Bright News

From battling depression to helping others struggling

maya cap gown at graduation

Maya knows firsthand the power of friendship – and The Friendship Club.

Maya was battling depression after moving to Nevada County from out-of-state, enrolling in a new school and the death of her much-beloved grandmother.

“My life had many hardships and I dealt with it by secluding myself,” said Maya, who preferred online school and avoided people. I decided I was better off without all the drama and work of being a friend.”

The depression – and never-ending pain – was too much for Maya.

“I didn’t think there was a solution to my problems, but eventually I realized that my suffering was temporary and did have a solution,” she said. “I saw a therapist and she recommended The Friendship Club.”

The Friendship Club was just what Maya needed, when she started as a 9th grader.

“At the first meeting, I saw a group of seemingly carefree girls,” she said. “Everyone was laughing. I was awestruck. Nobody seemed unhappy or hated life.”

The Friendship Club helps girls address issues, learn new skills, make new friends and provide much-needed – and appreciated – support.

“The Friendship Club is a place where girls can talk about their problems with other girls or staff members,” Maya said. I love seeing everyone joking, laughing and having fun.

Maya has made the most of The Friendship Club, from the art workshops and college tours to summer camps. She graduated from the program in May 2020.

The activities “help strengthen the bonds of friendship,” Maya said. “Through these activities, we also learn more about what we like, and don’t like, about ourselves. It’s a place where making time for yourself and helping others is encouraged.”

And Maya is committed to helping her friends and others struggling with life’s many challenges.

“I want to help others like The Friendship Club helped me,” said Maya, who plans to get her nursing degree. “I don’t want anyone to feel the way I felt when I was depressed.”