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Oct 01, 2014

Youth Voices – In Their Own Words

Last year our Oak Grove shelter in Vancouver, Washington served 342 youth between the ages of 12 and 17. That’s 342 times our shelter was the only safe place for these youth, providing them refuge from the streets. One anonymous youth wrote this essay for other youth coming to Oak Grove. They allowed us to share it here.

In need of help

For all who don’t know who I am well I am a foster kid just like you! I am 16 and my biological mother is a drug addict and I have been in and out of foster care but the 3 years I've been in 11 different homes this past year, it’s not fun at all to be moving every other day it really isn't.

So listen I know how you feel, you feel upset, angry, hurt, alone, scared, mad, even wanting to die. I know I feel all of those everyday but wanting to die isn't gonna solve your problems. I learned that the hard way and I know when people will tell you that ‘it’s going to be okay’ or ‘it’s gonna get better’ You think or say ‘No it's not you don’t know me or my life’ but hey it just might.

Let people help you and parent you, don’t fight it, it will only bring you more trouble and less people in your life.

I’m saying this because I've done this. I know how hard it is for some of you who have parents who have either abandoned you or have used drugs or even did both. I know how you feel ‘Why doesn't my parent or parents care about me?!’

You may love and or hate the State for taking you away from that situation but you are better off with the State then getting hurt every day and night.

I’m always telling the state people and my social worker I hate them and they don’t know me but what they've read in my file and that I can’t wait till they’re out of my life but they are just looking out for me.

You may not like it but take advantage of it. Life is what you make of it, you can choose to stay and make it the best or you can run and move from place to place.

But in the end it’s your life you can choose whether or not to get back up.

These things you should always remember in life are:

1.  You are Beautiful / Handsome

2.  You are smart and intelligent

3.  ‘Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game’

4.  You can be anything you wanna be if you put your mind to it

5.  Be better than your parents or where you came from!

6.  Love YOURSELF!

Lastly, Be a kid enjoy it while it lasts, don’t grow up so fast and be grown so enjoy it while it lasts cause I didn’t but good luck, hope this helped you.


Nov 16, 2017
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. Return the unwrapped gifts to the Sharing Tree by December 20th so the gifts can be delivered by Christmas. 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.

Oct 31, 2017
Share the Season of Giving

You can make the holidays bright for Janus children, youth and families. Every gift or donation makes a difference. Click here to complete your donation choice.

Oct 04, 2017
Employee Spotlight—Sina Youssefzadeh

Sina is a passionate advocate for marginalized youth and social justice. Five years ago when he moved to Portland and was involved in grassroots social justice work, he learned about Janus’ work in the community and applied for a Crisis Intake Specialist position at Harry’s Mother, our Runaway Youth Services program. Since then, Sina has continued to help develop a trauma informed approach to the work done within his cohort, build relationships with youth and families and offer referrals to other partnering agencies. We talked to Sina to find out more about what he does in his current position.

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