YOUTH wraparound partner | polk county


Stephanie was born in Silverton, Oregon but was raised in Salem. She grew up in a large and fairly close-knit family until her parents separated when she was six. With the separation came both good and bad things. On the positive side, the split meant she didn't have to witness her father mentally, physically, and emotionally abuse her mother anymore. However, it also meant that Stephanie had less time with her mom who had to work day and night to raise three kids by herself.

Her family remained close throughout her adolescence, but there were many things Stephanie kept to herself. She kept quiet about the sexual abuse she endured when she was young to try and prevent it from happening to her younger sister. She was bullied and as a result, started bullying others. Having an absent father, a mom that worked all the time, and monolingual grandparents made it easy for Stephanie to get herself into unsafe and unhealthy situations. She lied to her mom, hung out with the wrong crowd, and eventually started using drugs. By 13, Stephanie wasn't making great choices; she was staying at boys houses, drinking, and smoking marijuana whenever she could.

At 15, she began dating an 18-year-old who was possessive, abusive, and sometimes violent. When they broke things off, she completely lost control. However, Stephanie's life started to turn around when her youngest sibling was born; her baby brother Angel. She made a promise that she would be better for him and come clean about the double life she'd been living. After seeing how disappointed her mom was when she told her that she'd been expelled, Stephanie knew she needed to make a change. She went and enrolled herself at a school closer to home, a choice that ultimately saved her life. It was there that she met her best friend and the love of her life, got clean, and graduated with a 4.0 GPA.

In the fall after graduation, while attending classes at Western Oregon University, Stephanie found out she was pregnant. She moved back home, transferred to Chemeketa Community College, and started pursuing her degree in Criminal Justice. When she was eight months pregnant, the father of her child decided he wasn't ready to be a dad. Stephanie worried that she wouldn't be able to raise her baby alone but that August, her son Dominic Joseph ("DJ" for short), the true love of her life was born.

Shortly after his birth, Stephanie was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression and prescribed anti-depressants and painkillers (for C-section recovery). She soon realized that she'd become addicted, which left her feeling like a terrible mother. On her 20th birthday, Stephanie decided to pour every bottle of medicine she had down the toilet and commit herself to being the best mom and person she could be. Since making that decision, Stephanie has continued to work toward getting her degree, completed an internship, found a car, an apartment, and a perfect job. Now as a part of the YMO team, Stephanie is grateful to have the opportunity to be the kind of person for youth that she wishes she had growing up.

In her free time, Stephanie enjoys to go on nature walks with her son, take him to places she's never been to before (she went to the pumpkin patch for the first time with her son this year). She enjoys taking him to gymnastics and swimming classes. She also enjoys doing her make up and going on mommy and son dates with her son to Target. Stephanie feels as if she is reliving the childhood she never had with her son. She also loves school. Stephanie loves learning new things and since she is in the criminal justice field, she likes to learn more so that she can keep her son safe and be aware of the world around her. On the weekends she loves to go to her grandparents house because not only does she love seeing how much they love her son, but she misses her moms and grandmas cooking.