Participant Stories

At Families in Transition – New Horizons, we strive to provide support that considers each participant’s unique experience and strengths. Every one of our participants has a story to tell. We hope that the following stories—from program graduates and current participants—will inspire, encourage, and inform you.

We are deeply grateful to each and every participant who is willing to share their story.

Meet Amy*, Arlina, and Ari.


Family Willows Substance Use Treatment Center Participant

Amy was a participant at our Family Willows Substance Use Treatment Center. Amy’s drug addiction began at the early age of eleven. At eighteen, she was pregnant and in an abusive relationship. After breaking up with her daughter’s father, her substance use increased.

“I ended up sleeping in my car for a few months in the summer and living that life. Hopeless, with nothing to live for at all,” said Amy. Fast forward through a period of time in jail, into a 28-day rehabilitation center, and then finally to our Family Willows Substance Use Treatment Center. “I had some dry time, but I wasn’t in recovery at all. I was clean, but I needed after care. I needed structure to further my recovery.”

“FIT’s Family Willows got me in the program in two days for my intake and my first group session was that same day.” Amy began the first phase of our program, where participants are asked to be honest about if they’ve used since the last meeting, and explore emotions around substance use. “That’s one of the best parts about having the group environment here, you get to see how everyone else is dealing with their recovery. There are many different trails to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same.”

Amy participated in the second phase of our program. She lives in transitional housing, has partial custody of her daughter, and just started a new job. “The only way you’re going to stick with recovery is to want it.” With a smile, she adds “I never thought I would be living a clean life – ever.”

*Name has been changed to protect participant’s privacy.

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Families in Transition – New Horizons Participant

Arlina has lived in Dover, been homeless and now is in our communal housing in Dover. The effects of homelessness are all around us – you see it in the grocery store, at your favorite restaurant or at your doctors’ clinic.  

Arlina grew up in safety and raised her children in a stable home – she never thought she would become homeless. After moving to Dover, Arlina was abandoned by the man she’d been dating. Living on her part-time salary, she wasn’t able to keep up with rent payments, so she turned to her daughter for help. Her daughter opened her already crowded home to Arlina, but she knew she couldn’t stay long. Shortly after, Arlina turned to the generosity of friends: “I was here and there and everywhere. I would stay with friends, until I was asked to leave. I did that for a few years,” she says.

Later, Arlina landed at “My Friend’s Place,” a homeless shelter in Dover where she lived for several months. She knew it wasn’t a long-term solution, so Arlina applied for housing at our communal living home in Dover. After living at FIT for 18 months, she says she finally feels stable: This is the first time I’ve been stable in a long time. With a part-time job as a dishwasher in a restaurant and regular support from FIT, Arlina has hope for her future. “It’s very supportive here – I don’t feel like I’m all alone,” she says.

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Families in Transition – New Horizons Participant

Ari considers herself to be an entrepreneur. She is a writer, poet, dancer, singer, and creative thinker. Since establishing herself at FIT, she’s been contacted and hired by a few agents who have been following her on social media. Currently, she’s conducting research and writing her own television series out of Boston. Ari explained, “I want to talk about the topics of real life: homelessness, domestic violence… the good, the bad, the ugly, and how you get out.”

Ari credits much of her newfound success to the pain she’s experienced as well as the support she’s received from Families in Transition – New Horizons. “Amazing things have happened to me through the will and the drive that FIT gives you to want to do better. I don’t want to just succeed; I want to pass the stars,” said Ari. “If it wasn’t for FIT, I wouldn’t be on my way to greatness. FIT was so needed in my life because there was nowhere else for me to go.”

Ari calls herself the “Blue Boss” and often styles herself in blue. When asked about the blue, she laughs, “It stands for transition, like a caterpillar turning into a beautiful butterfly. That’s what the essence of blue means.” How fitting is it that FIT has played an integral role in Ari’s metamorphosis.

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