Jill had a great job at a local warehouse. Higher than average pay, benefits, ability to promote. She loved it and got several family members jobs there as well. When Covid-19 hit, they closed the warehouse without pay. So they went from a family of 4 bringing in income, to zero income. Frantically, they went to apply for EBT/food stamps and were denied. They were scared, hungry, and hopeless. She brought her family to YouthHope and we were able to provide a weeks worth of groceries to help them through this time.
On a good day, Steven and his family struggle to make it. Between shelters, and asking for money, they barely make it. Once Covid-19 came, they weren't even making it. They stopped by and were able to take groceries that consisted mostly of tortillas. We asked them what they were gonna make with the tortillas, they replied that their apartment complex was trading groceries to make sure everyone had what they needed. What a beautiful concept to think outside of ourselves and to help others.
The Redlands Police Department sent Joe over to YouthHope. Joe was homeless and was trying to get back to Florida to be with his family. He was scared and didn't have anything but an empty backpack. We were able to fill his backpack with hygiene items and snacks to help him while he was on the bus riding back to Florida.
Maria called us and said she got our number from online. She claimed she did have kids that fit our age range, and she was much too old for our programs, but she wasn't able to buy food for her family because her husband lost his job because of Covid-19. We offered to let them come down and pick up some groceries because we are all in this together and we wanted to help them!
It’s exhausting. This street life. I’ve been out here for a few years and it hasn’t seemed to get easier. Every day, I wake up worried about where I’m going to get food, where I’m going to store all my stuff so it won’t get stolen, asking for money, and not getting in trouble.
I’ve tried getting off the streets before. I put in a good effort of going to rehab, listening to the rules, doing my best, but within weeks, I was back on the streets. It was too hard. I wasn’t able to stop my street ways.
I started going to YouthHope shortly after I started living on the streets. I knew that they would always be there for me. They weren't going anywhere. They loved me despite my addictions. They encouraged me, but also respected me and my decisions. They provided the necessities like food and clothing and hygiene items without asking for anything in return.
They’ve always been there.
That’s why when I had the scariest night of my life, I turned to them.
That night started off like every other night. I found a place behind an abandoned building to sleep. What I didn't know about that location, was that this was a gang’s spot. They beat me pretty bad and left me with nothing.
When I got out the next morning, I went straight to YouthHope. They sat with me and laid out all of my options. They asked if I had family that I could go to and I thought of my dad in Ohio. I haven’t seen him in years, but he’s stable, has a room for me, and could help me get on my feet.
Once I made my mind up, Heidi took me to the bus stop immediately, paid for my $200 bus ticket and gave me the biggest hug.
I hopped on that bus and never looked back. I’m so much happier now that I’m off the streets. I have a job, looking into trade schools, and I’m sober.
Without the help of YouthHope through the years, I wouldn't of trusted them enough to ask for help in my darkest hour. I knew they would be there and they were.
Thank you YouthHope for loving me and being a stable and trustworthy place.
I grew up in a toxic environment. My parents hated each other. They had me when I was young and stayed together because they felt that would be better. It wasn't. My dad started beating my mom pretty early in my life. They had more kids and it was a nightmare every day. Fighting and hitting and yelling all day long.
From a young age I learned to stay out of my house as long as I could. I would find excuses to stay at school longer or spend the night at friends. My parents were too busy fighting to notice I was gone. Unfortunately, the people who I hung out with weren't the best examples. I found drugs when I was barely 12 years old. I used it as an escape to avoid the drama with my parents.
As I got older, the less time I would spend at home. My parents ended up getting divorced and even though it was the best thing for them, it broke me even more. I would stay out for weeks at a time. Anyone's house was better than my broken house. I got deeper and deeper into addiction until I found myself sleeping at a local park.
It's a dangerous place on the streets at night, and I learned very quickly that I needed to get my life together.
I asked one of my friend's parents for help and she immediately took me to YouthHope. Everyone at YouthHope was so nice. They sat and listened to me and my problems and were ready to help with whatever I needed.
I'm now enrolled back in school, have eye glasses, and have a dentist appointment coming up.
One thing I really like about YouthHope is the fact tat they meet you where you are at. They don't push you to do anything that you're not ready to do.
They waited until I was ready to go back to school. They waited until I wanted to go see the doctor. They listen and they respect everyone that walks through the door.
Thank you to YouthHope for helping me and reminding me that it's never too late to start bettering my life.
My story starts long before I was born. My parents met as drug addicts and lived their entire lives being addicted. Me and my brother are twins and were born into that toxic environment and we weren't removed from the home until we were 3 years old. When the police came to remove us, we were surrounded by dirty needles, no running water, and no food. They described it as being one of the worst situations they've had to deal with.
We moved in with my grandmother. Although she was able to provide a safe, warm house, she didn't wants us. She had done her job at child raising and wanted to enjoy retirement. Little did we know the pain that was coming a few short years later.
My uncle moved in with my grandmother. There was nothing that could prepare us for the monster that this man was. He abused us in any way possible. Relentless, violently, and forcibly, he took everything from us. Every instance of rape removed another piece of humanity from us.
When these allegations were made, it was all denied and we are left being called liars and story makers.
We had to make a decision to leave. Even though we had nowhere to go, we had to turn our backs on what had happened and start a life for ourselves.
One day, the Activity Director from YouthHope came to talk to us at school. He talked about all the services that they provide and the fun, safe things to do there. I decided to go because I was desperate fro help.
It changed everything.
I was given a community of people who loved and cared for me. A basketball league, housing, bus passes, school supplies, shoes, hot meals, counselors, and suicide awareness classes. Now I have dreams for a better life. I know that I can achieve them because there are people supporting me.
Unfortunately, the same isn't true for my brother. He didn't come to YouthHope and the drugs, genetics, and trauma has left him in a mental illness that he cannot escape.
I search for him when I have a free second. I miss him and wish he could see what YouthHope can do for him.
I am so thankful for YouthHope for a hope reborn and a place where dreams can be accomplished.