A Life Reimagined — From Abuse to Self-Worth

A Journey of Recovery



thessica at FIS



“I hated him for what he did,” Thessica says of her father as she recounts how he molested her in eighth grade. “I came from dirt.”

Her father landed in prison while Thessica shuttled through the foster care system, moving from one family to another, carrying the burden of the abuse and trying to ease the pain through acting out, drugs, and dangerous behavior. “I ran away all the time,” she says. “Once, I almost OD’ed.”

Eventually, Thessica found her way to The Salvation Army Family Intervention Services Teen Shelter in Hilo. Here, she finally found a home. With the love and guidance of the FIS staff, Thessica slowly found her footing again. She took a renewed interest in school, turned her grades around, and graduated. She found things she was passionate about and turned her attention there. The hurt, angry little girl slowly morphed into a young adult woman ready to take on the world.

“They helped me at every step,” Thessica says of her time at FIS. “They didn’t sugarcoat anything. They were real with me. They gave me power and closure. They helped me get past it all and move on with my life.” When it was time for her to move on in her journey, FIS continued guiding her, making sure she landed on solid footing. “They helped me find a car and an apartment — one with a bedroom, a bathroom and even a parlor! They helped me pay rent, helped me with college applications, with scholarships, with grants, with everything.”

Today, Thessica is living independently and making a life for herself. She has rebuilt her relationship with her family and is working towards a career in social work. She credits FIS with giving her a life again, helping her establish her boundaries, her morals, and her values. “I came from dirt,” she says, “but look at me now! Now it’s my turn to help other people, tell them it’s going to be okay.”


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