A Lifeline for Raya

Deneige and her children read Beamer Book from Children's Program
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Thank you for making it possible for me and my daughter to get help when our world crumbled.

Deneige's family had been through a lot, and she knew her 7-year-old daughter Raya needed some help.

"We had lost our house and then her dad started using drugs," recalls Deneige. "By the time he left, we were so angry, so scared. I found a parent support group [locally], but for Raya there was nothing." No organizations where they lived offered any programs or services for children dealing with addiction in their families. 

Fortunately, Deneige found Hazelden Betty Ford's Children's Program. Like so many of our services, we offer this program virtually so we can reach people who need help—no matter where they live. And, thanks to the generosity of supporters, no child is turned away from our programs because of financial reasons.

"It was a lifeline," says Deneige. "Learning that Daddy's addiction is not her fault, and she couldn't fix it—that was huge for Raya. I didn't know what to tell her before." 

From her own experiences seeking help, Deneige knows for certain there are many families in her community struggling with addiction. But in Raya's school, no one is talking about it. "This virtual program has made my daughter feel less alone," she says. "The other kids are located all over, but they've found peers. They finally feel heard. It has helped so much."

Now 10, Raya loves reading graphic novels, and she has especially connected with Beamer, the loveable lightbulb character at the heart of Hazelden Betty Ford's programs and resources for children and their families. 

"My daughter quotes Beamer all the time," says Deneige. "She really connects with the books and identifies with the characters. They helped her learn about addiction."

Deneige hopes Raya can continue participating in the virtual program until she's 13 and ages into local services for teens. And she plans to enroll her son, too, just as soon as he's old enough. 

"As someone who has gone through this difficult situation and gotten help, I would say this program saved her," says Deneige. "She knows it's OK to admit there's a problem and get help. Raya is in recovery, even if her Daddy isn't."


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