Breaking Out of the Darkness with BCFS STAR Program


Darianna’s mother was very concerned. Her daughter wasn’t eating well, and the other kids at school were treating her unkindly. She even felt picked on by her own teacher, and didn’t know who to confide in at the school. Most frightening of all, she was having suicidal thoughts.

“I was in the 3rd or 4th grade when I sent a picture of myself holding a knife to one of my friends,” says Darianna. “My friend’s mom talked to the school counselor and showed them the picture. The counselor called me and my mom into her office to talk about it. She recommended we go to the BCFS STAR program because she knew I was having suicidal thoughts.”

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Services To At Risk Youth (STAR) program aims to reduce family conflict and prevent delinquent behaviors, runaways, truancy and child abuse by helping youth and their families learn to resolve crises and develop coping and parenting skills. STAR offers free counseling, crisis intervention, and education and support groups for parents and youth.

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 5.29.05 PMDarianna quickly connected with STAR counselors, and was willing to open up and share her experiences. Throughout the program, she learned how to be more open with her parents and how to control her anger. She discovered that in the heat of the moment she’d often say things that weren’t true, but through counseling she learned how to better express herself.

Going through the STAR program has changed my life,” says Darianna. “I’m happier and feel more free! Without the program, I’d probably still be thinking suicidal thoughts and be more angry and depressed.

BCFS case manager Sarah Moreno says Darianna always had the potential to break free, she just had to dig deep within herself to tap into that potential.

“I showed her that she was in charge of her day through her mental process and point-of-view, and how to discipline herself mentally to create an overall lifestyle change,” says Sarah. “But she helped herself and changed her own life, I just guided her. It’s such a blessing to see her blossom into a young woman achieving her goals.”

“The most useful tip I learned from STAR was how to use positive self-talk when I get nervous,” says Darianna. “Whenever I’m about to start a dance performance, I think to myself, ‘What if I fall and break my leg?’ or ‘What if they don’t think I’m good enough?’ – so I start to tell myself, ‘I’m just going to go out and do my best!’”

Today, Darianna is a confident young woman, and a caring sister and daughter who can speak her mind – and most importantly, she has left the darkness behind and looks towards a bright future!

For more information about BCFS’ STAR program or to request free counseling, visit


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