At the age of 17, “Alex” had already learned to survive on the streets. He gained skills that enabled him to stay alive, yet he lived in constant fear. Then he found Second Story for Teens in Crisis.
During therapy sessions, Alex revealed he had to leave his family not once, but twice. The first time, he fled his home and left his immediate family in an effort to escape ongoing gang violence. He connected with an uncle who took him in. But the others living in the same household didn’t accept Alex. They treated him poorly and referred to him using racial slurs. He couldn’t cope. He ran away, stopped attending school, and spent several months living on the streets where he witnessed traumatic incidents and suffered physical injuries.
Second Story staff used a crisis-intervention approach to Alex’s counseling sessions to help him manage his anger and express his feelings. They also helped him connect with medical treatment for his injuries. His mind and body received a much-needed rest from the stress of trying to survive and both began to heal. He re-enrolled in school and continued on a path toward self-sufficiency.
Second Story for Teens in Crisis offers a temporary safe haven for young people like Alex. Teens between 13 and 17 years of age can stay for up to three weeks at a time. They find structure as well as individual, group, and family counseling. Staff help youth achieve goals they set for themselves – things like improving relationships at home, processing their emotions productively, and developing coping skills for dealing with past trauma. Whenever possible, the goal is to reunite these young people with their families. And most often, they do.
*Alex‘s name, image, and identifying details have been changed to protect privacy.