EVERETT, Wash. -- On a good day, growing up can be a blur of emotions, conflicts, and drama. Just about everybody struggles with something, but you never really know how deep the pain runs.
Michael Larson, Fatuma Musa and Gabe Hobbick know that pain all too well. The three Everett High School students decided to bare their souls in a video they posted on YouTube called "Becoming Real."
Gabe spoke frankly about the helplessness he felt while watching his mother get beaten in a domestic violence situation.
"He started to kind of slap my mom and kept beating her and head-butting her her," he said. "I went in my room and cried."
Fatuma was born in an African refugee camp, her family escaping the savagery of warring ethnic groups in their native Somalia. She ate one meal a day for the first six years of her life.
"It's a horrible way to be brought into the world, and to grow up in a society completely torn apart due to hatred and violence," he said.
Michael, the handsome junior class president, bounced around in foster homes after both parents were sent to prison when he was just two years old. At one point, he landed with a relative who Michael says was insanely abusive.
"There's this one memory of me being put in an oven when it was on," he said. "I have seven burns all across my body, still, today."
The group posted the video, not for pity or attention, but as a call to kids everywhere. They want teens to know their struggles, big or small, are real, and people can overcome.
"In the end, it will result in something positive," said Michael. "Something good will come out of it. Don't ever give up."
The video is getting thousands of views and has inspired at least two more students to come forward, hoping to tell their stories.
"It's a way for us to tell them they're not alone," said Fatuma. "You can share your story. There are people who care."