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Nov 14, 2016

With Support Comes A New Life

For most of his life, 18 year old Adam Ramey didn’t like adults. Growing up in a family where he experienced domestic violence, he never had anyone that he could depend on. After brief stays at a shelter and a foster home, at age 13 he arrived at Cordero—one of our residential services—a scared, angry teen who pushed people away. Having felt betrayed and abandoned for years, Adam remained angry and aloof. The Cordero staff kept trying to communicate with him saying, “we’re here for you.” Says Adam, “first I thought that was ridiculous, you don’t even know me. But there was one person who persisted and I believed her sincerity and began opening up. Thanks to the Cordero staff, I was able to become the person I am today. They helped keep me sane.” It took a few months, but gradually Adam realized that there really were people who cared for him. He soon developed close relationships with staff and peers.

That was the first step Adam took toward his path of healing, but there was still a big hurdle he had to overcome: lying about his past. Because his childhood was so traumatic, he says he blocked out much of it from his memory, including some things he did that hurt others. After a year and a half of telling lies, he finally told the truth and took accountability for his actions. “No one wants to talk about things they did wrong,” says Adam. To his surprise, the Cordero staff accepted him and supported his process of making positive changes in his life.

Along with a supportive staff, Cordero provided Adam the structure necessary for his change. “Before Cordero, I got a 0.6 GPA in my eighth grade science class. I went to school high, hung out with girls off campus and skipped class,” said Adam. But going to high school within the Cordero residence without the distractions he previously experienced in high school, Adam could focus on school work in a new way. He found new interests and started writing poetry and music lyrics. Last June he graduated with a 3.6 grade point average. His long term goal is to go to Portland State University to study music. He discovered his passion for music at Cordero. “Every summer we had a luau and I performed along with other peers for two years. It was such a great event,” says Adam.

Adam graduates from Cordero soon to begin his new life full of hope and gratitude. Says Adam, “without Janus and the supportive staff at Cordero, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t have the same goals, I wouldn’t love people. I would still be an angry kid.” 

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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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