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Happy Maggie This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By Jennaavery1208, East Haven, CT

During my childhood I experienced greater hardships than most people go through in a lifetime. In my short 17 years of life, I have been through five divorces of my parents. Having a new stepmother or stepfather every few years was rough, but the constant moving was worse. My father's cancer diagnosis tore me apart, and his two heart attacks and battle with diabetes put a huge strain on the family. By age 13, I was depressed and emotionally scarred. I felt like I had no one to turn to and that nothing would ever get better. Then I met Maggie, and my perspective on life changed.

For many summers, I volunteered at a horseback riding camp for people with special needs. We taught children and adults specialized skills based on their disabilities. For example, we would teach a child with autism communication skills, or a child with cerebral palsy strength-building exercises.

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