Stories of Success

Because many of the young people in our programs are in sensitive situations, we’ve changed the names in these stories to protect their privacy.


I was in a residential treatment program as a young teen, and EXYO gave me a safe environment where I could feel accepted and encouraged. The multi-arts programs are amazing, and as a member of the drumming circle, I took part in many performances—including a drumming performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington. I became one of EXYO’s mentors, working with younger kids, and later became a staff member at the treatment facility where I had resided. Today, I am pursuing a master’s degree in public health.


Express Yourself changed my life in more ways than one—helping me to evolve into a confident and successful college student looking to a great future. I’ve learned a lot about myself and am now able to express my true feelings without fear of judgment. Most importantly, I’ve established great relationships with the staff, who continue to help, encourage, and support me: they have become my family. Without Express Yourself, I would not be the person I am proud to say I’ve become. I have been through a lot in my lifetime, but I won’t let my past define me; Express Yourself helped me recognize and truly believe: I’m a survivor.


For me, the Express Yourself program started as a way to get out of the chaos. Now it is something that is so important to me that I schedule my life around it. I had a long history of depression and anxiety but now I’ve learned how to work in groups and interact with kids more easily. No matter how crazy life becomes and how difficult it can be sometimes, I know that after a few minutes at Express Yourself, I’ll be feeling better. It’s hard not to feel happy with the atmosphere here. I’ve never felt more positive and supported.

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