When Aloquese thinks of her childhood, that’s one of the first things she remembers. She was five years old when her mom “just wasn’t there anymore.” The rules of the house became very strict. Aloquese was not free to make her own decisions.
There was one decision, though, she could make. In high school, she consciously decided to stop trying. Then Aloquese’s dad found out that she had intercepted her poor report card and told her to leave.
With just one month left in her junior year, she stayed with a classmate until school was out. While there, she called her mother. On the last day of school, her mother picked her up, took her home, and surrounded her with love.
“And I wasn’t lonely anymore,” Aloquese said.
Shortly after high school, she got married and became pregnant. Unfortunately, the marriage failed. For the next 8 years, she tried her best to get by as a single mom.
Aloquese worked hard to take care of her little family but the harder she worked, the worse it got. Soon she was the only one working. Life got hard, she grew increasingly tired, and at 31 years old, she tried meth for the first time.
“My kids were away that weekend,” she said. “And when the weekend was over, I was addicted.” Her life spiraled completely out of control.
One weekend she left her children at home. When she returned, she found that the two younger ones had been picked up by their father and the oldest boy had been taken by the sheriff to a children’s home. Aloquese spent the next four days in jail—and the loneliness returned.
During 52 weeks of required parenting classes Aloquese found a counselor who sought her out every week. With much encouragement, Aloquese agreed to a Teen Challenge interview. One week later she moved into the induction center in Bakersfield.
She drew closer to Jesus, the loneliness faded, and her journey toward restoration began.
She graduated from the program and the Ministry Institute. The she was hired at Los Angeles County Teen Challenge. Then she received a phone call that no parent wants to get. Her daughter had fallen ill and was in the ICU. During her frantic drive from Los Angeles to Bakersfield, she learned that the thirteen-year-old girl had died.
By leaning heavily on God and help from her friends and family, she got through the next few months, then made the decision to return to Bakersfield to be with her two boys. Today she works at Kern County Teen Challenge, helping the women there to realize that they too can have hope and a future.
“I know for a fact…there’s no way I would have survived losing my baby girl if not for coming through this program, getting the tools, and being part of this family,” Aloquese said. “I’m so grateful for the strength of God, because it’s not me. He gives me what I need to get up every single day and go out and do whatever it is he wants me to do.”
“Teen Challenge changed my life, and I don’t struggle with loneliness anymore. Because I found Jesus…and He found me.”
Do you know anyone who needs a life change like Aloquese did? Please tell them about Teen Challenge. We’d love to talk with them.