by Sarah Spier, Director of External Relations

It takes a special person to work at Daybreak Youth Services, I should know, I’m surrounded by them all day, every day.  I’ve been a part of the Daybreak family for almost two years now.  As Director of External Relations I’m responsible for fundraising and community outreach.

I love my job – there’s hope, compassion and sheer resilience all around me. I draw my strength and inspiration not only from our clients, but also from the caregivers who give tirelessly to keep these young people safe, grounded, and determined to thrive.

I suppose my admiration for this team stems from the fact that not so long ago, I was that young person in need of help.  In less than one year, by the time I turned 20, I had transformed from a squeaky-clean young woman, who had never tried drugs, into a heroin addict lying at death’s door.

It started with drinking, which quickly led to taking prescription pills. I justified my behavior by convincing myself that I deserved to be young and party. In reality, I was looking for ways to escape traumatic memories from my past. I was becoming numb and I liked it.

Then came a night when my entire life stopped: a moment frozen in time. My then boyfriend shot me up with heroin. It was the injection that dictated my future, a rush so bleak yet euphoric. I felt the heroin coursing through my veins, heading straight for my heart. I was hooked. From that moment I became a ghost of the self that I once was. In no time, I was an opioid addict.

“Few people can say that their mother

brought them into this life twice…”

Few people can say that their mother brought them into this life twice — I can. On the very day I decided to end my life she had a gut feeling and came to my house to confront my addiction. Her mother’s intuition has always been strong. She picked me up from that bed unconscious, and bleeding from my track-marks. Not only did she get me to the hospital, she never left my side. She never stopped telling me to hold on and fight to stay in this world. She wouldn’t let go of my hand as I convulsed in seizures and my body began to fail. My mom told me to hold on because it wasn’t my time to die. She held me until the very moment I was released from the hospital and checked into rehab.

Not every child is so lucky to have the love and support my mom gave to me.  Some of those children are right here at Daybreak – yearning to be loved, accepted and to love and accept themselves.

“That’s where my heroes step in.”

That’s where my heroes step in.  The Daybreak counselors, nurses, trainers and everyone around them who work around the clock to ensure those young people have a place to turn when they need love and support.

I’m proud to be part of this team. As a recovering addict, I’m grateful for everything they do for the young people who turn to us during their darkest moments.  Most importantly, I feel blessed to serve this worthy organization that has helped thousands of children and families over the past 40 years.