Jaime Pacheco, 23 years old
Former New Directions Resident (2013-2014)
I was born in San Antonio, Texas. My mom left my dad when I was 2 because he had schizophrenia, so we – my mom, her siblings, my sister, and I – all moved to Logan Heights, California. Unfortunately, my mom's brothers and uncles got involved in gangs. My mom began losing everything, became a drug addict and lived a lifestyle that included a revolving door of men, sleeping in stolen cars, couch surfing, and mail fraud.
Dominique Cleveland, 19 years old
New Directions Resident (2011-present)
Keynote Speaker for 2011 Crystal Ball Gala
My mother was an alcoholic. She was very demanding and when she didn’t get what she wanted she’d beat me and call me names that stabbed at my self esteem. Once she gave me two minutes to wash the car and threatened to beat me with a frying pan if I didn’t finish in time.
Myra Curiel, 21 years old
Former New Directions Resident (2011-2012)
Keynote Speaker for 2014 Champions for Children
Hello, my name is Myra Curiel and I entered the foster system when I was 14 years old. My story is probably no different from my peers. Amongst everything, I can assure you there was emotional, physical, verbal, and sexual abuse along the way. Many are still fighting demons from the past; some may be fighting them the wrong way with drugs and alcohol abuse, but others wake up and make the best of each day, which is all anyone could ever ask for. One way or another, there was someone who helped us get out of the troublesome situation we were once in. Above all, we are survivors.
Samantha Webb, 27 years old
Former New Directions Resident (2008-2010)
Keynote Speaker for 2013 Crystal Ball Gala
My name is Samantha Webb and I grew up in the foster care system. I will briefly share a small portion of my story among thousands of others who went through worse or are currently going through abuse as I stand before you now! In fact, in these last ten seconds, one child abuse case was already reported.
To the little town of Templeton, my family appeared to be happy, healthy, and very active in sports, from pop warner to basketball to cheerleading. But no one knew about the hell on 146 First Street. Behind those walls were many secrets, such as how my life was engulfed with drug and alcohol abuse as well as verbal, emotional, and physical abuse.
Justin McKay, 21 years old
Former New Directions Resident (2012-2014)
Keynote Speaker for 2012 Golf Tournament
Hi, I’m Justin. I’m 21 and I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. My parents divorced when I was little, so I don’t remember them ever being together. Both of them had drug problems, which made things difficult.
After the divorce, my brother, sister and I lived with my mom and her revolving door of boyfriends. My mom ended up with a guy who was a drug dealer and he didn’t like kids. He and my mom were constantly fighting. I remember the violence, the yelling, and my mom’s bruises.
Troy Pace, 21 years old
New Directions Resident (2011-present)
Keynote Speaker for 2012 Casa Kids Campus Grand Opening
Hi, my name is Troy, and I think I have one of the best jobs in the world: I’m a game attendant at Legoland—pretty much a carnie, a barker. I love it. I love it because I get to play with kids all day. I'm that guy who makes you laugh and enjoy yourself because I enjoy my job so much. You've all heard the expression "you get what you give," right? Well, according to my boss, I must be giving a lot because I receive the most guest compliments out of any of my coworkers. That means a lot, because life hasn't always been so giving to me.
Frank, 23 years old
Former New Directions Resident (2009)
I was born May 13, 1986 in Oakland, California. At the age of two, my dad was shot in the head. He and my mom were both drug dealers. Dad was shot because of a drug deal gone bad. He lived until I was 15 years old, but was badly brain damaged and had seizures.