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Jan 17, 2014

Youth Voices - In Their Own Words

Roxy is a resident at Bridge House, a transitional housing program for youth experiencing homelessness. She shared the following poem at a Wednesday evening House Meeting and gave permission to share it here.


Nobody should ever. . . by Roxy

Nobody should have their home taken away from them but
We did. . .

Nobody should be able to throw a mom and her kids on the street. . .
But they did. . .

Nobody should promise you a warm bed and safety then take advantage of your presence
But they did. . .

Nobody should every have to kiss their mother good night in a cardboard box.
I have. . .

Nobody should ever cry themselves to sleep over something they can’t change. . .
Haven’t we all. . .

Nobody should ever have to worry about where their next meal is coming from
But I have. . .
She does. . .
And that’s not okay. . .

Nobody should have to wonder if they themselves and their loved ones will be safe that night.
But people do. . .
I have. . .
She does. . .
And we shouldn’t have to. . .

Nobody should have to sleep out in the weather. . .with wind so cold it goes to your bones. . .no comfort in your clothes because they’re already soaked.
But I have. . .
They do. . .
And she does. . .
And it’s not right. . . .

Nobody should ever have to put on wet socks or wear a pair of shoes until the soles start to talk. . .
But I have. . .
She does. . .
And we don’t want to. . .

Nobody should ever have a tarp for a roof or soaking wet blankets
But I have. . .
She does. . .
And we don’t want to

Nobody who is willing to change should be stuck in the same hellish situation for so long. . .because they had a choice to make and accidently chose wrong.
She is. . .
And because of that. . .
I am. .
And that’s not fair. . .

Nobody should dread waking up because you can’t feel the cold or how numb you are when you’re asleep. . .
But I have. . .
She does. .
And we don’t want to

Nobody should have to live like this all their life.  Everyone deserves a second chance to make the right choice. . .
I got mine. . .
She’s waiting for hers. . .
And it’s not coming fast enough. . .

She hurts. . .and it scares me. . .I see her cry and it kills me.
It hurts to know that I can’t change it. . .that I have to sit back and watch as the world walks right by her without a second glance.

All she needs is a second chance.


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Jan 18, 2018
Employee Spotlight—Washington Outreach Specialists

Every day our Outreach Specialists in Washington are busy serving homeless youth who have no one else to turn to. The team of three staff—Keeva Haverkost, Jessica Villasenor, and Jean Withers—work like a well-oiled machine, supporting each other so they can provide high quality service to youth. All of them are passionate about their work. Bettina Boles, Program Supervisor of The Perch and Yellow Brick Road Washington, says of her team, “Each person brings their unique contribution and special reason to work as an Outreach Specialist.” According to Bettina, the team has multifaceted roles— hosting The Perch—our drop-in center for youth—conducting street outreach for Yellow Brick Road, Washington and leading educational presentations that help the community better understand human trafficking and its impact in Clark County.

Jan 09, 2018
Youth Spotlight—Noah Schultz and his” Inspiring Action Tour”

Noah Schultz is a 25-year old graduate of the Hope Partnership program who served 7.5 years in the custody of the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA). While at the MacLaren Correctional Facility, Noah received two Bachelor of Arts degrees. Since his release in October 2016, he has become an outspoken youth advocate, with a passion to drive reform in our justice system, inspiring hope, action and humanizing the stories of the incarcerated. In November 2017, Noah completed a two-month “Inspiring Action Tour” at ten correctional facilities throughout the U.S. where he showed the award-winning documentary film about him, “Perception from Prison to Purpose.” He is co-owner of Forgotten Culture Clothing and co-founder of Verbal Escape. Noah spoke to us about his tour.

Dec 18, 2017
Sixth Grader Organizes Sock Drive For Janus Youth

Eleven-year old Quentin Brown organized a winter sock drive at his school, Cascade Heights Public Charter School, collecting 582 pairs of socks for our youth. This is his second year organizing the sock drive.

 Last year, Janus awarded Quentin the “Stars for Kids Award” for his contributions to our youth. Each year on his birthday, Quentin asks family members to give him gifts that he can donate to Portland’s homeless youth. Rather than getting toys and games, Quentin gets socks, water bottles, hats and scarfs that he packs up in a bin and brings down to the Janus administrative office. Last year, he even brought a little piggy bank with all of his savings and gave it to Janus. He has been doing this for seven years now. By thinking of the needs of others, he sets an example for his peers, family and community, showing the impact kids have on helping other kids. Quentin demonstrates that acts of kindness can be cultivated at a young age. 

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