From troubled past to bright future

Note: This is the second story in a series of four highlighting the work of Youth and Shelter Services as it celebrates 30 years in Marshall County

With a father not in the picture and a mother addicted to drugs, the odds were stacked against Maranda Gaslin as a teen.

It appeared her life would also be headed down the wrong path, but perseverance and big help from Youth and Shelter Services has provided a future with a much brighter outlook.

Gaslin, 21, a native of Montezuma now living in Marshalltown, has had a roller coaster life the past six years with plenty of lows.

She was addicted to alcohol at 15 and also was bulimic and a self-mutilator. She had bad experiences in foster homes as well.

A YSS transitional living home in Ames took her in and helped her complete high school. Later in life, she was involved in an abusive relationship and was able to call on YSS again to get a safe place to live.

“Without YSS I would either still be in an abusive relationship or back addicted to alcohol or maybe even drugs,” Gaslin said.

She said YSS staff such as Beth Clark and Becky Durnin saw much more potential in her than she ever did.

“They helped me to not feel sorry for myself and not keep the cycle going,” Gaslin said.

Gaslin also said the staff helped her receive mental health treatment. Durnin said Gaslin has served as an inspiration for others to overcome obstacles in life.

“She’s been dealt some terrible cards,” Durnin said. “She’s worked really hard on her mental health and sticking with it has been an important thing to do. She’s gained a lot of life lessons and life skills.”

Gaslin now can picture a bright future for herself and her 2-year-old daughter, Trinity.

She plans to attend a four-year college in Minnesota with her fianc this fall and major in psychology. She wants to one day be a counselor for teens to help them get out of bad situations. Gaslin has advice for those young people who are going through what she went through.

“Use your resources, because you are not alone,” Gaslin said. “You have the ability to reach out to someone else and change your life.”