STUART & FORT PIERCE, Fla. - As many teenagers are escaping to area beaches for the summer, one girl on the Treasure Coast is working to get her family back together.
Maceylia Valentin is the oldest of three. She is 16, her sister and brother, Destiny and David, are 15 and 14.
She has caught a ride with a friend to visit her mom in Fort Pierce, 45 minutes from a friend's house where she currently lives.
"When we finally get to see each other, it's all laughs and giggles and love," Maceylia said.
Valentin only sees her mother, Schccara Lowe every other week. The other two children live with Lowe's aunt and also struggle to see their mother.
Lowe lives with her mother in a small, two-bedroom home in Fort Pierce. The family says they have witnessed shootings right outside the home.
"Seeing their face once you get around them, it's like a big relief," Valentin sighed.
Lowe has brain cancer, and there is no clear timeline on her future. Right now, a hospice nurse visits Lowe in the home twice a week. Financially, it is not possible for the children to live with Lowe, and it's not possible for them to all move to a new home to be together.
"I have brain cancer and it's unremovable (sic), so I'm going. Just handling that is hard," explained Lowe.
Valentin is working every shift she can at Duffy's Stuart South as a hostess. She has no transportation to get her there, but asks friends for rides to work extra shifts when possible. It is her goal to get the family under one roof again so they can spend more time with their mother.
Trent Johnson, the General Manager at the Duffy's in Stuart where Valentin works says she brings wonderful positivity and work ethic to the job.
"Trying to take care of her siblings and in a point, giving up her childhood. To make sure that the family doesn't get split up and I think that's very important," Johnson said.
Some of the employees who say they admire the hard work of the 16-year-old have started a GoFundMe page to raise money . They are trying to help the teen reach her goal of getting her family together again.
Lowe says, she doesn't want her children to worry.
"We're supposed to be living it up right now, going to the movies and the mall," she laughed, then continued, her eyes welling up with tears. "She would be.. and I hate that, it had to wait until their teenage years for it to happen like that," Lowe said.