30 Days to a Safer Neighborhood: Counseling Center Helps Teens O - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

30 Days to a Safer Neighborhood: Counseling Center Helps Teens Overcome Addiction

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MORGANTOWN -

The Morgantown Area Youth Service Project plays a critical role in helping troubled teens in the area.

The center gave Brandy Austin, 23, a lot to smile about, because today she's the manager at a desert shop in Morgantown, has her GED and has been clean for over a year.

"MAYSP to me is family," said Austin. "Anytime, even if I am off the grid for months I can come in here and they welcome me with open arms."

The Morgantown Area Youth Service Project is a free intervention and counseling center. It's helped more than a thousand people just like Austin, whose problems began when she was 13.

"I smoked weed pretty often," she said. "I did coke every now and then. I tried crack with a friend of mine. Drinking was our biggest thing, pills, it was the first time I did any shrooms or acid."

As a freshman at Morgantown High School Austin was recommended to the MAYSP program, but her problems continued to haunt her.

"I don't think I ever thought it was ok, I think I used to just not care. I didn't like myself. I didn't like my family. I didn't care," Austin said.

As Austin aged she started group therapy where she met some of her best friends, turning her life around.

"Kids feel safe here," said Austin. "They can open up and talk and not worry about it coming back on them like they do anywhere else."

"If it wasn't for them being there for her, she still be going down the same path she was," said Kalie Johnson, one of Austin's friends.

To this day she is still best friends with many of those girls she spent teary eyed days with in counseling like Johnson and Amber Rodeheaver.

"You don't have to act like everything is ok," Rodeheaver said. "You can bawl your eyes out and leave happy."

Austin also keeps in touch with MAYSP's counselors.

"We are a place where kids can come to an get help with their problems, their life problems," said program coordinator Danny Trejo. "Some we can help, some we can't help. We've lost some kids too, to drug overdoses and violence."

"Where would you be without MAYSP?" "I have no idea honestly. Probably jail, honestly."

If you or someone you know needs help you can call MAYSP at 304-284-7321.