COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — One mother and daughter have gone public with their story of hardship, in order to bring more awareness to issues of runaway children in the Brazos Valley.
Macayla was in fifth grade at the time she and her mom, Sarah, moved to College Station from California. As Sarah worked up to four jobs at a time to support the family, poverty and issues stemming from a past domestic violence situation drove Macayla to skip school with her older friends, often landing her in lockup.
"We moved and it was a little different moving here," Macayla said. "I just wasn’t used to like, not being around my whole family. It was me with her all the time, and she worked a lot of hours.”
Macayla and Sarah chose to be interviewed on camera by the nonprofit Amber Alert Network of the Brazos Valley, explaining mitigating factors that strained their relationship and put Macayla at risk.
"In the case of Macayla, it wasn’t like I was a drug addict or violent abuser, and she wasn’t going out and running away to do horrible things," Sarah told KRHD. "... You don’t want people necessarily looking and thinking it’s just a terrible situation and there’s no fixing it.”
The 25-minute video featuring the women’s story was published on social media Tuesday.
“This is their story," said Chuck Fleeger, director for Amber Alert Network of the Brazos Valley. "It’s the circumstances of their family... And while each child and family’s story is going to be unique to themselves, there are a lot of common themes.”
All parties involved with this effort said they hoped that sharing personal experiences like this will help people to realize that run-away children and teens are not ‘bad kids,’ but are categorically in need of communal support and social services.
Macayla is now enrolled in college, with dreams of attending medical school. But without better help for kids living as she did, not everyone will have such a positive outcome.
“I understand that for some kids, locking them up might help, but maybe there’s something else available in the cases of runaways," Sarah said. "... If [authorities] can try and figure out more of why they’re running away, or what are they trying to run to or away from.”
Watch the full YouTube video here: