Joy has always known she’s had the potential to break the cycle, but children’s home staff and donors have given her just the push she’s needed.

Growing up in inner-city Philadelphia, Joy was forced to take on many responsibilities at a young age. There were dangers all around her, at home and at school, which brought her many challenges.

“There was a lot of violence and stuff going on,” Joy said.

In 2018, Joy came to the Masonic Children’s Home, along with her younger sister, Jebbeh, for a second chance at life. Since then, she’s grabbed life by the horns.

“The children’s home has allowed me to continue my education and have a normal childhood,” Joy said. “I can hang out with my friends and do sports and other extracurricular things I couldn’t do before. Before coming here, I would go to school and then just come home every day.”

Joy has enjoyed having the support of tutors, house parents, children’s home alumni and donors behind her.

“The people here have helped me accomplish many things,” Joy said, “like my triumphs in track and field and my achievements in education. I know I have a brighter future that will lead me to do great things.”

A sophomore in high school, Joy isn’t exactly sure what profession she’d like to enter as an adult, but she does know a few things for sure:

“My goals are to have a job I enjoy, take care of my family and give back to my community.”

While Joy is a role model for many youth at the children’s home, she does have a “biggest fan” – her 12-year-old sister, Jebbeh, who she has helped guide over the years.

“I try to remind her that we are here for the opportunity to have a better future, and this place is good for us,” Joy said. “I tell her not to fall under the stereotypes that are given to you. Break free from those expectations and prove you are more.”

Joy believes the only way to do this is to develop confidence in yourself. Personally, the children’s home has taught Joy to place value in herself and her abilities.

In Joy’s cottage, the girls and their house parents write messages of affirmation on the dry erase board in the kitchen. They often provide a great start to Joy’s day and serve as a way for the girls to support and build confidence in one another.

“When I came here, I noticed how loving everybody is, and how they really do accept me,” Joy said.

“I would describe myself as intelligent, diligent and compassionate, and my friends and house parents as family.”

With a gift of any amount, you can help Joy, and other kids like her, have the future they’ve always dreamed of!