not have to transition to adulthood alone.” She participated in mentoring programs, made new connections, and built relationships with other young adults in care. As her confidence grew, Shalini began tutoring children from a nearby elementary school as part of her program with SCO. That was the “aha” moment that shaped her future. She fell in love with teaching!

When it was time for college, SCO’s staff helped Shalini complete applications, navigate financial aid, and apply to the Dorm Project, which enables her to live in a college dorm all year round. Her SCO coach remains a constant presence and is even helping Shalini work towards getting a driver’s license.

Today, Shalini is a rising junior at Hunter College, and we have no doubt she will achieve all she sets out to accomplish.

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Madonna Heights School

The Madonna Heights School is a fully accredited New York State Regents Junior/Senior High School for adolescent girls who are struggling in their community school or live on the Madonna Heights campus at our Group Residence or Residential Treatment Facility. Small class sizes provide an active learning environment. Students have the opportunity to participate fully while receiving individual attention as they learn, explore and develop leadership potential. Day students are referred by their local school district.

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Madonna Heights

Providing an environment that teaches, strengthens and encourages young and adult women to heal from trauma. Read More

Related News

Success Stories

Kaitlyn’s Story

From struggling to thriving, Kaitlyn shares personal growth experience at Madonna Heights with others

“Knowing my story can influence the story of another young girl which inspires me to give back,” said Kaitlyn. Learn More

Shalini’s Story

Destined for success with support from her SCO team

That was the “aha” moment that shaped her future. Learn More

We shelter

5,200

youth, adults and children

Children in our NYC shelters had a

96%

attendance rate at NYC DOE schools

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