The view from the bridge

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“I came here so I would not commit suicide,”

said 17-year-old Patricia as she sat in the dining room of the Catalina Booth home for girls in San Isidro del General. Just a few days before, she stood poised on a bridge in front of the home, ready to end her life.

“It was 11 p.m., and she was drugged out,” recalled Captain Beatrice Molina, administrator of the home. “Just before she was going to jump, she looked down and saw the sign on our building that said The Salvation Army. When she saw the word ‘salvation,’ she ran off the bridge and banged on the door—it woke me—and now she is here.”

The Catalina Booth home offers a six to nine month residential substance abuse treatment program for teenage girls up to age 18—one of only three programs for minor girls in all of Costa Rica—and through the program, it offers hope and the basis for a new life. “The Army is the only program that will take a single mother with a substance abuse problem,” said Molina. Work therapy, group therapy, classwork, computers, devotions, and crafts are all part of the program.

Currently eight girls are residing there. Each has a different story, but they all have a common goal: a changed life.

“I got involved (with drugs) out of curiosity. I started with marijuana mixed with crack; soon I left home. I stopped my drug use for a year, then I went on a binge. Out of 24 hours, I smoked rock crack for 19 hours. I became emaciated; I slept on the streets; I was cold and hungry. I saw I was trapped. Since coming here, I have heard the word of God; I want to move forward with my life and turn my heart over to God.”

—Cindy, 17

“I came here from a shelter, where I had lived for two years. I made friends there—although now I know they weren’t friends. I started smoking cigarettes, then marijuana, then rock, then basuco (pot and crack). I finally asked the shelter director for help. I hope to finish my treatment here and be a good person and study. I have a message for people in the United States: they should never try drugs. Study and take advantage of life.”

—Carmen, 15

“I had a problem with my family and left home at 14. I started with alcohol, then went on to marijuana, cocaine, acid and crack. I became involved in prostitution to maintain my drug habit. I was ready to commit suicide, but now I want to change. I don’t want to do this any more.”
—Patricia, 17

An Army of Blood and Fire

An Army of Blood and Fire

by Captains Odilio and Ivis Fernández – Regional Officers – Western

Opening doors for kids in the Marshall Islands

Opening doors for kids in the Marshall Islands

2003 Territorial Women’s ministries project   YOUTH IN THE Marshall Islands

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