Naomi did not have the type of family life you would want a child to have growing up. Her mother and father separated when Naomi was young, and she was tossed about from home to home. There were periods of time when she was raised by her paternal grandmother. She did not have the consistent home-life needed to nurture a child with warmth, stability, and safety. Her life was filled with emotional abuse, chaos, and adversity.

Starting out, Naomi was a bright young girl who performed well in school. She liked her teachers and seemed to be doing okay even though she says she was never really taught right from wrong. In fact, she received misguided instruction from one of her parents, which in turn got her into trouble with the law in her tween years for vandalism. Naomi was put on probation and held accountable to pay for the damage with a substantial fine at the tender age of 11.

She had a hard time in high school and ended up dropping out; she was starting to display a rebellious attitude, smoking marijuana, and drinking alcohol. She didn’t have her mother or father to help her get on the right path. Naomi states she “felt worthless.” Both her parents have been in trouble with the law and she was beginning to follow in the same footsteps.

Fortunately, Naomi had positive role models from which to draw upon who served to help shape her future. She was able to catch a break when her probation officer allowed her to be part of the Youth Drug Court Program. Though it took her a couple of tries to get it right, she soon found the inner strength to start making the right choices.

She credits these positive role models with teaching her the life lessons that she had missed, and this provided her with the confidence necessary to break the cycle keeping her from success. She has earned high praise from her probation officers, Lori and Katy; her wrap around counselor, Josh; her youth partner, Nicole; and her boyfriend who provided the emotional support needed along the way.

Naomi enrolled in the YOOP program shortly after her sixteenth birthday. Within a few months and some hard studying, Naomi completed her GED with a little bit of tutoring from YOOP staff. She then went on and did an internship involving online sales. Here Naomi discovered her cunning work ethic. Her strive to better herself led to YOOP staff challenging Naomi by setting her up with another internship at the Housing Authority of Yamhill County. There she was coached and mentored on how to manage an office and keep productivity up. It was a great learning experience for Naomi and she left with great job references.

A few short months ago, Naomi graduated from drug court with flying colors. Everyone was proud to see her succeed. She credits the YOOP program staff for “giving [her] the courage to complete the GED and [gain] job skills necessary to be successful.” She says if it weren’t for her accomplishments she would “probably still be using, and life would still feel worthless.”

Today at 17, her six-year old fine is almost completely paid off, and she has been released from probation due to her good behavior and positive outlook. Naomi now has loftier goals in mind. One of her probation officers, Lori, is an especially significant role model for Naomi. She explains her career goal by saying, “I want to go to college, get a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and be a ‘Lori’,” referring to the probation officer who has had such a positive impact.

Naomi knows what she wants, and she is taking the steps to make it happen. She has learned real life lessons for success.