(WSVN) - After hitting rock bottom at just 15 years old, a South Florida teen is turning her life around and helping other kids work through their tough times. 7’s Craig Stevens has tonight’s Hope and Healing.

Teenagers often deal with bullying or depression, but for 15-year-old Maygan that was just the beginning of her problems.

Maygan Rivera: “It came out later that I am bipolar, and I was dealing with some eating problems.”

Her problems became so overwhelming she had to be hospitalized.

Maygan Rivera: “I just thought, ‘Oh, my life doesn’t have a purpose to it.'”

She was ready to give up, but her therapist at the hospital encouraged her to go to Urban Promise Miami, an organization that helps troubled kids.

Ryan Carter, Urban Promise Miami: “Gang violence, bullying, broken homes, single-parent families. Often the influences that they see are usually negative.”

Ryan started working at Urban Promise four months ago. He says he had an instant connection with the kids, because of struggles he faced in his own life growing up without a father.

Ryan Carter: “I was witnessed to, you know, not the best example of a male role model in my father. I can only imagine the benefits that it would have brought to my life when I was younger.”

Maygan Rivera: “I was really, really shy and really, really in my shell when I came.”

Maygan came in with reservations, but with nothing to lose, she gave it a try. To her surprise, the program changed her life.

Maygan Rivera: “I smile a lot more. If I’m having a bad day at school, I look forward to coming here and look forward to seeing all of my friends and seeing all the kids, and it just brightens my day.”

Kids who come to Urban Promise can get tutoring or help with their homework, but what’s unique about this organization is that it also offers counseling for the entire family.

Ryan Carter: “We all need some therapy at some point.”

Maygan and Ryan agree the sense of belonging and family is what matters most.

Ryan Carter: “Just dealing with the realities of their communities — it’s a lot going on, and it’s a lot to take in, so here is sort of like their sanctuary.”

Megan Rivera: “There’s just people who are willing to be your friend and not judge.”

Maygan is now mentoring and helping other kids at Urban Promise, and that’s also helping her heal.

Ryan Carter: “You can really make an impact on their lives by just being vulnerable, being relatable and really making a genuine connection.”

Maygan Rivera: “You’re not just a role model to the other kids, but you’re a role model to yourself.”

Maygan says she can’t change her past, but she can’t wait to see what her future holds.

Maygan Rivera: “I look forward to being alive every day. Even if I can make one kid happy, one kid smile, that’s my goal.”

And what better example of Hope and Healing than the smile of a child?

Urban Promise Miami is hosting their first annual “Drive the Dream” event on Feb. 22.


Urban Promise Miami

Urban Promise GoFundMe page

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