“ I am stronger than I think I am.”
By age 18, Isabella had experienced more in her life than many will over a lifetime. As a child, she resided in Florida, where she and her mother endured the abuse of her stepfather. She began using drugs and alcohol at the age of 12 to cope with her situation and to fit in with peers.
At 15, Isabella was sent to live with her father in Houston, who admitted her to a rehabilitation center. Through the age of 18, she fell into a cycle of drug dependency and rehabilitation stays. Her father demanded she leave his home at this point; Isabella had nowhere to turn.
She turned to a life on the streets, she lived in vacant apartments, stayed on a friend’s couch, and periodically in hotels. During this time she sold drugs and drifted into prostitution. Her addiction to drugs worsened, she was sexually abused and eventually arrested. It was at this point that Isabella became involved with another teenager whose mother allowed her to live with them. She was emotionally and physically abused in this environment as well.
Isabella made her way to Covenant House Texas (CHT) as a place of escape and refuge. She had come to CHT on a short-term basis in the past, but this time she was determined to complete the program and took advantaged all of the services available to her. She maintained a job, willingly worked with her case manager, attended substance abuse counseling, and became a spokesperson for CHT. Having committed to a more positive lifestyle, Isabella was offered a stable, professional job with a local law enforcement agency. She has remained steadily employed with the agency for over two years and is now settled in her own apartment with her five-month-old son. In addition, she is currently a student at HCC and plans to transfer to the University of Houston to major in psychology.
At 22, Isabella accredits Covenant House Texas, along with the special law enforcement official who recognized her potential, for the recovery and stability she’s achieved over the last few years. She now works diligently to assist others who fall victim to sex trafficking and other community troubles, realizing from personal experience that a better future is possible for anyone with adequate resources, opportunity, and self-determination. What an inspiration Isabella is to others; she is a true testament to the impact Covenant House Texas strives to make in the lives of all youth.
When asked what motivates her to strive for success, Isabella remarked, “I want to give my son & I a better life…because we deserve it!”