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"My mom works for the State’s Attorney’s Office and she would take me to an event called the Victims' Fund Run every year. It was a 5K-run or 1-mile walk and the point of it was to raise money for crime victims. I started going at the age of 6, so at first I was like, I’m just going to work with mom, but once I got older and started understanding the meaning behind it and I just thought, crime isn’t biased. When crime happens, it’s really unfortunate and it’s really important that we are able to help the crime victim throughout the entire process. It doesn’t just affect one aspect of their life, it affects many aspects of their life, and so I fell in love with the victim advocacy portion of the [criminal justice] field and thought I had to go into it. What made me specifically want to focus on child abuse, because that’s the field that I’m currently in, is that when I was 14 years old, my best friend disclosed to me. And so it was the first time that rape was tangible, it was the first time that child abuse was tangible, that I wasn’t hearing about it through the news or TV or something like that. I could reach out and touch her and saw the affect her abuse had on her and I was able to sort of be there with her and try to support her as much as I could as a 14 year old, you know, freshman in high school. So once I, sort of, saw what she went through and how she was affected by it and how her family was affected by it, I was like, I have to go into child abuse studies, I have to figure out a way to do my part and give back." –Ja'Ara McCoy, an M.S. in Criminal Justice student specializing in Victim Studies. She is also pursuing a Trauma-Informed Certificate while working full time. #facesofub #studentstories #ubalt #gradschool #criminaljustice #baltimore #makeadifference #goals #ubaltproud

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