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May 08, 2017

Youth Voices—In Their Own Words

My experience at Cordero House was one of the most significant events to have happened to me. Let me start with a background of who I am. I came from a small village in the countryside of El Salvador. At a young age, I learned to be independent, going to school and helping with the daily chores. I moved to the city for a very brief moment before flying to the U.S.

At first, I felt strange and overwhelmed with everyone and everything around me. As time went by, I found myself in a state of confusion. Alone, I had no one to turn to ask for help. Instead, I did things that to this day I regret. Such events led to me spending time in a youth corrections facility.

Many individuals were concerned about my behavior. Let’s be honest! I was a monster hiding in a young boy’s body. Although no one dared call me that, I assumed people saw me that way. Looking back, I picture it like a roller coaster going at an extremely high velocity while under fire.

Eventually, my counselor referred me to the Cordero program where the director scheduled a screening for me. She assessed me to see if I were the right candidate for the program. She made two suggestions: I could either continue in a highly structured environment of a lockup facility or enter a transitional program at Janus. I chose Janus.

The Cordero program requires each youth to go through a process represented by a seven-level color system, signifying different phases of mastering emotional development. The color progression begins with red followed by orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and purple. Each new resident starts at the red level— the initiation of a journey—where one is classified as a risk to the community and oneself. The orange phase is when one begins to start changing one's behaviors and thinking process. Each level shapes and transforms a person into someone different. Not perfect, but one who can use his cognitive skills and abilities to build a better future and become a successful member of society.

In my experience, the hardest levels were the first four. I had a selfish and eccentric behavior, very antisocial, submissive and self-loathing. I suppressed emotions: anger reigned above them all. I associated many thinking errors with my anger, holding grudges. Everyone who knew me was concerned that I would eventually lash out and hurt people. I was a ticking time bomb! Such a heavy burden finally took its toll and culminated in me falling into a state of depression.

Just picture a dying star collapsing on itself before going supernova. I felt helpless, minute. I wanted to give up and throw in the towel. I did, in fact reach a breaking point. I had a panic attack after I made a sly remark towards a staff member. Guilt and shame paid me a visit. Regret and remorse showed up too. As time continued and I moved to the next levels, I began exhibiting a side I had never felt: empathy, accountability and respect kicked open the doors into my life and established a foothold. Giving up was not an option for me anymore; it was out of the equation. It was time to face my monsters.

After the grueling gauntlet of the first levels, the highest and most remarkable experience took place. The process of clarification. In my own words, it was time to make amends and be accountable for my past actions. Such a process was no easy task. Staff scrutinized and thoroughly analyzed me. Any hints of thinking errors or lack of empathy would resurface. After going through this self- examination and internal work, I was at the state where my honesty, empathy, accountability and integrity were my most prized attributes of my character. I had undergone a transformation from a criminal to a conquering hero. Many do not get a second chance to redeem themselves. After my successful completion of the program, I have become a better man. 

By Gerardo Granados, former Cordero House resident

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Aug 29, 2018
Rivera House Celebrates One-Year Anniversary

Over a year ago, the idea of creating a new and unique residential and re-entry program for LGBTQ youth began to take root. With the help of our partners from the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) and the countless hours staff dedicated to purchasing and updating a residence, the Rivera House was born. Today, the Rivera House is fully staffed and houses up to nine residents who are transitioning from the custody of OYA to independence. The goal of the program is to prepare youth leaving incarceration to become law-abiding, successful members of the community while addressing the special needs of LGBTQ youth. We spoke to the Rivera House Program Director, Deven Edgerton to share his thoughts about the program on this one-year anniversary.

Aug 02, 2018
Dinner in the Vines - SOLD OUT!

Tickets for Dinner in the Vines are sold out! The benefit event takes place on Saturday, August 18, 2018 from 4 - 8 pm at ArborBrook Vineyards in Newberg, Oregon. Thank you to all of our supporters who purchased tickets. Our guests will enjoy a delicious Pacific Northwest, four-course dinner, selected wine pourings from ArborBrook Vineyards and live jazz.

Jul 26, 2018
Enter Our Wine Drawing!

Stock up your wine collection while supporting Janus Youth Programs! Take this opportunity to win over 50 bottles of great wine from all over the world! This year’s wine drawing includes an incredible variety of wines from California, Washington, Oregon, Italy, France and Spain! Enjoy amazing Pinots from Stoller, Domain Drouhin and Angela Estates, Cabernets from L’Ecole and Mount Veeder, Bordeaux from the St. Emilion region and Chianti and Barolo from Italy! We’ve even thrown in four bottles of Champagne and a few special bottles each worth the price of the ticket on their own! (A 1997 Woodward Canyon Cabernet and a Quilceda Creek CVR.)

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