Remarks from Former Client Kaylin Johnson at CGC’s 70th Anniversary Gala

“Not Today.” Have you ever gone through the emotions, on the verge of breaking, but you find yourself collecting your thoughts by saying, “Not today”? Imagine not only telling yourself those words, but society reminding you that you will only amount to the systematic label given to you so- “Not today.”

At an early age, I experienced trauma and hardship that caused me to feel depressed, angry, and lonely. My academics were being overlooked in a private school, my feelings were being suppressed by school counselors, and I began to retaliate. By the time I was 13, I had found myself in a whirlwind. I became defiant, distant from my family, and had lost all purpose within myself. I remember wanting to fade away because of the frustrations my school counselor expressed to my mother about how there was no hope for me.

However, my mother refused to accept rejections from school counselors, so she reached out to Florida Kids Care, who contacted Child Guidance. Child Guidance assigned me a caseworker, Ms. Lockett, who provided me with an action plan that would allow me to gain access to resources I never knew were available to me. At the start of my action plan, Ms. Lockett had me complete (insert name of the form) form that guided me to self-reflect and acknowledge my future goals. Child guidance has offered me on-site school counseling support, outpatient treatment, and educational learning resources. With the help of my school therapist (name) and the treatment I received, I felt supported. I remember when my therapist would come to my school, I would be hesitant to talk to her because of my inability to trust others.

Nevertheless, she never gave up on me. Even when I was silent, I felt like she was still listening to me. Child Guidance gave me the opportunity to reconnect with my family, increase my academic achievement, and find my purpose again. Child Guidance is not just an organization; it’s a lifesaver. It has helped me realize that I matter in this world, that I’m not alone. When I felt like everyone had given up on me, Child Guidance stood for me; When I felt like no one supported me, Child Guidance stood with me.

The phrase “Not today” serves as a reminder of that depressed, angry, defiant young girl. That young girl not only made improvements but has reached all of her action plan goals through the resources provided by Child Guidance. She graduated from college with her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership to help young adolescents like herself.

Today, she stands in front of you.

Thank you, Child Guidance and Ms. Lockett, for allowing me to see my full potential and encouraging me to get my life back on track.