I’m Maryalice Ashbrook and I reside in Los Angeles, California U.S.A. Forty-nine years ago I was a resident at MacLaren Hall in El Monte, California. At the time I was a mere 8 year old. Confused and scared I was taken to MacLaren Hall as a result of my mother being taken and held at Cammarillo State for drug addiction.  Although MacLaren Hall was an episode in my life that I had tried to forget, the memories recently began to resurface and I realized that my stay there started the cycle of abuse in my life.

Believing that I couldn’t be the only one to feel this way I began to reach out to others via social media. I was keen to find others that may have been at MacLaren Hall in 1968-1969. I received a message from Kris. He is with Stand Up Speak Up and asked me to participate in a podcast on the subject of MacLaren Hall. Thinking back to those days at MacLaren Hall I found myself full of the same fearful feelings I had back then, but he gave me the courage to face those demons and let them go forever!

Today I have freedom from the horror. Freedom from the nightmares. I pray that my story may help just one person out there. Children are OUR future. Children matter. Stand Up Speak Up has given me the courage.

I have made several attempts to visit MacLaren Hall, only to have issues get in the way. Maybe that is my Higher Power watching out for me. Recently I celebrated my 57th birthday. The only gift I received was a handbag from Stand Up Speak Up and I carry it with pride and love.

How grateful I am to have found this organization. I only wish I could visit their offices and get more involved!


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