Before coming to Methodist Children’s Home in 2019, Zaniya said her life was troubled and she experienced many turbulent situations. She often felt no one would listen to her when she needed help.
When she first arrived at MCH, Zaniya was quiet and often short tempered.
“I just wanted to fit in and I did not know how to be myself,” she said. Over time as she developed trusting relationships with MCH staff, Zaniya learned to regulate her feelings and emotions.
Today Zaniya describes herself as caring, fun-loving and funny. Her bright smile and laughter are infectious at school and in her home on the Waco campus.
“I started to open up, talk about my feelings and just be myself,” Zaniya said. “My favorite staff shoot it straight with me and I really appreciate that. They are always willing to listen to me and give me advice.”
Zaniya said one of the most valuable lessons she has learned at MCH is how to lean into safe relationships and not bottle up her emotions.
MCH Case Manager Monica Rose said Zaniya’s growth since coming to MCH is clear.
“When we first met she would not even talk with me,” Rose said. “Now we both laugh about how she has matured and that was ‘a different Zaniya.’ Seeing her navigate challenges in a positive way is such a joy.”
Rose said many staff at MCH have grown to love Zaniya and “it will be an emotional moment watching her walk across the stage at graduation. Zaniya has a bright future ahead of her.”
Zaniya plans to attend McLennan Community College and get a job after graduating from high school in December. Her ultimate goal is to be a family counselor.
“In my mind I have a picture of what a family should be like – it is something I did not have,” she said. “There are a lot of things about families that can be fixed if you are willing to just talk and listen to one another. I want to help families stick together.”
Since being at MCH, Zaniya has been able to work on her relationship with her father.
“We talk more and he visits me,” she said. “Our relationship is a work in progress and I am thankful for that opportunity.”
Zaniya’s advice to other MCH residents is take advantage of all MCH offers, work hard in school and graduate. She said the lessons she has learned enable her to look forward to the future and dream about having her own family one day.
“I thank God for this place and feel He has me here for a reason,” she said. “God has brought me through a lot. I see how He has carried me through my life. It is a blessing to be at MCH.”