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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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Dec 12, 2018
Visit The Sharing Tree at Washington Square Mall & Look for Janus Youth With the Red Dot on Gift Tag

The Sharing Tree at Washington Square Mall is a great way to make sure each of our youth has a gift to open on Christmas morning. Just pick an ornament from the tree located in the Nordstrom wing, near Williams-Sonoma and purchase the item listed on the tag. These gifts are distributed to Janus and eight other charities throughout the Portland metro area. Each year, more than 4,500 gifts are given to those in need through the Washington Square Sharing Tree. 

Nov 28, 2018
Ending Youth Homelessness

Every night, our downtown Portland shelters are home to youth ages 16-24 who have no other place to go. Youth often line up outside the door at 8:30 pm, hoping to get a bed and a meal for the night. Not everyone gets in. With a limit of 60 beds, the shelter can only accommodate 60 youth each night. During the winter months, there are an additional 10 beds. This year alone, the shelters housed and fed over 500 youth. While our shelters are running at full capacity and our street outreach workers are out every night providing warm clothing and crisis-intervention services, there are some positive shifts affecting the numbers and demographics of homeless youth in Multnomah County.

Nov 26, 2018
​Employee Spotlight—Gina McConnell

Gina knows what it feels like to run away. She did it at age 12 to avoid abuse at home, but like so many youth on the street, she quickly became a target for sex trafficking. After many years “in the life,” she spent time in prison where she befriended a person who said to her when she was released, “I need you to go out there and be our voice.” This was a pivotal moment for Gina and from that point on, she was committed to helping youth who have experienced similar trauma as she did. Today she works in the Cowlitz County Youth Services Program as a case manager for sexually-exploited youth. We talked to Gina to find out how her experiences has prepared her for this role.

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