Shy girl with blonde hair wearing a grey shirt standing in front of a tree


When Marissa was 16, her mother’s boyfriend made a pass at her. After she rejected him, he was determined to make her life difficult.

Marissa’s mom was young herself and still finding her way. She struggled to provide for her kids. Her boyfriend was controlling and emotionally abusive to all of them, but she relied on him and was afraid to be alone.

One afternoon, Marissa snuck out briefly. Her mother’s boyfriend punished her by removing all her bedroom furniture, so she would be forced to sleep on the floor. She piled up a few clothes for a pillow that night, but she knew she had to leave.

When she found her way to Covenant House, it was different than she expected.  “I just felt comfortable and cared for. They made sure I had something to eat and they walked me through everything I could expect.”

Marissa appreciated that the staff were non-judgmental.

“All the kids who live here at one point or another had something negative happen to them, so it’s hard for them to trust people. When staff don’t judge them, they start to build that trust again. It creates a bridge.”

Marissa focused relentlessly on her goals. We gave her the support and resources to find a place to live. On her own, she attended high school and then put herself through college to become a legal assistant.

Today, she works for a major law firm and plans to return to school to become a lawyer herself when the time is right. Marissa is also a devoted mom to two young boys.

“One of the hardest things I needed to learn was to ask for help.” She’s grateful that Covenant House provided a safe place to land when she needed it most.