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Last updated: 2008
Despite living through an adolescence filled with trauma, Sara Acevedo refuses to see herself as a victim as she beat the odds daily for herself and for her three-year-old daughter. Growing up, Sara’s mother worked two jobs to support the family, and “partied” when she was not working. Since her mother was rarely home, Sara cooked, cleaned and looked after her three younger siblings. At the age of 12, Sara was abused by her stepfather. When Sara became pregnant as a result of the abuse, her stepfather left the home. Frightened that no one would believe her if she told the truth, Sara said that she had been raped by a stranger.
The neglect in Sara’s home was discovered after her brother ran away from home. Sara and her siblings were removed from their mother’s custody and placed in two separate foster homes. Sara was then moved to two other foster homes before being placed in her current home where she has lived for three years. Even after living through the horrors of sexual abuse, neglect and being separated from her siblings, Sara is facing the challenges of work, school and motherhood with a positive outlook and strong-willed determination. She works at a local dry cleaner and is still able to maintain a rigorous academic course load and a 3.68 GPA. Life still challenges this young mother, but Sara remains inspired. “Carla is my daughter,” says Sara, “and I do not care who the father is, I will always love her and be the best mother I can be.” Sara plans to continue her academic success in high school, attend college, and obtain a degree in architectural engineering. “I will always have scars from my wounds,” Sara reflects on her difficult childhood, “and because of them I will always remember that I made it through.” The Children’s Defense Fund proudly honors Sara Acevedo as a 2008 Beat the Odds Award recipient.