Age | 18

Photographer| Laurie Breeden Callies

Denise is my aunt and my temporary mother. She makes me feel like I’m not alone and I always have someone to go to while I’m here. I like to hang out with her and her kids because I’m still getting to know them. She treats me like I am one of her own kids and I really appreciate it. I am proud of my aunt because she is strong- physically and mentally. Her husband is deployed right now and has been away for a long time, plus she has three kids and a job. She can deal with all of this. “Thank you for taking me under your wing and treating me like I am one of your sons. I really appreciate you and your great family.”

I am a success in the making.
I can be an example to those who need hope.
I will explore what the future holds and use it to help others and myself.

Leland is my nephew. My kids and I adore him and I love him like he is my own son. We are so blessed he is a part of our family. I feel bad that I have missed so much of his life, so I am trying to make up for lost time. I remember as a kid he was very shy around me, but was always smiling and was very helpful and loving to others because he has such a big heart. I am very proud that he is not a quitter. He is so motivated to learn. My dream is for him to go to college and find a good job. “Leland. No matter what you decide to do, I will always still love you and will never give up on you because my family never gave up on me.”

Denise | Aunt

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