In 2007, seven-year-old Unique Hodge began her journey at Crossroads’ Camp Mitton. In a sharp contrast to the Unique of today, this little girl was shy and reluctant to speak in most situations. But as her days at Mitton continued on, the magic of Crossroads and the genuine care of the staff began to break down Unique’s walls. She began to fully embrace this new experience. As things started improving for Unique at camp, she was faced with challenges back home.

In a single year, Unique and her family lost both of her maternal grandparents. In that same year, they also lost their home in a fire. Her family was displaced and overwhelmed as they worked to navigate a path forward towards some sense of normalcy. During their most difficult days, the family endured life without a home or personal belongings; they wandered the streets and took showers at the YMCA. In the midst of all this, Unique’s mother worked three jobs. She searched for a new place for her family to live, mourned the loss of her parents, and tried to figure out a way to pay for Unique’s upcoming first year at private school.

Back at camp, Unique was more determined than ever find her own voice. “I felt a sense of confidence in myself that I never had before, I was not afraid to voice my opinions in front of my whole class, and I knew that I had the ability to organize and to lead,” Unique said. When reflecting back on this time in her life, Unique said, “Two things kept me sane: my mother’s strength and the support of Crossroads. My mother worked hard to give me a better life and Crossroads supported my family so we could get away from the daily struggle. They both taught me to believe in myself and to push myself out of my comfort zone.”

We are so privileged to have accompanied Unique on her 10-year Crossroads journey, beginning at Camp Mitton, transitioning to Camp Wing, and now as a recent graduate of the C5 Leaders program and current undergraduate student at Harvard University