It Won’t Be Easy, But It Will Be Worth It.
I’ve lived on the streets for majority of the last 5 years. I’ve made mistake after mistake and have had to learn to live with the consequences. I have a son that I barely get to see. I’m on drugs, couldn’t stay in school because of my choices and now I’m just stuck.
I have been going to YouthHope for a few years now. I would go for the free food and free clothes. Heidi was always wanting to help me, but I didn’t have the drive in me to get out of my current circumstances so I just stayed.
I heard about the new program that they were starting about suicide prevention. I was interested because I have struggled with depression and anger my whole life. I have thought about taking my life more times than I care about to admit. It’s hard living on the street and having no hope.
So I decided to go and attend the class. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. Hearing from other youth who have struggled like me and have also had these same thoughts made me feel less along. It gave me hope that if other people feel this way and can make positive changes in their lives, then maybe I can too.
I’ve now been through the whole program and have learned and used the coping skills when I become depressed. When I started to feel those coping skills working, it set a fire in me to start changing other areas of my life.
I started to get serious about the future and about getting my son back. I’ve taken baby steps to start the process. YouthHope has helped me get my ID, my birth certificate, my social security card, and also helped me get to my first job fair. I used the Walmart gift card that was given to me at the end of the class to buy interview clothes so I could look good when I go to my first interview.
The next big and necessary step for me is a sober living house. It wont be east, but it will be worth it.
Thank you YouthHope for providing real opportunities to get back on my feet!
A Place to Help
If you were to meet me at school, you would think I’m totally normal. I dress nice. I’m funny. I have lots of friends. Just your normal teenager in high school.
But what you don’t know is that I’ve never had a place to call my own. I have never had my own house or my own room or even my own bed. It’s always been me and my dad jumping from friends house to aunts house or cousins house and now a local motel.
This motel isn’t the Holiday Inn or the place where you can order room service. This is the type of place where you keep the curtains drawn and lock the door.
Even with the cheaper motel rates, we still struggle each week to pay for the room. My dad tole me that I needed to quit going to school and find a job. So I started talking to some of my friends about where a 16 year old could find a full time job. They told me about YouthHope and how they could probable help in more than one way.
I decided to visit Heidi and told her about my problems. She told me that quitting school would be a bigger problem in the long run and not to quit school.
She also told me that they could help me find a part time job and also provide me with bus passes so I can get to school on time without having to rely on my dad.
From the first moment that I walked into YouthHope, I have been treated like family. They never made me feel like the “new kid” or made me feel like I had to ear anything. They welcomed me and made sure that I was taken care of before they even knew my story.
I now have a part time job at a local store where I work after school and on the weekends. I have a bus pass so I’m able to go to school and work, and YouthHope is still helping me to find a better place to live with the help of other community partners.
I’m so thankful for YouthHope and the willingness to help that they show.
Thank you YouthHope!
A Yes After I Said No
YouthHope is not a new place to me. I’ve been coming here for a few years. I come for the meals, a place to hang out, and for the help I get. I’ve been able to get a job because of the help I’ve received putting together my resume and getting my Food Handlers Certificate.
I’ve had regular medical appointments and dental appointments because of the partnerships with local businesses. I also rely on their clothing donations to keep me clothed throughout the year.
I thought I was in a good place until my best friend who lives in Oregon contacted me. She wanted me to move up there with the promise of a great job and a great place to live.
I immediately told YouthHope goodbye and hopped on a bus taking me straight to Oregon. Everyone at YouthHope told me to stay and was worried, but I needed to do this for my future.
After a few weeks up there, I realized that this “job” was not a job at all. It was a trafficking ring that I was now stuck in. I was being pushed from man to man and forced to do work for them. I thought I would be able to escape on my own, but I quickly learned that I needed help.
I was able to find a cellphone that I used to call Heidi. I didn’t have anyone else to call and I knew she would help. She immediately called the police and with the location of the cell phone, they were able to trach where I was.
Within a few house, the police shoed up, rescued me, and put me on a bus back to California that YouthHope had bought me a ticket for.
Seeing that bus pull up to a familiar station and see a familiar face from YouthHope felt like the biggest relief.
I now am back at YouthHope, getting the help I need. I’m so thankful that YouthHope helped me even after I left them. They love without limits and say yes even when we say no.