The Reason Behind Teen Reach...
Rana was a beautiful, ambitious, normal everyday teenager until a tragedy wiped away her glowing smile and caused my once bubbly daughter to become alienated and depressed. At the time we couldn't fathom that the unthinkable would have happened.
One night while visiting relatives in Florida Rana was sexually assaulted by two men- and she didn’t tell anyone. This trauma, this unimaginable pain, swallowed her up and began to eat her alive from the inside. Overnight she changed. Once a loving outgoing nationally ranked gymnast, Rana became a withdrawn angry fourteen year old that no longer hugged or expressed love as she once did.
She couldn’t cope and when we (her mom, dad, brother, sister and host of Grandparents, Aunt’s Uncles and Cousins) found out about the assault she was mortified and withdrew even further. We desperately wanted to help but had no idea how. And Rana's story ended tragically: my babygirl took her life leaving a hole in the hearts of everyone who knew her.
After hearing countless stories of other families who faced similar situations, and teens who have been assaulted and alienated themselves, I knew there was a call to action that I had to accept. That is when I started Teen Reach with a mission to provide teens an outlet to shed their pain and find unmeasured hope and love while they healed. Our organization has helped thousands of kids not only identify their pain but find healing so that they can have a fresh start at life. We have also expanded into prevention methods as well helping kids learn the power of right decisions but also how to deal with real life issues before they become real life
Let’s share our stories and break down barriers. Together we can affect a positive change and give victims of bullying and assault a haven of support. This forum is meant to be a place to find hope in times of need by talking with others who have been there and persevered through the worst of times.
Lisa Thornton- M.S. MBA
Background: Retired Lab Supervisor of Orthopedic Research at Carolinas Medical Center and Adjunct Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at Carolinas College of Health and Science.
In 2011, as part of a North Carolina initiative for freshman high school health curriculum, I began sharing my daughter Rana’s story, my story, our family’s story. My daughter tragically ended her life while coping with a sexual assault she faced. Because I never wanted to see another family face what we faced, I knew I had to do something. My something: Teen Reach
With Teen Reach we have helped thousands of teens not only face challenges but overcome them. We have led discussed bullying, violence, stress, depression and self-harm prevention including QPR, the current best practice for recognizing and helping a friend in trouble.
“After receiving feedback from over 2000 students, we realized an hour wasn’t enough to address the issues students, (and teachers and parents) shared with us. At Teen Reach, we walk the talk of open communication and healthy choices, educating participants with coping skills so that they may always find hope in their tomorrows.”