Maddie Mcgarvey

2011 - 2015

Sonya Casto is a 13-year-old girl living with her grandmother in Ohio. Sonya was physically and emotionally abused by her mother for years when she was a child. She now suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression. Despite this, she is fiercely protective over her younger siblings, and hopes to forge her own path separate from her mothers as she grows up in a place with little opportunity.

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  • Sonya picks wildflowers on a long walk.

  • Lorrie, Sonya's grandmother, braids Sonya's hair before bed. Lorrie is taking care of her daughter Amber's three children.

  • Since entering her teenage years, Sonya has started talking about boys, crushes and drama in her life. She also feels that it is her responsibility to act as a guardian to her younger sibling and can articulate the abuse she went through as a child.

  • Sonya, now 13, inspects herself in the mirror before her Aunt's wedding.

  • Sonya and her little sister Paige sit in a car after their Aunt's wedding in Ohio. Sonya, now 13, acts as a mother figure to her younger siblings.

  • Sonya, now 13, takes a walk near her grandparent's home.

  • Sonya, right, yells at her mother Amber after Amber told her mother to change her youngest son Seth’s clothes after he peed himself. “You’re his mother,” Sonya screamed. “Start acting like it!”

  • Sonya lays on her bed with a bag covering her head. Sonya suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after living with her mother in shambles and being abused by her mother's boyfriends. Lorrie, her grandmother, does the best she can to deal with it. "Sometimes she's just too much to handle and I get mad at her," Lorrie says. "But I can't. This isn't her fault. She didn't ask for that abuse."

  • Sonya carries around her cousin before her aunt's wedding.

  • Sonya, now 13, takes a selfie as her younger siblings and cousins play on the swing set.

  • Sonya holds her neighbor's cat next to her grandmother's home.

  • Paige, left, 6, and Sonya, 13, walk around a lake near their grandmother's home. Sonya has taken it upon herself to protect her younger siblings and help raise them because their mother chooses not to be in their life.

  • Sonya peeks out through the door before entering her grandmother's home.

  • Sonya stands at a fork in the road near her grandmother's home. Sonya's mother lost custody of Sonya and her two younger siblings after her boyfriend abused the children. Sonya's grandmother is now raising the children.

  • Sonya's mother, grandmother and Aunt try to fix her hair and dress while competing in a beauty pageant in Athens, OH.