What's Happening


One Family's Story of Resilience

Updated on February 28, 2018

The holiday season is a time for friends, family and peace on Earth. But, on Christmas night, 2016, three bullets ripped through the still night air, ringing out like church bells and forever changing the lives of one family.

The father of Stacy’s son had stopped by her home to see his son on Christmas night. However, the visit quickly took a turn for the worse when it became apparent that the boyfriend was under the influence of alcohol. Talking escalated to arguing. Stacy told her daughter Ashton, age 13, to call 911. When the boyfriend heard the police were coming, he pulled out the gun and fired the shots, hitting Stacy. He fled before the cops arrived.

"Without that call and if she wasn't there I know I could have died," Stacy said. "I just kept telling my daughter I wasn't leaving. I hate that she had to experience that, but if she hadn't been there I can't say that I would have survived."

Stacy spent the next three weeks in the hospital with her daughter by her side. When asked what helped her survive that night and the many days of recovery that laid ahead, Stacy was quick to answer that it was her maternal instinct, her daughter and her boys.

"I'm a single mom. I pushed through it," Stacy said. "You don't have an option to stop. There is no one else to keep a roof over our heads. There is no one else to make sure they eat. You don't have a choice."

Healing from the wounds of not just the gunshots, but from everything surrounding that night has taken time for the family.

The events of that traumatic evening left Stacy's young daughter, Ashton, with heavy emotions and it was heavily affecting her health and wellbeing. Stacy knew that her daughter needed help and having worked with one of our therapists in the past, she didn't waste any time in setting up an appointment for her daughter.

Soon after the attack, Stacy and Ashton started coming to Youth Services to see Ms. Kendra on a weekly basis. Ashton was experiencing a great deal of distrust, nervousness, extreme worrying and anxiety. She was displaying physical symptoms of anxiety such as nightmares, headaches, fidgeting and she wouldn't sleep alone.

Kendra began working through the trauma with Ashton by having her identify the source of the trauma, thoughts and sources of safety as well as coping skills and various techniques to manage feelings of stress and anxiety.

Ashton has now been a client of Youth Services for nearly a year and has made a remarkable amount of progress. She is sleeping by herself and able to stay at home alone. She and her mother have decided to come to counseling less frequently, but they still come monthly to continue reinforcing the skills and techniques learned in therapy.

"It was scary. I'm still sort of scared," Ashton said. "Talking to Kendra has really helped me. I could just say anything I needed to say. I didn't have to hide anything or feel ashamed or anything for what I was feeling."

Ashton added, "Kendra is the best person I could talk to and she's really supportive. I'm so glad Youth Services is here. I don't know where else I would have gone.

"We are super grateful for Kendra, you guys are the sounding board for us," Stacy said. "Youth Services has been welcoming to my family and we have a bond with Kendra. She is now like family and someone we will always come to see."

While the attacker is in jail without bond, a court date is looming and became surreal in just the last week when Stacy opened her mail to find subpoenas for she and her daughter.

"We haven't been emotional about this in a bit. We talk openly," Stacy said. "It was surreal, seeing it in black and white and not just for myself, but for my child. She's 14 and getting a subpoena from the state of Oklahoma."

Life has changed for Stacy and Ashton, but life is getting back to normal, and even better in some ways. Stacy says she was a different person in a different place in her life. She allowed things she wouldn't allow today and the whole experience has made her stronger, healthier, a better person and mother.

When asked what she would tell supporters of Youth Services if she could, Ashton stated, "I would tell them they definitely were not making the wrong decision. If there are other people like me or any kids that come here, I know that Youth Services is also helping them. I would tell supporters, thank you. I know Youth Services helps a lot of kids."

Ashton has recently made news herself and in a good way. She was awarded the 2017 Child Hero award by the Oklahoma Public Safety Conference Committee. She was nominated for her bravery and actions the night of the attack.

Thank you for your support which ensured life changing services were available when Ashton and her mom needed them the most.